Monthly Archives: April 2013

Living Out What We Teach

I saw a comment over the weekend from Ed Stetzer, who leads the Lifeway Research Dept, which really challenged and encouraged me.  He simply said this:

“You can’t lead what you do not live.”

Over the years I have seen this sentiment expressed in a variety of forms: “you can’t lead others any further than you have gone yourself”, etc.  In each case, the message is a strong and important reminder for us.  Our integrity is critical to our effectiveness.  I draw two important conclusions from this which I believe are relevant to us in leading small groups.

1.  We will quickly lose credibility as Bible teachers and leaders in discipleship if we are talking about living out our faith, but not actually doing it.  Hypocrisy has always been a major problem for the church.  A ridiculous number of people cite hypocrisy as their reason for not becoming a Christian.  Now, this is a weak rationale for not embracing Christ because He is a perfect Savior for imperfect people.  We all make mistakes and should never paint ourselves as anything but “one beggar telling other beggars where to find the Bread of Life.”   However each of us must be committed to doing OUR part to share authentic faith with others.  Bottom line: live out the principles you teach.  Let’s graciously and lovingly hold one another accountable to authentic faith.

2.  As we live out our faith we gain credibility to teach, and material to share as we teach it.  Authentic leadership not only involves avoiding hypocrisy…it involves sharing your story with others.  When we teach about the application of God’s Word to life without sharing from our own experiences, we rob our people of a blessing.  Give God the glory for his redemptive work in your life by sharing your story as you teach.

Here is another good leadership quote from my good friend and mentor Dr. Leonard Dupree:  “Leadership is good, but if real people aren’t following you then at some point you can get so far out in front of people that you aren’t leading them, you’re just taking a walk.”

As leaders we must work to maintain strong connections to the people God has given us to lead.  Use letters, note cards, Facebook, phone calls, Twitter, or whatever you feel led to use, but stay connected to the lives of your people.  The more connected we are to people, the more we will be able to present God’s Word to them each week in dynamic context.

Remember that our Wednesday night teachers meetings in May will be held on the 8th and 22nd.  In June we will resume meeting on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month.

Have a great week!

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Categories: Keeps People Connected, Studies God's Word Together | Leave a comment

Staying True To The Word

The family and I are away this week for a quick break. We missed worshiping with you last Sunday, but we will be back this weekend so I will see you all Sunday morning. In my absence, I asked a friend of mine to contribute an article this week for the Sunday School leadership site.

The following is an article from a man that I have great respect for as a Bible teacher. More importantly, I have great respect for him as a student of the Word. I know his comments will bless your heart and challenge you.

Chuck Peterson is a retired Air Force officer, the Minister to Men at Crossroads Community Church in Summerville, SC. He’s been a Bible teacher for over 20 years and is the director of Summerville Royal Family Kids’ Camp, ministering to 7-11 year old foster children.

“I had been attending a Tuesday night men’s study for several months when the leader asked if I would take the class for two weeks while he was on vacation. I had been pretty engaged in our study of Hebrews and I guess he saw something in me that I didn’t. I told him I’d pray about it and he said if I’d answered any other way he would have withdrawn the offer. The following week I was prepared to give him my answer; “No.” I had read James 3:1 that week and it said, “My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” Well, who needs that, I thought. Who in their right mind would sign up for stricter judgment? It was settled in my mind.

But before I could refuse the offer, God spoke to me. In 25 years He’s done that three or four times but that night He was very clear. “If you stay true to My word you have nothing to worry about.” He knew James warning and He knew my fear and He knew the answer. I agreed to teach and had a great time leading some 70 men in a study of Hebrews chapter 9.

Since then, I’ve given this much thought. As teachers, we have a serious challenge. We are teaching from an ancient book, written in other languages that most of us don’t read or speak. We are teaching stories about people we’ve never met in places we’ve never been too in a culture that is so very different from our own. We must work to bring it to life to our students. We need to work to help our students see Peter and John as real people in the midst of real events and we’ve got to do it without compromising the Word. It’s a challenge that can best be illustrated with an example.

Jesus told Peter, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” It’s believed that Peter lived some 30-35 more years. How many of those mornings did Peter wake up to the sound of a rooster crowing, to the sound of his failure? Jesus chose a common and frequent auditory reminder. It seems harsh but then there’s more to the story.

John 21 recounts Peter’s restoration. Jesus speaks with him by Sea of Galilee after they’ve had breakfast. Peter had a full stomach, was with friends in familiar surroundings and he could smell the fire they had used to cook fish. Peter would forever be reminded of his sin by a familiar sound. But he would also be reminded of God’s grace by familiar sights, sounds, smells and tastes; far more powerful. Does that have relevance to us? Is there a benefit in considering that possibility? Does God deal with us that way?

Can we stay true to the Word while introducing possibilities like the one above? I think so. We have to be careful to share our observations with the appropriate qualifications and caveats. Could Peter have had a cold that day and not be able to smell the fish and fire? Maybe. We can’t know and some would say speculation like that is dangerous. Perhaps. I think however, that if I’m careful to present my observations as nothing more – just my observations, some possibilities of how it may have happened – and my students draw their own conclusions; I think I’m safe. As teachers, sometimes it’s good to take a risk and step out of the boat, as long as we keep our eyes on Jesus.”

Thank you Chuck for this great reminder that the Word of God is deep and rich, and that there is so much we as teachers can draw from it as long as we trust the Author to know best!

Categories: Studies God's Word Together, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What are you building when no one is looking?

For this week’s Sunday School article, I wanted to share this brief video. As Sunday School leaders, we are builders. We are building something beautiful. We won’t get any credit for it, and we may not even see it finished in our lifetimes. We will not live in the finished product. But if we build it well, God will.

Be encouraged. On second thought, be encouraged AND inspired. Your work is making an eternal difference. Sunday is coming, let’s make it count.

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Three ways we need to follow up on Easter.

Last week was a great week!  I am so thankful for all your hard work and preparation for an awesome resurrection celebration on Easter.

The Gospel was proclaimed in every Sunday School classroom and every service.  If you’re like me, this week is a mixture of exhilaration and exhaustion.

Let me simply offer you three important ideas following a big weekend like Easter.  Also, I am adding a great little video that you will enjoy and might find helpful to share with your class.

1.  Come to the teacher’s meeting tonight (Wednesday Night) in the Fellowship Hall.  We have LOTS of visitor cards to follow up with.  If you have to miss that meeting, your director will follow up with you and give you your cards.  In any case, the first priority after a big weekend should be to follow up with guests in some simple but meaningful way.

2.  Rest.  Catch your breath.  Next Sunday is coming, and we want to be able to approach each weekend with our church family at a high intensity level.  It is important however to acknowledge that big emotional weekends take a toll on you.  Spending some intentional, quiet, downtime in the presence of the Lord this week will be the key to recharging.

3.  Brag on your people.  This past month we had a goal of averaging 600 in Sunday School groups and we did it!  In a month that included Spring Break, lots of sickness going around, and one Sunday with a hard cold rain on Sunday morning…we still met our goal.  Our people made commitments and kept them.  Friends, family members, neighbors, and coworkers were invited and welcomed as guests.  I am so thankful for the fact that our church believes in the community of Sunday School, and WORKS to make it great.  I am so proud and thankful for you.

As always, call me if I can ever help you in any way.

Here is the video link:

The Whole Church, The Whole Gospel, For The Whole World

Disclaimer: WordPress sells ads that may appear below this article. If you see a video ad, it has nothing to do with the content of this site for PSBC Sunday School leaders. I have no control over the content. Probably best to ignore them. Thanks!

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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