Last week at our NLF monthly teaching team meeting (Drew Hyun, Rich Villodas, Geri Scazzero and myself), I summarized our learnings over the last two years. I am convinced that training and developing teachers/preachers is essential for the future of the church. This process has been a great learning experience for us. And I pray we are laying a foundation to develop other communicators for the future of the church – both inside and outside New Life. Many of you who read this blog are in a teaching role of leadership – whether it be preaching, teaching classes, leading small groups or worship, doing retreats or providing spiritual leadership. The following summary has applications, I believe, for a variety of settings beyond preachers/teachers:
- Integrity in our lives is first. This involves taking care of ourselves, our marriages and making sure we live what we preach. One of the most important things we can do is to invest in our own development and growth.
- We preach with an eye towards the spiritual formation of our people. This requires we create space to allow the truth to gestate inside of us first before we birth or deliver it. We preach out of a deep interior well that is overflows, not one that is empty.
- “Community exegesis,” We take time to talk together about our messages and texts. Rich expresses it as follows: “Meeting together as a team adds perspective and insights into questions/issues that I wouldn’t see alone. This emphasis has caused me to be more intentional as it pertains to relating to the life experiences of our diverse community.”
- Accountability. At our meetings, we ask how God is coming to us personally, and He is changing us through this text. These questions force us to pay attention to the movements of God’s Spirit within us.
- Limits. Because we labor together on the quality of our church ( pastoring, building small groups, mentoring, developing healthy community, etc), we regularly wrestle with our bandwidth. Preparing messages takes a lot of time and energy! As a result, we are conscious of our limits and are grateful we share the preaching responsibility together.
What might you add/delete to this list? How might you apply this if you are the sole preacher as I was for the first nineteen years of New Life?