The Trouble with Teaching

Teaching is the art of imparting knowledge utilizing effective methods to assist the student in embracing and assimilating that knowledge into their mental framework. If that sounds complicated it’s because it is complicated. The old saying, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” is one of the dumbest things anyone has ever uttered. Teaching is an incredibly challenging art form and it’s sorely missing in our churches today.

The trouble with teaching is in the nature of teaching itself. While there are a few things one can assimilate within a few hours by attending a seminar or conference, anything with depth or substance requires time to properly grasp. In other words, you can’t learn something like calculus in a day. Something that complex requires months or years of training.

For some reason the modern American church has the idea that God, the Bible, Jesus, and everything else associated with them can be assimilated by the average church attendee in a 30-45 minute sermon reflecting on, perhaps, one or two verses taken out of context. How we got here is the subject of another post, but here we are nonetheless. Modern preachers are delivering messages with the assumption that folks listening share their frame of reference. They do not. This is why teaching is required.

Teaching is the long, arduous task of helping someone discover Jesus and thereby reframing their entire worldview. When we have people “walk the aisle” and say the “sinner’s prayer” and then send them back to their seat with a pat on the back, we cannot assume their worldview has changed. Generally speaking it has not. Perhaps they had a spiritual encounter with God. Awesome! But that does not translate to changed thinking, and here we are back to teaching.

We must stop assuming that those who claim the name of Christ have shifted their thinking into alignment with Jesus. Most have not. We must return to clear, biblically based, de-cluttered teaching. Part of great teaching is inspiring the student to take matters into their own hands and study themselves, and Christian teaching carries the glorious beauty of God Himself helping us all along through Holy Spirit.

It’s easy to give people what they want to hear. It’s difficult to teach the whole counsel of the Word of God. Let us not be slack in our efforts to help others along. Let us not be lazy in our own studies. Let us find good teaching and learn and grow. Then we will see a true shift in the body of Christ.

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