For almost 3 years I’ve been the lead teacher in a LIFE Group my wife Tammy and I started in October 2012. It’s been a great joy to teach God’s Word and to guide the Bible study of an amazing group of adults. Over the last few years I’ve shared the teaching leadership with others from the group. I used to believe it was best for one teacher to teach all the time. But having taught a group has changed my mind about this. My new paradigm is one that makes room for a group of people to teach their Bible study group. Here are 7 reasons why teaching as a team may not be such a bad idea after all.
- It’s biblical . As you examine the New Testament, churches were led by a plurality of leaders. Acts 13:1ff says, “Now there were in the church at Antioch prohpets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon,…Lucius…Manaen…and Saul.” As a pastor I once served with said, “A single-pastor church is a concept foreign to the New Testament.” It was a plurality of leaders that allowed Paul and Barnabas to be set aside from the main group of leaders and sent out on the church’s first missionary adventure. Elsewhere, Paul wrote to the Ephesian elders (emphasis on elders, not elder).
- It’s practical. No one person will be able to be present for 100% of the group’s Bible studies. Travel, sickness, and vacation time will keep even the most committed teacher from guiding the group’s Bible study all the time.
- It lets the group hear from a different leader. As decent as I think I am when teaching, it never hurts for my group to hear from a different teacher. We all have different styles of delivery. We have different backgrounds and understandings of Scripture. We see things differently as we approach God’s Word, so it’s not bad for the group to be exposed to fresh ways of being taught the Bible.
- It paves the way for new groups to launch. As David Francis, LifeWay’s Director of Sunday School, has said, “One of the greatest indicators that a group is serious about creating another one is the presence of an apprentice teacher.”
- It bolsters the confidence of newer teachers. Teaching as a team allows newer teachers to spread their wings and practice the art of teaching. As they teach more and more lessons, their confidence grows and they feel more able to teach when called on – and more able to lead a new group when asked to start one!
- It gives the group’s primary teacher a much needed break. Teaching week after week is exhausting work! Prayer, study, and preparation never take a day off. From time to time, the break from the normal routine is needed so that a lead teacher can recharge his or her physical and spiritual batteries. This keeps a teacher “in the game” longer than if they didn’t have any relief.
- It recognizes and utilizes the spiritual gifts of other group members. It is clear from the Bible’s teaching on spiritual gifts (see Romans 12, Ephesians 11 and I Corinthians 12, esp), that people are gifts to the church, and they are “gifted gifts” to the church. Others in your group likely have the spiritual gift(s) of teaching and knowledge. Allow them a venue to use those gifts and to bless the people in your group.