Humility in Teaching
Last night I enjoyed some genuine Christian fellowship at my church. It was a graduation of sort. After six classes in the New Member’s course, the participants celebrated over dinner while the pastor gave some closing comments and others of the church prayed for them. The class members were also given the opportunity to share some thoughts that they enjoyed over the past six weeks. It was a good time.
My pastor surprised me by calling me forward. After an introduction, he asked that I say a few words in regards to the class. As you may know, he has taken me under his wing in hopes to train me for ministry. He gave me my first opportunity to teach in one of the classes just 3 weeks prior.
Since I did not plan on speaking, I think that I jumbled over my words. My first remarks were that I don’t know the meaning of “a few words” – I was scared of being long-winded. Nevertheless, I focused on keeping myself as brief as possible. To break the ice, I cracked a few jokes aimed at my pastor (he is a joking man, so this didn’t appear distasteful). The crowd laughed.
Since I taught on “Sharing the Good News” I thought that I would best serve my church by recalling that topic in order to help it sink into their brains. After all, that is the call of the teacher – to get the truth embedded in their minds. So bringing things to remembrance in a subtle but wise way often helps dramatically.
I mentioned that what I recognized and appreciated most was the variety of people fellowshipping for the gospel’s sake. Looking out into the room I saw an art palette but not just in the sense of color. We had all kinds of people with different kinds of jobs and different kinds of dress. It was a snapshot of Paul’s description of the body of Christ. While there were so many differences among them, there was but one similarity – they all rallied under the banner of the gospel.
About five to eight minutes went by and I realized something about myself. I was terrorized. I had been speaking and probably embarrassed myself. I am not a great orator. I cannot find good illustrations and points off the cuff. I am not quick to generate sermons. I don’t even have the formal training that most in my position do. I was humiliating myself.
Suddenly, I was reminded of a TV commercial. And to prevent any misunderstanding among those in the room, I kept this commercial to myself. It was an old car safety program where automobiles plunged into walls throwing plastic human replicas everywhere. These manikins were characters who then spoke some words of advice. A narrator closed with “You can learn a lot from a dummy.”
Then I felt much better.