My wife and I have recently joined a church in our town, and we’ve found a wonderful group of adults who have a great Bible study teaching team. Over the years I’ve favored having one primary teacher for adult Bible study groups, but I’ve had a change of heart.
I regularly rotate the tires on my car, and that has wonderful benefits. A lack of rotation could prove to be problematic if I didn’t. After being invited into the group’s teaching rotation (I’m teaching the group every fourth Sunday of the month, and other times as needed), I see five reasons this works well in adult groups:
- The group members experience variety. A tenet of my teaching has always been to keep the people slightly off balance when it comes to their ability to predict how I am going to teach from week-to-week. A rotation of teachers in adult groups provides variety and a slight unpredictability to the experience – and that’s a good thing. There are three of us in our group’s rotation, and we all say things differently, and we all see different things in the biblical text that we emphasize to the group. Perhaps variety is truly the spice of (group) life.
- There’s more time to prepare an excellent, engaging Bible study. I’m enjoying having the additional weeks of preparation time between studies. I feel like I can breathe since I’m not under the pressure to prepare quickly because “Sunday’s comin’.” I have more time to plan out the three stages of my Bible study (motivation stage, examination stage, and application stage). Plus I like being able to study and meditate over the Scripture I’m going to teach, giving adequate time to praying about what God wants me to lead His people to understand and apply from the text, all without having to rush.
- Less burnout for the group’s teachers. It’s a reality in church life – teachers are often the busiest people in the church – and some of them experience burnout each year. It’s not uncommon for an adult group leader to have led his group for many years without any sabbatical break – and tiredness often sets in. Not so with a teaching rotation. The rotation gives teachers some space between sessions in which they guide the group’s study.
- New group leaders are developed. The group that Tammy and I just joined did a great thing – they planted another group in the hour of Bible study opposite ours (we have two hours of Bible study groups on our campus – one at 9AM and one at 10:30AM). The person who branched off and started that new group (and yes, several couples went with he and his wife to launch the new group) was one of the three teachers in the rotation. When he left, I was invited into the rotation, and we will hopefully repeat that process again within a year or so when one of us three branches off again and starts another group.
- Teachers are fed spiritually between the sessions they teach. When teachers are in “giving mode” all the time, burnout can set in. What we need is a time to be fed ourselves. I have three weeks between the sessions that I teach, so I am on the receiving end of solid Bible teaching, and the Holy Spirit is leading and guiding me into all truth when I’m sitting in the group, but not leading the group. It’s a wonderful experience to walk out of the Bible study time and say, “Wow…God really spoke to me today through the Bible study.” It’s refreshing, and it’s what I need to stay in the game for the long haul.
Is a teaching rotation right for you and your group? Only you and the group will know for sure, but I encourage you to consider the benefits and perhaps give it a try if you don’t do this already.
If your group does have a teaching rotation, I’d love to hear your thoughts about it. Leave a comment and let’s learn from one another!
Ken,I like this. Still think an on-going leader/teacher is better, but I like your explanations and personal evaluations. They are sound. Nice work.L. David Cunningham.
Check out my new books, Uncommon Sunday School Teachers, Vol I & II.L. David Cunningham Ph.904.629.5003, or 904.744.9955.