It is important that we avoid enlisting “warm bodies” when we seek Sunday School teachers. What qualities should we look for in a Sunday School teacher? Gene Taylor has written a good article entitled A Good Bible Class Teacher. In it he list qualities of good teacher. The qualities he lists are shared in all capitals and my commentary follows.
- A CHRISTIAN. While this is an obvious quality or characteristic, we cannot assume an individual is a Christian. Certainly, we can ask individuals we feel led to enlist to share about accepting Christ as Savior and Lord. I agree with Gene when he said, “His speech, dress, habits and entire deportment should be above reproach.” I might add the word “growing” to this characteristic even though it is hard to measure. I think it is important that the Christian not rest on his/her laurels. The relationship with God needs to be alive and growing. The potential teacher should regularly spend time with God in Bible study and prayer, and he/she should apply God’s truth to daily living.
- REALLY WANTS TO TEACH. The potential teacher should not respond out of guilt or enlistment pressure. He should desire to impact lives through teaching and leadership as a teacher. A little nervousness is fine, and the potential teacher may benefit from being reminded that God will work through Him. I agree with Gene, the potential teacher’s “enthusiasm will positively affect his students.”
- ABLE TO TEACH. Does this mean the individual should have demonstrated teaching ability? Yes, that is much preferable. Ideally, potential teachers should be apprenticed. Where that has not been possible, observation of abilities during classes and group studies should be made. Also, he/she should be willing to learn how to be an even better teacher.
- TEACHES THE TRUTH. This is not negotiable. That is why a new Christian is usually not the ideal candidate for teacher. He/she has not had time to build a solid biblical foundation. In addition, lessons should be based upon thorough preparation and not upon opinion.
- WORKS. Teaching takes time and effort. Study is essential. Contact with members and prospects through the week strengthens application efforts by the teacher. Observation of potential teachers’ work ethic my indicate whether they should be a teacher or not.
- SACRIFICE. Teaching and class leadership require working as a team. Sacrifice will be required in working with the team and in effective work as a teacher. A teacher must be willing to invest in the experience even at the cost of his/her preferences, resources, time, etc.
- DEPENDABLE. A teacher’s example is one of the most impacting parts of his/her ability to teach. Late arrival or not showing up communicates volumes–all bad. Effectiveness is also hindered when the teacher agrees to serve but is frequently gone, even when a substitute has been enlisted. Teaching to meet the needs of individuals in the class requires a relationship that substitutes seldom have.
- ABLE TO GET ALONG WITH OTHERS. Teaching effectively without this ability is probably not possible. This ability is needed not only with persons in the class but outside as well. This ability helps in class leadership as well–such as during class fellowships, projects, etc.
- EMOTIONALLY STABLE. I had not thought of this quality, but it makes sense. A teacher should be growing in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The potential teacher with questionable quality here will produce poor results and should not be enlisted.
Along with Gene’s list, I’d add the phrase, God-called. Not every person should seek to be a teacher. Individuals should remember the words of James 3:1, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly” (NIV). When we seek to enlist teachers, we should go in a spirit of prayer, should assume the Spirit has preceded our enlistment efforts, and should ask the individual to seek seek God’s leadership.
What qualities would you add to this list? Press the comments button below and share your thoughts. Don’t enlist problems. Give God the best! Be revolutionary!