Notes on teaching

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.

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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.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

One thought on “Notes on teaching

  1. Amen, well said! Carla Ruiz

    Carla Ruiz, ACC Leadership Development Coach & IT Coordinator

    LUCK COMPANIES™ P.O Box 29682 Richmond, VA 23242

    TEL 804-784-8282 MOB 804-426-6130 EML cruiz@luckcompanies.com WEB luckcompanies.com

    IGNITING HUMAN POTENTIAL

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