Is it appropriate for the church to have higher expectations of teachers? James 3:1 certainly communicates high expectations when the author writes:
Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (NIV)
Without a doubt, higher expectations lead to greater scrutiny. Scrutiny comes as a result of a teacher’s words as well as his/her example. A teacher must be aware of Jesus’ words,
But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. (Matthew 18:6, NIV)
If “the leader is the lesson” as Bill Taylor and Ken Hemphill said in Ten Best Practices to Make Your Sunday School Work, then his/her example teaches just as much as his/her words.
How revolutionary is a teacher who is known to have moral problems, who cannot be trusted, or who does not support the pastor or staff? How revolutionary is a teacher who does not attend worship, who has no quiet time, or who does not prepare to teach?
How revolutionary is a teacher who is not obedient to God, who does not support the church, or who does not tithe? Jesus said,
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21, NIV)
Does the church need a teacher whose heart is on self rather than God and His Kingdom? How can a teacher teach by word and example if he/she is building up treasure on earth rather than in heaven, if he/she is cheating God?
There are several expectations that are appropriate for a church to have for teachers, and tithing is one of them. Obviously, these expectations are best communicated before enlistment. Working with your teachers to develop a teacher covenant, can be a great way to move toward high expectations with teachers already serving.
Do you agree that tithing should be expected of teachers? How has your church dealt with this issue? I worked with one financial secretary by sharing potential teacher names with her in advance of enlistment. If her assessment was that the individual was likely not a tither, I crossed the name off the list. What are other expectations that your church has of your teachers?
Pray. Be an example. Enlist well. Communicate. Expect. Check. Make disciples. Be revolutionary!