Guest teaching is hard to do. Recently, I was scheduled to teach an unfamilar group. The subject matter, apart from “something that can help them grow spiritually,” was up to me. I had prayed off and on for weeks. Now, it was the night before and I still had no idea what I was going to do.
It’s not that I didn’t have options. I took a legal pad and wrote words across four columns. James. 2 Timothy. Colossians. Nehemiah.
Those represent four books of the Bible that I’ve taught from in the last couple of years, each more than once. I’ve spent a lot of time reading and reflecting. Some of you have read some of my reflections or been in the groups.
Under each, I wrote a theme that I could use to guide the teaching.
- James – practical obedience.
- 2 Timothy – last words to an apprentice.
- Colossians – clear teachings about Christ.
- Nehemiah – accomplishing a great work.
Each theme resonated for me. Each can be a blog post, a sermon, a teaching series, a book. Each gets me excited. But as I looked at them and thought about the group I was teaching, I felt … nothing.
There is an element of teaching that is more than simply delivery of information. At least for me. I want to know that there is a connection to the needs of the group I’m teaching.
It’s a commitment that I struggle with regularly here. More than content, I desire connection. I want relevance, not in a way that dilutes the teaching, but in a way that allows us all to see that words written millennia ago resonate with our lives.
I ended up with Colossians. There were no voices from heaven, no glowing words on the page. There was just a sense that it was the right thing to do.
And it was.