Awhile back, I wrote on five things I'm aiming for when I teach. Rather than trying to "finish" people's education in a certain area or being a slave to "fads", I instead try to (1) faithfully present the material, (2) further understanding of a particular topic, (3) frame the topic well so others have some sort of blueprint by which to understand things, and (4) fix misunderstandings so people aren't walking in error. All of this is part of an even larger goal for my teaching to be one piece (not the only piece) of helping (5) form disciples of Jesus Christ.
As I've continued to teach and reflect on what my overarching aims are, I've identified two more "aims" that help guide my instruction and keep me pointed in the right direction.
Fully DEPEND on GOD'S Word (AND ITS AUTHOR)
This (hopefully) seems obvious, but I don't want that to keep me from clearly stating the obvious. As I teach, the final authority must be the Bible. As I teach, I want to find ways that I can be directing people to and depending upon God's Word - either directly or indirectly. (In the subjects I teach, this most often happens directly.) The obvious-ness of this and the simplicity of this doesn't take away from its (tremendous) importance.
Unfortunately, we can probably all recall teachers who seemed like they wanted to be anywhere but in the front of a classroom. Personally, that's a position I don't want to find myself in. Instead, I want to have fun as a teacher, and in the act of teaching (and everything that goes along with that). This doesn't mean the subject matter I'm talking about isn't often very serious, or that some topics aren't more difficult to teach than others and that studying isn't hard work. This "aim" just helps me remember that I want to be enjoying what I'm doing, and to find ways to enjoy what I'm doing. The "fun" I'm talking about here includes legitimate enjoyment and a sense of fulfillment. The "fun" I'm talking about here is what Eric Liddell is referencing in this Chariots of Fire clip when he says "when I run, I feel His [i.e., God's] pleasure."
Having these "aims" in mind proved practically helpful as I taught on corporate eschatology recently at Grace University. Corporate eschatology deals with the issues of kingdom and covenant, the millennium, the rapture, etc. If my goal was to "finish" the conversation about any of these areas, I would have been understandably overwhelmed. There's just too much reading and too many views to "conquer" this area.
But when my goal is to fully depend on God's Word and faithfully present it in a way that forms disciples and furthers learning by framing the issues and fixing misunderstandings in a fun environment - that's the bulls-eye that makes such a presentation both doable and enjoyable.
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