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THE CHURCH NEEDS MORE TEACHERS
Victor M. Eskew
Most congregations have the same predicament. They are constantly in need of more teachers in the educational program. In some places, teachers have been in the classroom for 5 or 10 or 15 years with no break. Often, they have to teach on both Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. They are also the ones who teach during Vacation Bible School. These teachers would love to have other teachers take some of their load from time to time. They would appreciate having a willing substitute. They would cherish someone who would serve as their assistant. The cry, therefore, goes out for more teachers. Sadly, the answer to the cry is dead silence.
This article, however, is not intended to address that situation. Even if every congregation had all the teachers they needed, the church would still need more teachers. There are several reasons why more teachers are needed. First, we need more teachers because teachers grow old and eventually die. Even the best Christians will not be able to teach until death. Age takes its toll on the human mind and body. Those who used to be able to comprehend, who were wonderful in organizational skills, who could explain difficult concepts with ease, who were quick witted when answering questions, and who were strong enough to stand for long periods of time find that old age diminishes these abilities. Solomon gives us a picture of man’s decline in old age in Ecclesiastes 12:1b-5. He also notes that life will end in death. “Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” (Eccl. 12:6-7). Yes, even if a person can teach into his/her 80s or 90s, death will eventually claim the individual (Heb. 9:27). Who will, then, fill their shoes? Who will occupy the classroom? It will have to be someone who is younger. Hopefully, this person will have been trained to do the job effectively. If the church is constantly recruiting and developing teachers, this will not be problem.
Another reason, the church needs more teachers is because of the scope of our mission. Jesus told us: “Go ye therefore and teach all nations…” (Matt. 28:19). He also said: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Every creature in every nation is the scope of our mission. There are 7.6 billion people on the earth. All of them need to hear the Word of God. To accomplish this mission will take more than just a handful of teachers. We will need every able bodied Christian to take up the mantle and do his best to teach as many as he possibly can. Even then, we will find ourselves in short supply.
A third reason we need more teachers is because we need more Christians who are developing themselves into the image of Jesus Christ. Jesus was a teacher. “And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and preach in their cities” (Matt. 11:1). We are exhorted to become like the Son of God as we grow in our Christian lives. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (I John 2:6). If Jesus was a teacher, I need to strive to be like Him. I need to put forth any effort necessary to train myself to be just like my Lord. I must move beyond my excuses. I must conquer my fears. I must set aside the time. I must take the necessary training. When I do, I can become a teacher just as my precious Lord was a teacher (See Matt. 10:24).
Another reason we need more teachers in the church is so our knowledge of God’s Word will increase. Peter exhorts us, saying: “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (II Pet. 3:18). Knowledge of God’s Word is severely lacking in many places. If all were teachers, we could address this difficulty. Teachers must study. Teachers must have a good grip on the material they are required to teach others. Most teachers will admit that they learn more as a teacher than they do as a student. What a joy it would be to enter into a room with a group of people who will not just sit and passively listen to the teacher. Oh no! They are teachers. They have studied. They are knowledgeable as well. They willingly contribute to the class discussion because of the depth of the knowledge they have received being teachers.
Finally, we need more teachers in the church in order to take advantage of every opportunity God places in our path. Everyday each one of us comes in contact with those who are lost. The convenience store, the grocery store, the bank, the school, the restaurant, the car lot, the dress shop, the mall are all places where we come into contact with people. From time to time, opportunities come our way to teach someone something about God’s Word. If we have become teachers, we are better prepared to teach these individuals God’s Word. We do not have to wish that we knew more. We do not have to regret passing up an opportunity to sow the seed of God’s Word into the heart of an individual. When Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, Jesus was prepared to teach him (John 3:1-21). When Jesus came to the Jacob’s well and met the woman of Samaria, He was ready to teach her (John 4:3-26). Opportunities may only come one time. We need to be ready to seize the opportunity and teach someone about Jesus and His Word. Dear readers, we miss far too many opportunities that could yield much fruit.
Yes, the church needs more teachers. We need teachers to replace our fallen soldiers. We need teachers to take the gospel to every human being who is lost. We need teachers so we look more like Jesus. We need teachers so our knowledge of God’s Word will increase. We need teachers so we can take advantage of every opportunity that comes our way to teach. My friend, are you a teacher? If not, we need you to become one. Make it your goal to become the best teacher that you can possibly be. Again, the church needs you.