How to Do and Teach

There are two problems in Christian education. The first is that there are many believers who think they cannot teach and the second is that there are believers who think they can teach. The issue is not whether a believer thinks he or she can or cannot teach; the issue is who does the teaching.

In John 14:26, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would be the Teacher. In Matthew 10:20, Jesus said it would be the Spirit who speaks in us. And in Luke 12:12, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit will teach us what to say. When Moses tried to disqualify himself from being used by God, God told Moses in Exodus 4:12, “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.”

As believers, our role in Christian education is to let the Holy Spirit both teach us and teach through us. True Christian education happens with the Holy Spirit is doing the teaching, Click To Tweet when we are Spirit taught and when we are walking in the Spirit, being willing vessels for the Spirit’s teaching ministry.

Spirit-filled mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers manifesting the life of Christ in their homes are Christian educators. By the same token, an employer can be a Christian educator in the workplace and so can an employee. On the athletic field, coaches can be Christian educators and so can their players. Teachers can be Christian educators in the classroom and so can their students.

In Acts 1:1, Luke refers to the gospel that bears his name as “the former account I made…of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.” We may not see ourselves as teachers, we may believe we can teach or that we cannot teach in the usual sense, but that doesn’t matter. What is true is that each of us can be Christian educators by being available to the Holy Spirit. He will reveal the character and nature of Jesus Christ through our daily lives, in word and in deed.

Dan Dunbar

Dan Dunbar

Dan Dunbar is a Christian academic leader and school head. He holds a principal certification from ACSI as well as TEFL certification. He earned his first Bachelor's degree in Education from North Adams State College (now known as Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts). His second degree was from Stevens School of the Bible, where he majored in Christian Leadership. Read more from Dan at What Was I Thinking
Dan Dunbar

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  1. Reply
    Andy Valaitis says

    As a teacher of 35 years, I was naturally and supernaturally attracted to the title of this article. The first paragraph especially grabbed my attention to one of the most critical concerns in Christian education- who is doing the teaching and what is Christian about Christian education? Thanks Dan for reminding us who it’s all about. It’s all about Him, right? It’s not (primarily) about us, as we often sing. If I try to evaluate my teaching career by looking at myself, it’s even a mystery to me how it is that I have been, oftentimes, the greatest teacher in the world, but also (more oftentimes), the worst. You remind me that when I am the best teacher in the world, it’s because (somehow, by the grace of God) the Holy Spirit teaches me and teaches through me. When I am the worst teacher in the world (alas, most of the time), it is because I get in the way….. somehow. Somewhere, somehow, sometimes, I get in the way. How does it work? It’s a mystery (not that this is a task just for mystics). It’s a mystery how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. There is no formula. We can do all the right things to make it more likely for inspiration of the Holy Spirit to happen- believe, repent, be well-prepared and prayed-up, be in fellowship with the Body and Finished Work doctrine, be available to be used by God, etc. etc. If we could just get this all right most of the time, we’d be amazing teachers- so amazing that it becomes an unattainable, unreachable ideal. Perhaps that teacher exists somewhere, but he/she would be only one in a million. But that doesn’t mean that we should give up trying. No wonder there is everywhere a shortage of Christian teachers- mostly because too many Christians don’t believe they can teach…. because they know they are not perfect. If it weren’t for the ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life, I would have quit 35 years ago. So, don’t quit. God is faithful !

  2. Reply
    Elizabeth Hoag says

    Your very thoughtful “How to Do and Teach” article with the picture of a grandfather with grandson made me think of my mother being filled to the brim – and overflowing – with the presence of God. It is amazing how mothers can be teachers; that the Holy Spirit speaks IN them. The life of Christ manifests in a humble and meek mother. It is no wonder the Spirit spoke through my own mother. Honestly I can say she was the most humble and meek person I ever met in my lifetime.

    Allow me to give you a glimpse of her. After being a victim of a severe head trauma from a car accident at age 19 I was laid up in bed for 18 mos. in a room adjacent to her kitchen. I had the privilege of listening to God’s Spirit filling my home.

    Entering through the kitchen door the most needful teens would be hungry for her Godly words – to the point of reverently taking off their shoes before entering my mother’s back kitchen door. (My head was always throbbing from the trauma I was experiencing causing doctors to agree on bed rest and little else.) Yet I knew God’s presence was there with me. (I had been saved since I was a child.)

    Upon entering through the back door always the floor, kitchen table & one counter was exceptionally clean. Why? She would tell you: we must keep it clean for God. (“The rain was God cleaning the world” she would say. “God was everywhere and with everyone.” God has a reason for everything and for everyone – His purpose. Precise, to the point, and crystal clear her Spirit led words would cut to the core of those listening.

    Her 4 foot 8 inch stature somehow commanded teens to stop dead in their tracks causing them to wait – to anticipate – her words to them. Being gentle and softspoken she listened for a time and then she
    would speak. (Having the gentleness of our precious Saviour her words would grab the teen’s mind in rapt attention – their face becoming glued to hers – as if they instantly understood. (A few questions followed afterwards but always, always, there would follow a quietness in the listening teen.) Voices spoke softly with only the two of them at the spotless kitchen table. Yes there was always a Bible. Never was there a bad word nor a raised voice. Somehow they knew it was not allowed. (Only 1 teen at a time. Strict rules were observed.) With great respect and the sharpest listening skills, her gentle soft spoken nature with transparent Godly convictions enveloped that kitchen ministry.

    Today I am understanding that God’s presence was there – in that particular kitchen. My mother understood the value of a soul, knew God one-on-one, personally. Now Matt. 10:20 truly comes alive for me in my mother. Her name was Lillian.
    Elizabeth Hoag

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