Jesus was a great teacher. Much of His ministry was a “schooling” experience. His classroom was in the Temple, Synagogues, towns and villages, hill sides, and even a boat. He taught anywhere that people were gathered. He taught in group settings as well as one on one. It did not matter what time of the day or night, He was always ready to share God’s Word. He taught knowing that His time on earth was limited. He chose “teacher’s aides” to assist in reaching out to the thousands of Jews scattered throughout Israel.
Teaching is to instruct and inform. It is an extended expression of thoughts on a subject. It is very different from preaching, which is to proclaim and herald Divine Truth. (Jesus both taught and preached, Matthew 11:1) Sunday service is not a time for instruction, but a time to hear what God wants to say on a specific day and time. Sadly, today much of the preaching on Sunday has been replaced with teaching. I remember in my pastoral days that I preached on Sunday morning and evening. During the rest of the week I conducted “In Depth” teachings on Tuesdays followed by basic Bible teachings on Wednesdays and Thursdays. The teaching sessions also contained question and answer periods on how to implement God’s Word. Opportunities were given to help clarify any misunderstandings from the Sunday sermons.
I have always believed and taught that the Holy Spirit is the real guide and teacher to the Believers, but I also believe that the Holy Spirit speaks through God’s called servants. The fivefold ministry, which is ordained of God, is for the “perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12) Every pastor should also be a teacher. He is called to make disciples. It is a full time job that should occupy his daily activities.
Many of the mistakes that people make are due to ignorance of the Word. People need to be taught. Christians need to know how to rightly divide the Word of God. (II Timothy 2:15) The pastor/teacher should be dedicated to establishing the Believer. To fail to take that calling seriously is to be a derelict servant.
There are many wonderful pastors who understand their calling and are eager to educate their people in the Word. The problem is that many of the people lack the desire to pay the price to acquire spiritual knowledge. Nothing discourages a pastor more than empty chairs. Years ago, Sunday evening service was part of the Sunday worship experience, but due to lack of interest, the evening service has largely become a fleeting memory. It used to be that the measure of a church was how many attended the Sunday night; now, it is determined by the size of the facility as well as the exaggerated membership rolls, budget, and programs.
Pastors need encouragement, not criticism. Satan hates the fivefold ministry and will incorporate lukewarm Christians to do his bidding. The church “swamp” continues to overflow its banks with liberalism and self-promoted activities. I call upon every Believer to quest for Truth. Tell your pastor, that when he offers to expound the Word, you will be there with Bible in hand. Reassure him that he can count on you. Pray for him, for he is not only the proclaimer of God’s Word (Preacher), but the expounder of the Truth. (Teacher)