Posted: 3/13/18 at 9:55am. Column by Steve Zimmerman.
Over the past few years I have had many more opportunities to preach in various churches than when I was on church staff serving as an associate pastor. But years ago when I first began to get into ministry, my father, who had only an eighth grade education, gave me some sage advice about preaching. He said I needed to follow these simple rules: stand up to be seen, speak up to be heard, and shut up to be appreciated. From what I have gauged, the last point is often the most important point! Experts have argued that our culture prizes time more than anything in how we go about our lives.
The concept of time is nothing new. The writer of Ecclesiastes in the third chapter shared his views on time. There is a season for everything from the smallest to the greatest. But our biggest challenge today is how we use the time the Lord has given us.
As Bible study leaders, we of all people in the church need to set a good example for our class members to follow. The time we invest and model in the right things will pay dividends later on in our work and may help the church use its time more wisely in the things of God. Below are just some ways you can make good use of your 148 hours each week.
Find time to read and study God’s Word. An effective teacher in the class goes beyond just making time to read the lesson material. He or she is a student of the Bible. They go deeper than just “making do” for the lesson. How can you lead your class members to be better Christians if you are not a student of the scriptures?
Make good use of your time when you’re leading the classroom experience. What you are teaching is something that God wants to share with your class. Don’t take this lightly. You are a messenger of God. Starting class just five minutes late each week shaves off over four hours of good teaching each year that might benefit your members in getting closer to God!
Spend time with others in church besides your own class. As I go to various churches these days, I see an alarming trend. Some folks, even Bible study leaders, only want to make time for their class members. In our compartmentalized world we live in we have shut out others who really can help us in our faith. The joy of Christian living is not found in just one segment of church life but in the whole.
Carve out some time with someone outside your church family who needs your time. As busy as we are rushing to do the good things at church, we don’t need to overlook the time each of us needs to invest in going outside the church walls and making connections with those who are craving God’s love. Whether it be helping with a soup kitchen, doing a Habitat for Humanity house project, or cultivating a relationship with a lost person, we need to show our world the hands and feet of God exemplified in our work with others. Make time to be the salt and light to your friends, neighbors, and community this year!