It took me a while before I enjoyed sharing my Sunday School class with a co-teacher. Why? Three reasons:
- I love teaching the Bible. The hour I’m in that classroom every Sunday morning is my favorite hour of the week. I get really excited about planning each series of lessons and doing all the study that goes into lesson prep. I love learning the truths of Scripture and teaching others what I’ve learned. I enjoy the discussions that follow the lesson, and seeing that my people were “getting it.” It has been a joy of mine for almost 10 years.
- I’m proud. See, sometimes in the past, when I would sit and listen to other teachers teach there would be a moment of pride or even judgment as that wicked little voice in my head snickered, “I could have done that better.” It’s often not even true, to be honest. But it’s hard to resist the temptation of rating, ranking, and comparing yourself to other teachers. Maybe that’s just me. I have a proud and sinful heart.
- I don’t know how to sit and just be a learner in that setting. I can listen during sermons, no problem. But in that classroom, it’s hard for me to let go. It’s hard for me not to take over discussions. And I don’t think it’s just a pride thing. I really do love talking about it and making connections to help people understand doctrinal concepts. Sometimes it just comes out and I’ll go off on a tangent until my sweet wife places her hand on my arm and reminds me to cool it.
After a while, though, I learned to get over my pride and trust that “different” doesn’t necessarily mean “worse,” and it certainly doesn’t mean “wrong.” God has been gracious in challenging me on this. And I have had the benefit of really good co-teachers, including a couple last year who were a huge blessing to my wife and I for the few months we had them in our church. When they moved away in November, I was sad to see them go. And while I can admit I did like getting back to teaching every week after that, I knew it couldn’t last forever.
It took me a little while to admit it, but I finally acknowledged it’s almost time for me to take a step back and just be a disciple for a while. I need to focus on building up my young marriage and digging into seminary studies to gear up for the next season of ministry.
I have a new co-teacher. I like him a lot; he’s a solid dude. He’s about 10 years younger than me, full of energy and eagerness, and he’s passionate about doctrine and people. I have the privilege of helping prepare him to take over full-time at the end of August.
There’s a problem, though. Part of me still doesn’t want to share time this summer. See, we’re starting a series next week on the Sermon on the Mount that will take us through the summer. I’ve wanted to teach through the Sermon for YEARS. And now, I have to split time with this new guy so that I can train him to replace me.
Ephesians 4 says that God has given pastors and teachers to the Church to build up the body of Christ and help it grow to maturity. Part of that ministry is to train other teachers to take up the work alongside you. Paul poured into men like Timothy and Titus and trained them to be faithful ministers, because Paul knew part of his job is to entrust the work of ministry to others who would come after him. I know this is my job, too, but it’s hard for me to share what I enjoy so much. Which tells me this is exactly why I need to do it—for the good of my people, for the good of the church, and for the good of my own selfish heart.