Bible teacher Nancy Guthrie hosts a weekly podcast called “Help Me Teach the Bible.” Each week, she invites a guest (who is typically a Bible teacher) to be interviewed. I have found these interviews to be helpful and encouraging as I think about preparing to teach and lead discussions in community groups. In this column, I will share with you some of the insights from this podcast that have been helpful to me.
Since the podcasts are conversations between Nancy Guthrie and her guests, I present them in question and answer format. Not all of the answers are exact quotes; some are summarized. Some of my views are at the bottom.
Donna Dobbs and Kari Stainback
Nancy Guthrie talked with Donna Dobbs and Kari Stainback on her Help Me Teach the Bible podcast on September 7, 2016. Both Dobbs and Stainback have positions in local churches that are similar to Travis Ratzlaff’s role at Salem Alliance. They are responsible for selecting Bible teachers in their churches and helping them improve.
QWhat do you look for when looking for someone to teach?
- someone who is serious about growing as a disciple of Jesus
- a lover of the Word of God – someone who does their homework, and shares what they’ve learned
- someone who can articulate ideas and make logical arguments
- a person whose quality of life demonstrates discipleship
- a person who wants to do ministry in the church
QWhat are some potential red flags in evaluating potential teachers?
- the motive of self-promotion can be detected: the person is not willing to go through process, or join in another group, someone who emphasizes their knowledge or speaking ability over their character
- the “lone ranger” syndrome: the person is not willing to mix with others
- a one-issue person: they have one main topic that they want to address, regardless of what is needed
QWhat advice do you give teachers who are not sure they can teach effectively? How do you encourage them?
- Start by leading a Bible study group – it’s a less formal situation, maybe not so scary
- Connect with people who are teaching – get tips and ideas, offer to substitute
- Go to workshops for Bible teachers
- Visit rooms where other teachers are teaching and make notes on how they do it. Later, discuss with them.
- Recruit a trusted ally in teaching, someone who will tell you the truth. We can’t really hear ourselves as others hear us.
QOne last word?
AGod promises to work through His word. It’s not about you. If we abide in Him, He produces the fruit.
This interview may seem like it’s not aimed at us teachers. And in a sense that’s true. But it is valuable for us to know what kind of people make the best Bible teachers in a church.
What motivates you as a community group teacher? Why do you do it? I hope it’s not for the fame and glory. I know it’s not for the money.
Tell us what motivates you in a comment below.