Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Teacher - (Part 4 of 7)

As we make our way though the 5-Fold ministry callings, I have chosen the teacher as the second one because it, like the pastor, seems familiar from the old church traditions. If you have previously subscribed to the pastor/teacher model, hopefully you'll see the problem with the pastor's focus being split between study/teaching and relationship building-- a tall order that many cannot achieve.

Romans 12:7 “ If it [gift] is teaching, let him teach.” In the Biblical language this meant to communicate the truths of the scriptures so that those that heard put it into practice. Teaching makes difficult truths understandable over time. it is not logic, for the ways of God are higher than ours. It is instructing with the goal of reaching Christians with the "rehema" understanding of the Biblical passages.

True teaching brings God's insight to prophetic, allegorical, symbolic, historical and instructive passages of the Bible. True teaching sees the layers of understanding in a single passage. For example, we have all heard the story of Jesus' first miracle at the wedding of Cana. For many, this is simply a historical passage. And it is. But to the teacher, it is seen as a prophetic parallel to the story of salvation. Jesus turns that water (Holy Spirit) into wine (salvation) while in the earthen vessels (you and me). Then it is taken by those that know Him, to the master of the feast (those with out the Holy Spirit) and so forth.

On another level we could see this as a miracle that needs to be done in our life. A place where we need Jesus to transform us. We may identify with the struggle with timing or release, the natural response of His mother, versus the supernatural response of Jesus. Although this is more preaching than teaching (see Evangelist in Part 5).

When teachers equip the saints, building up the body of Christ, the saints are taught to do their part in the building process, it is not just the job of the teachers. This is why scripture says that ALL believers should be able to teach the fundamentals of the faith; not just the teachers. In fact, teachers should be called to a much higher level of teaching, than merely the fundamentals. Hopefully, with the help of the pastoral staff, the believer goes from being a hearer of the word, to a doer of the word.

The New Testament teacher's sole purpose, is to cause Christians to understand the written word of God-- to put on the mind of Christ. The true teaching gift brings out nuances of the word which EQUIP the saints for the work of ministry. These are not "how to get through your crappy week" sermons. They are life and instruction for being heirs of the kingdom, and children of the living God! This the kind of teaching that prepares you for the work of ministry. I don't believe a great teacher needs to be strapped to a local congregation week after week. Because the teacher is an equipper, he trains teachers for Bible studies, home-groups, kids church, youth teachers and even pastors. He may even be a professor in a Bible school setting.

If the teacher is able to participate in the process described in the following verse, he has done his job.

Proverbs 2
1 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you,
2 listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding;
3 furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding,
4 if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure,
5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God.


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