Why Grow in Teaching?
When I first learned to cook, I was awful at it. To the point that I was putting more money into food we had to throw away than food we could actually eat after I made it. I wanted to quit trying. For a while, my husband was probably sure I had all but given up. I started making the same few meals each week and all of them were super basic. Eventually, we ended up as missionaries at a ranch for “troubled” boys. Part of the agreement of coming on staff at the ranch included me having to pull some shifts in the kitchen. Now, I had grown accustomed to serving my little family burgers, hamburger helper, and enchiladas. How was I supposed to have an acceptable meal to serve both staff families and the boys who were living at the ranch?!
Obviously, I was going to need some practice. You see, I wanted my food to be edible, but also enjoyable and nutritious. If I refused to grow in my cooking skills, I would be leaving dozens of people with a hunger in their bellies for nutrition. Now, what about baking? I have always enjoyed baking and have confidence in experimenting with my own recipes. Could I get away with serving a few cookies or some chocolate mousse for the main course? Of course not, that wouldn't work well for anyone involved – myself or those I am feeding. And so, I practiced new recipes, asked for help from people with more experience, and focused on my desire to feed others well.
Similarly, there is a need for growth in the teaching of God's Word. Maybe you haven't practiced much. You've yet to make a habit of searching for training opportunities and have grown comfortable with the “easy” stuff – leading a preschool class rather than teaching an adult Bible study. Fears have kept you from truly moving forward in growth.
Maybe you only agree to teach on topics you feel comfortable with, as opposed to having to grow and stretch yourself to teach new areas of the Bible, or different groups of people. While you may be effective in this teaching comfort zone you've created, just as I did with my small menu of things I was willing to cook, you are limiting how God can use you. Perhaps you're feeding your women's group the same basic messages over and over, as I fed my husband the same meals over and over. Or, maybe you are limiting what you are learning about the Lord, since you're not digging into a new section of the Bible as deeply as you would if you were teaching.
Ultimately, we want to leave others craving more of the Word because we know it truly will feed their spiritual hunger. Listening to our fears is now how we are called to steward the gift that God has given us.
We may have been thrown into a situation where we are now teaching God's Word consistently but do not have any training in teaching. Many women in small churches, or small towns (or towns without Bible colleges or seminaries) have this situation. How do you grow when you have no training to guide you? You seek out training. Talk with your pastor about ways to better your teaching. Seek out a reputable training course (such as Verity Fellowship's upcoming ETW, hint hint!), even if it does mean a financial investment or traveling a ways. Maybe you can audit a class at a Bible college in a nearby town once a week. Look for opportunities to grow through solid, theologically sound training.
Teaching the meat of the Word allows you to be used more effectively in growth of the kingdom. This serves those around you; this is why we work to grow. This leads us to our final obstacle: the motivation of our own hearts.
Finally, in order to grow in your teaching, you must foster in your heart a desire to feed others well.
If I did not desire to feed others well when I was ministering at the boys' ranch, I would have been happy to feed chicken noodle soup out of a can for each dinner. However, because of my love for the boys, I wanted them to be filled with nutritious, delicious food. As we love others, our utmost desire is to see them grown spiritually. So, the final step in growing in your teaching of the word is to foster a heart of love for others, and desire to feed them the hearty meat of the Word.
Pray consistently for God to open your heart and mind to the spiritual nutrition of others. Pray for discernment of the gospel, so that you will be accurately teaching. I wouldn't want to misread a recipe and serve a tasteless dish, but it would be far worse for me to teach an inaccurate view of the Bible. To grow in your teaching skills, you need to love others enough to desire them to be fed well, even at the cost of extra time studying added to your schedule. Through this sacrifice, you will be growing spiritually as well as helping others grow in their understanding of God's Word.
We want to serve the meat of the Word well, not just do a halfhearted job at it. We need to be in prayer as we dig into the Word, preparing to teach it accurately. We may need some help, some training, to get us to where we are serving hearty "meals". And we need to be fostering our desire to feed others well. With a little help and a lot of prayer and love for the souls of others, we can grow into more mature teachers of Scripture, no matter where we are in our journey.