Hey there teacher. Yes you. Even if you’re not asked to stand in front of a weekly class you are a teacher. Either you will be asked to fill-in every now again or your personal conversations with young people will help to teach them how to interact with other adults. Like it or not, we are all teachers and we need to be intentional about the lessons we are teaching whether in life experiences or Sunday school.
I have come up with 3 types of teachers that I think most of us fit into and how to best maximize our impact. You may see some of one and a lot of another in yourself which is probably the best way to be but this is not meant to be an all-inclusive list. In fact, if you come up with more please comment with your ideas. ‘Iron sharpens iron’
#1 Informational- As this leader, your class always has the best content because you approach each subject with a nose for the facts. You spend time researching the lesson so you have little tidbits of information to add to enhance what’s written. Your students have a ton of context and are more easily able to attach one lesson with another. The issue with this leader is when the question HOW is neglected. For this leader to be most effective they have to be willing to leave room for discussion on How to apply these lessons to their everyday life.
#2 Congregational- As this leader, you may have the most talkative class and friendships blossom easily because you foster that. You spend time specifically planning time for people in your class to get to know one another, develop relationships and feel safe discussing issues. This class usually crams the lesson into a shorter time because fellowship has taken over much of the class time. Your students are recognized as the most socially in-tune and are more easily able to strike up conversations and develop healthy relationships with many people. The issue with this leader is when the question WHO is neglected. For this leader to be most effective they have to demonstrate relationships for outward impact not simply inner fulfillment.
#3 Spiritualizational- As this leader, you are seen as the one everyone wants to go to when they need prayer. The class always starts on time & often your classes get sidetracked in prayer requests and prayer takes a vast majority of your time together. This leader’s class is usually filled with the overly serious and ‘spiritual’ individuals. Your students are recognized as those to turn to for a prayer vigil or meeting involvement. The issue with this leader is when the question WHAT is neglected. For this leader to be most effective they have to challenge their students to look for ways their personal and spiritual habits could be exhibited in visible, Biblical acts to exemplify what is going on inside them.
There are good points to every type of leader but they can all fall into the trap of not maintaining a good balance. To be the most effective teacher, it takes a little bit of all three of these and the challenge is knowing what balance of these works best with your students. Take a reflective look this week and assess where you are now and how you can develop yourself into an even better teacher.