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Teaching with Humility

By Doug Franklin February 8, 2010

I have been noticing more closely the style of teachers and preachers lately. I like the ones who are challenging and pushing you towards making an application. Teachers with this style do seem to have one problem though: how to be humble and yet challenging. Too often challenge comes off as, “I am perfect, so be like me.” That’s not the heart of most teachers but it does come off that way. So how do you challenge people while communicating you are struggling with some of the same things?

1. Use personal stories of failure
I went to a church for a long time where I didn’t think the pastor had ever made a mistake because he never had a sermon illustration of him making a mistake. I always thought it was hard being perfect. Be gut level honest and let people know your struggles and that you make mistakes. Share short-comings and place yourself into the challenge.

2. Share your applications
Let people know how you’re going to apply the lesson. This is scary because everyone is going to be watching to see if you live it out. This is also an awesome chance for you to be a walking, talking example of the truth. As teachers we shall cherish the opportunity to teach by example. If not why are you teaching?

3. Don’t yell your challenge
Sometimes we think a challenge is more powerful if we yell or demand but it’s not. Let the Spirit of God control the pressure.

4. Care more about the person than the challenge
Remember that challenges are tools for people to grow in their faith, they are not the end result . Sometimes challenges are presented as all or nothing – you do it or you fail. Not true. The process of going through challenge is often more important.

Being a teacher or preacher is a cool calling from God. Challenging our listeners is a tremendous tool for helping them change. Just keep in mind it’s about God and not you.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More