As I reduce my corporate responsibilities, I am being inundated with inquiries asking me to teach. I don’t mean teaching in the corporate world, but rather, teaching at the college or graduate level. And I confess that I enjoy that kind of teaching very much.
Years ago, when I was in seminary, I taught at least fifteen modules at Crossroads Bible College here in Indianapolis. In fact, it is gratifying to see that a number of my former students are now pastors, even internationally, and I look back with fondness recalling that I had the honor to teach them the disciplines of preaching and teaching. Of course, there were other things that I was able to teach as well. Sometimes, I taught classes in leadership, Old Testament, New Testament, specific book studies and even human resource courses to aid future pastors in how to work with ministry teams and to be in compliance with the laws of the land.
I have always been something of a maverick in teaching my classes. While I follow the curriculum and the required reading materials, I have been quick to insert life experiences and challenge my students to go above and beyond the bare requirements of the course. Only once in my years of teaching have I have to report a student for cheating and, unfortunately, it resulted in their expulsion from the college. I didn’t realize that the student had been engaged in similar antics well before my class – I guess it was the third strike.
On balance, I have been fortunate to have taught eager students who are thirsty for knowledge and are willing to accept constructive criticism with the right attitude. In fact, I was asked to return to Crossroads as a guest professor earlier this week and I had a wonderful time teaching leadership to a group of underclassmen.
As I have been slowing down my consulting work, I have given some thought to teaching once again. The class this week went so well that I have been asked to return for a second guest appearance and then discuss whether or not I would consider coming back as regular member of the faculty to once again lead my own classes. I have to admit that it is an intriguing possibility.
In addition to the school, I have been asked to once again get involved in teaching career transition skills to professionals who are currently out of work. This is a ministry area that I have worked in the past with Roger and Rich, two ministry partners who have served with me beginning in 2000. In the next several weeks, I will be giving two presentations to different groups in the hope that the material presented will shorten their unemployment and allow them to get back in the corporate world with minimal disruption to their families.
The verse for this evening comes from the apostle Paul and his acknowledgment that teachers are important to God and to the church. Paul tells us, in 1 Timothy 5:17, “The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.”
My encouragement this evening is that God loves teachers who prepare students to advance His Kingdom on earth. Traditionally, this is a difficult, sometimes thankless, job that requires dedication and commitment. Needless to say, it has become common knowledge that we don’t compensate our teachers for the true value they bring to us. My prayer is that we will all be more aware of the value that teachers bring to us in the classroom and from the pulpit in our churches. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…
I do not believe your way of teaching is ‘maverick,’ I believe it is the best way. People always love stories, and Jesus taught through stories, as you well know. So you are doing this in the best way. Congratulations.