“WHERE ARE ALL THE TEACHERS?”
WHERE ARE ALL THE TEACHERS?
Roger D. Campbell
Those Christians that taught the word of God in the first century played an important role in the work of the church. Some may have taught in one location while others taught as they traveled from place to place. Some, no doubt, taught constantly week after week and year after year, while perhaps others taught with less frequency.
In the 21st century, the church still needs its members to teach the word! We need to go out and take God’s word “into the streets and lanes of the city...into the highways and hedges, and compel” folks to repent and accept the Lord’s invitation (Luke 14:21,23). We need saints of God to teach their family members about the Christ as Andrew did (John 1:40-42). We need dads and moms teaching in the home, instructing their precious kids in the ways of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).
There is also a great need today, as in every generation, for Bible class teachers. Inasmuch as the Holy Spirit has not designated in the Bible how often, where, and in what manner the saints of God must be together in Bible class arrangements, those questions all fall into the realm of judgment, with the leadership of each congregation determining what it deems will work most effectively for the local flock on the first day of the week or at any other time.
In order to have Bible classes, you must have students. Without students, there are no classes. In the same way, Bible classes also stand in need of someone to teach them. We need teachers in the classroom that faithfully teach and live the message of the Bible (1 Tim. 4:16). Some of the church’s most capable folks do not do much teaching. Thus, I ask, “Where are all the teachers?” Where are those faithful saints that are needed to teach new converts, young married couples, college-aged saints, teenagers, and kids all the way down to the infants? I recognize that not every member of the church is cut out to teach a class, and I also understand that some members are not yet spiritually mature enough to be given the responsibility to teach, but in many local churches, that still leaves several qualified people to teach. Where are they? Why is it that they do not teach?
There are too many who make excuses for not teaching.
“I’ve done my share of teaching. It’s time to let somebody else do it.” There is such a thing as “teacher burnout.” Sometimes folks just need a break from teaching. There are some great workers that have been in the classroom for decades. Their influence on the Kingdom and the population of heaven will not be fully known or appreciated until we meet on that other shore. But, at the same time, what if every person took the approach of “Let somebody else do it?” Not much would be done, would it? Besides, in our congregation’s directory, there is no brother or sister with the name “Somebody Else.”
“I would volunteer to teach, but I know how that works around here. Once you start teaching, you will never get anybody to take your place, so you are stuck with the teaching job for life.” Consider this possibility: approach the deacon or shepherd that works with the Bible class/educational program and volunteer to teach for a specified period of time, say three or six months, with the understanding that you are doing this only on a temporary basis. If you fear there might be a misunderstanding, write out your offer/proposal and sign your name. At the same time, especially where young children are involved, it often makes for a more stable classroom setting when a teacher can work with the same group for a bit longer period of time. Surely there are some arrangements we can come up with that get effective teachers into the classroom and at the same time keep them from getting burned out.
“I am just too busy right now to take on a teaching responsibility.” Without doubt, some circumstances at home or at work, or both, make it taxing to teach a weekly class. Yet, at the same time, how long have you been saying you are too busy to teach? Has it been six months? Three years? Seven years? Brothers and sisters, our Lord expects us to use our talents, and He can only increase our abilities when we use them! Some have the reputation of being good teachers, but they must have gained such years ago because they sure do not do any teaching these days. For some, the time factor may be a legitimate cause for not teaching on a temporary basis, but for others there is a good chance it is a sorry excuse for failing to do what they ought to do (James 4:17). While we use our excuse of “I’m just too busy,” humanistic teachers have plenty of time to pound evolution into the brains of our kids, TV producers have oodles of time to portray violence and nakedness as “normal,” and denominational zealots make ample time to spread the devil’s falsehoods. But, hey, it’s just our young people and the souls of God’s people that we do not have enough time for. How serious could that be?!
There is no biblical demand that says a congregation must divide into Bible classes by age groups. That decision, by the authority of the Lord (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15; 2 Peter 3:18), is left to each local congregation. However, we see the advantage in many cases of doing so, but it would be just as scriptural to have everyone study in one room. Yet, would it not be sad if the leaders of a local church were forced to make such a decision because no one was willing to teach separate classes?
Bible classes play a huge role in determining where a congregation will be five or even twenty-five years down the road. You believe that, too, don’t you? Where are all the teachers?