Letting the Laity Teach

Letting Laity Preach

Letting the Laity Teach
Letting the Laity TeachI have heard the question. It has risen to more than a whisper. “Why does Steve have so many Sunday’s when he doesn’t preach?”  Or we have the accompanying question, “Why are we having untrained church members preach? Don’t we want to show the best face possible when guests show up?”  (Have you seen my face? I’m not sure it is the best one we could show our guests!) Honestly, I hear your concerns.
 
Yet, there are real Biblical and practical reasons that the Elders have, from the beginning of my tenure as Senior Minister, supported sharing the preaching/teaching responsibilities with others in the congregation. Let me take a moment to explain those reasons.
 
As a principal ministry leader at FCC, my primary responsibility is not to do the work of ministry, but to equip God’s people for the work of ministry (Eph 4:13). Yes, I can equip as I do the preaching/teaching, however, I also do that as I equip others to use their gifts in that role. Believe me, it would be a lot easier for me to preach myself than to equip others. A lot of work goes into studying and teaching others text. Then I spend a significant amount of time coaching them on message preparation. I estimate it nearly doubles the amount of time it would take me to preach myself. But in training others, capacities are multiplied in a manner that wouldn’t be true if I did it all myself.
  
A second reason to allow others (including non-professionals) to teach the Sunday message is that it is good stewardship of the gifts that God has placed within our congregation.  If God has granted the church a number of people with teaching capabilities would it not rob them, as well as God, to not provide an outlet for them to develop and utilize those gifts. 
 
A third reason for having members teach relates to the guest question. Actually, when we have members teach guests show up in mass to hear the person teach.  The non-staff preachers bring with them an assortment of people who we would not see in worship with us on Sunday if it wasn’t for their family member or friend presenting the word on that Sunday. Having members preach is an act of evangelism that encourages the inviting of guests, guests who already have some connection with the church through the person teaching.
 
Finally, a final reason is that we are looking toward a time when it is quite possible that the Biblical church just may be pushed underground. If that is to ever happen, it is these trained non-professionals that will become the qualified teaching leadership for the underground church. We won’t have to rush to place ill-equipped leaders in positions of leadership in individual cells. We will have people who have been groomed to lead in the teaching ministry, and will be adequately equipped to share God’s word with depth and skill so that the church can be strong.
 
I hope this helps you understand why on 8-12 Sundays a year I “take a Sunday off” and let others lead in the ministry of teaching.
 
Let me close with this: Someone asked me if this means that just anyone can just get up on Sunday and teach. The answer to that is an absolute NO. The requirements for participation on the teaching team are extensive and demanding. Particularly, only those who prove their capacity to teach, and are willing to participate in extensive hours of training, equipping and preparation are added to the teaching team.

 

— Pastor Steve