There is an old story of two lumberjacks who had a competition to see who could saw the most wood in a day. The first man was young and strong and no doubt had the greatest endurance. The second was not as young and not as strong, but had years of wisdom on his side. As the two began at the break of day, it was obvious that both were intent on winning the competition. The only real surprise was that the older lumberjack would stop and while he rested, he would casually sharpen his saw blade.
At the end of the day, the young man had done an impressive amount of work, but the older lumberjack had clearly won the contest. The loser had worked harder, but had not worked smarter. By keeping his blade sharp, the experienced man was much more effective.
Many businesses spend a great deal of money providing "in service training" for their employees. Why? They know it is worth the extra effort and finances to make this investment in their people. Wouldn't you rather go to a doctor that stays abreast of the latest medical breakthroughs? Ask school teachers about what it takes to keep their teaching certificates. They are required to continue learning in order to hold onto their classrooms.
It also makes a lot of sense to stay sharp as a Bible teacher. Let's freely admit that none of us have "arrived" as master teachers. We all have room for improvement. That's why a wise teacher continues to intentionally grow, developing skills and character.
There are at least five areas in which Bible teachers need to keep growing:
1.Spiritual character. We need to study and develop deeper character, becoming more like the real Master Teacher, Jesus.
2.Bible knowledge. We need to understand Bible doctrines and biblical principles. There is no shortcut here.
3.Communication skills. It is possible to have great Bible knowledge and yet have great difficulty communicating it.
4.People skills. Poor people skills can actually drive out more people than the best outreach program can bring in.
5.Responsibility recognition. As we understand our responsibilities and accept the assignment the Lord has entrusted to us, we will be the team players the church needs to be most effective.
So how do we grow in these areas? Obviously, we need to commit to remain lifelong learners. Even the Apostle Paul requested that parchments and books be brought to him while he was imprisoned so he could learn and grow. We also need to read books to help us develop our craft. We must listen to other teachers and learn how they prepare and become more efficient. We should attend conferences and seminars that allow us to get better. We can listen to podcasts and read magazines on the topic of teaching.
David Frasure is the Disciple-making Catalyst for CABA and pastors FBC So. Lebanon.
It is so true: You can chop more wood with a sharp axe than a dull one.