Pastor Rick is convinced his church needs him to preach every weekend. In fact, he hasn’t missed a service in four years. Though pastors like Rick don’t realize it, their inability to share the teaching load creates long-term challenges for themselves—and their church’s evangelistic impact.
A teaching monopoly is harmful for a few reasons. First, it robs the church of a unique perspective on God’s Word, conditioning seekers to think there’s only one person who can help them understand and interpret Scripture. Second, the unchurched community is often neglected when a leader doesn’t value personal renewal. Busy teaching pastors need time away from the pulpit to study, pray, rest, and refocus on the goal. Third, because the church fails to experience biblical teamwork and regular team-teaching, both regular attendees and new members can’t effectively prepare for an inevitable leadership transition. They’re prone to stop attending the church after the leader’s departure.
To counteract these evangelistic roadblocks and effectively share the teaching load at your church, utilize the following strategies:
- Schedule “off” weekends and special message series ahead of time so the entire team knows the teaching schedule for the calendar year. Remind your staff that teaching isn’t a gift we’re supposed to keep for ourselves—God intended it to be a team effort. “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (II Tim. 2:2 NIV).
- Consider which staff and volunteer leaders in your ministry can be trained and mentored to help with the teaching load. Granger has strategically reduced the times our senior pastor teaches to about 30 weekends each year. That doesn’t mean he’s on vacation the rest of the time—there’s still quite a bit involved in leading a church of 5,000 people. It just means he isn’t focusing solely on teaching.
- Trade speaking opportunities with other local churches, allowing both churches to gain a unique perspective on God’s Word. Team-teaching allows a church to hear new biblical insights and challenges for life application, and also accommodates different learning styles.
- Pay guest speakers to come in from time to time. Always make sure you preview the speaker’s message before inviting him or her, as slightly warped theology could mislead seekers.
Now that team-teaching is part of Granger’s DNA, the congregation accepts and appreciates the variety of teaching styles and insights. All of our services, regardless of who’s teaching, are designed to connect with today’s culture and help people take their next steps toward Christ. And we don’t have a noticeable change in attendance even with a guest speaker. Most importantly, seekers have learned that the ministry is about meeting Jesus—not connecting with a personality.
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