Today’s teaching tip is specifically for those of you who lead groups of students (middle school/high school) or even elementary school-aged kids. But if you teach an adult group, you’ll be able to draw something out of today’s teaching tip, too.
To effectively lead your group, be the adult. The younger people in your groups don’t need a new best friend – they need an adult who will guide the Bible study and who will hold them accountable for their words and actions. This can even be difficult for parents who want to have influence in the lives of their kids as they grow older; some parents don’t parent effectively because they believe the way to lead is to be their teenager’s best friend. When has that ever gone well?
My wife and I taught just about every grade level in high school and middle school Sunday School “back in the day.” We probably crossed the line a time or two as young, inexperienced teachers, wanting the kids to like us to the point that we strayed into “BFF territory.” That’s the one thing for which I’d like a mulligan – if I had a second chance at ministry, I’d have made sure that we didn’t get too buddy-buddy or chummy with the students we taught. This is especially tempting for those of you who lead groups full of middle and high school students.
In secular classrooms, this is the number one hazard that teachers face, and it easily transfers to the religious classroom. Be the adult, not the BFF, and keep a firm hand on the relationship wheel. The students you lead need just that – a leader – not a best friend. They have plenty of those.
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