Commissioned: Teaching

My oldest daughter, Laura, has just wrapped up the fall semester teaching multiple classes at two different homeschool co-ops, along with a variety of different classes for both adults and children at a local art studio. Her classes turned out very well, but what she has discovered after a few years of leading classes and creating original art for contract work is that teaching art is vastly different from simply creating it. While both tasks require knowledge, technical skill and a lot of patience and practice, teaching (especially to children) necessitates a deeper level of understanding. It requires the ability to explain the concepts, and guide students in developing their skills so they can ultimately become independent and proficient artists on their own.

I believe that’s exactly what Jesus had in mind when He included the ‘teaching’ requirement in the Great Commission.

 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. – Matthew 28:19-20

Art paletteOnce a person accepts Christ as his or her savior, it’s easy to feel like the work is done, but Jesus made it clear that the process of making disciples is long and involved, (read more on that here) and the real ‘heavy lifting’ of developing these disciples lies in teaching. However, as with an illustration or painting, a person cannot teach what they don’t know and haven’t first integrated into their own lives. That’s why the starting point of instructing other believers always begins with a discipler’s personal commitment to learning and establishing the Word of God as the sole foundation upon which they stand, and the only standard by which they evaluate the validity of what they hear and how they make their decisions.

Unfortunately, most (including too many Christians) go through life interpreting the reliability and trustworthiness of the messages that come to them based on nothing more concrete than the advice of their peers or on their own judgment. When we start our reasoning process from that standpoint, we’ll easily bend to the influence of the world and constantly find our decisions far afield of God’s perspective. The only thing that solidifies our position is when it rests on a foundation of God’s unchanging principles.

Once we have ourselves been “trained in righteousness,” (2 Tim 3:16) then we will become useful tools in the hands of the Holy Spirit to instruct others as He transforms them from an empty canvas into beautiful masterpieces for His glory.

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For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. ~ Ephesians 2:10

"Lake"   Leonid Afremov
“Lake”
Leonid Afremov

18 thoughts on “Commissioned: Teaching

  1. WOW! How inspiring. As a school teacher and Bible teacher for years, I can relate to folks who rely heavily on pastor’s messages or friends’ viewpoint to shore up their belief system. I have seen this time and time again. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love when you said: “a person cannot teach what they don’t know and haven’t first integrated into their own lives…” because it’s so true! As a teacher myself, I always have to be one step ahead of my students and anticipate their questions before they even ask it…which is a skill that very few master.
    There’s definitely a level of understanding that one must possess in order to teach, and your post, in part, serves as a great reminder of that.

    Thanks so much for sharing this on #SHINEbloghop. We’re so happy you were able to join us this week.

  3. Indeed! All too often church hierarchies are concerned with baptisms (I call it bean counting) and not focused on discipleship. I don’t think that a discipler needs to be at the pinnacle of knowledge in order to disciple a new believer, though, they just have to be willing to learn and to teach (there’s something about teaching that makes a person learn in depth). It’s the commitment to learn together and not always be an ‘expert’ that makes teachers stand out!

    1. God is interested in individuals… not numbers. That’s why counting baptisms or responses or even money is not an indicator of value, worth or effectiveness. I totally believe that God is more interested in growing disciples than just getting people to convert.

  4. This is very true! “Teaching (especially to children) necessitates a deeper level of understanding” .In order to teach something you have to be able to explain it to the intended audience. And, that also includes knowing your audience. This is true not only with children, but with people from other cultures or even other socio-economic levels of our own culture. We, as disciple makers, must also care very much about understanding those to whom we would share the precious gospel. Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Definitely! we have to take the time understand where people are coming from in order to help our listeners (and friends & family) really understand the truth! Thanks for reading!

  5. Beautiful Karen. Loved your post. I continue to be blessed by your walk with Christ and the straightforward truth. I identified with your beliefs on the great commission. Thanks for inspiring me to live more firmly in the body of Christ.

  6. It truly is a whole different animal to teach something that comes natural to us! I’ve tried and fumbled many a time…but maybe if we remember we are merely tools in the Master’s hand as you so beautifully put it, then that will ease the process. Always loved the verse from Ephesians. ♥ Visiting from Jennifer’s link up today.

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