Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Importance of Selecting Teachers

I would like to deal with some very good comments and a question that were recently left for me on the post Another Step.  The subject was dealing with SS teacher selection.

Quite a number of years ago our family joined a church which had won consecutive SS Eagle awards for church growth, four years running.  I firmly believe that what happened while we were there was the result of what the commenter was questing in my prior post.  The pastor was very evangelistic and a good friend of mine and the education guy was also a friend and a man I respected.  Their church growth was a case of a formula put into place for church growth, and new classes were created yearly to stick with the formula.  There reached a point when the church plateaued because the teachers of most of the classes were not even mature believers themselves and the principle of as the leader goes, so go the people or the student rarely rises above the level of the teacher kicked in.  As a result of the spiritual immaturity in the church, many petty problems came up and could not be effectively handled and the church spent many years at a standstill.  

Teacher selection is one of the most important responsibilities for the Minister of Education, Sunday School Director and/or Pastor.  The commenter referenced James 3 and I totally agree.  Many who aspire to be teachers should not or should not yet.  It is the responsibility of the overseer to help those in the church to find their place of service and then equip and even mentor them. 

A teacher should never be accepted just because they volunteer and solicitation should definitely not occur from the pulpit.  This should take place after much prayer and then after a one-on-one meeting.  I would also never allow someone who has not been a member of the church for at least six months (preferably one year), to fulfill the awesome responsibility of a Sunday School teacher.  This includes people who come to the church from another church who may have been teaching there for twenty years.

One notable exception to this might be the following:  if a teacher were involved in an accident or had an extended illness or family crisis.  There are times when it is necessary to serve (temporarily) out of need and not giftedness.  Too many times though, leadership uses this "time of need" situation as an opportunity to stop looking.

I will even go on to say that the best teachers, and the ones I always look for, are not those who necessarily have a degree or have great teaching skills, but those who are the best Shepherds.  The Shepherd/Leader is one who is concerned about those under their care and demonstrates this by keeping up with the lives of their class members and spends time together with class members outside the classroom.  Caring about people is not a spiritual gift but a fruit of the spirit.  It is a maturity issue.  Teaching skills can be acquired and taught, but caring about people is a heart issue.

Let me finish up by saying that when your people grow in their spiritual maturity then most often your church will grow as well.  Once a proper leader base is established, the church will never be short on leadership.  It should not be the goal for the church leaders to grow the church but to spiritually grow their people.  When that is done correctly, a steady, healthy growth should occur.

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