Expectations Regarding Church Leaders and Administrators
Many who serve in the church as pastors and teachers take
2 Timothy 2:15 as their
life verse. It states, "Study to show thyself approved unto
God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly
dividing the word of truth"
(2 Timothy 2:15). This was the
Apostle Paul's exhortation to Timothy. He urged him to
remain faithful to his pastoral calling, and to his duty to
the church in which he ministered. It is also an
encouragement to church leaders to press on through
difficult times, and continue to fulfill their leadership
roles within their congregations. It is a worthy goal, and
one that requires discipline and diligence.
The pastor is Christ's example to the church. He is to "pursue
righteousness, faith, love and peace"
(2 Timothy 2:22). He is
held to a high standard of pure and godly virtues because he
shepherds God's flock, and we are His sheep. The pastor must
accurately teach Scripture by consistently presenting God's
intended meaning. He must explicitly show the purpose for
which Scripture was written.
Leadership Qualifications +
The resources for teaching God's people are provided through His spiritual
gifts. They are special abilities given by His grace. The
gifts of prophesying, preaching, and teaching are the means
whereby God's message is communicated to strengthen,
encourage, exhort, and correct the people of God, as well as
calling the lost to salvation. Paul instructed Timothy to,
"Kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the
laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of
timidity, but of power and love and discipline." Timothy was
to work at his gift, and exert himself to strengthen it.
This requires a love for the word of God, His people, and a
firm dedication to both; therefore, the message must connect
the listeners to God by using thoughtful and practical
applications. God has
specifically called certain individuals to dedicate
themselves to this type of service. Those called must
present to Him their very best, and work to bring listeners
into harmony with God's will through His word and the Holy
Pastoral Training +
The church faces an invasion of heresy and godless practices. There is
growing pressure to present non-threatening and less
offensive messages that erode the truth of God's word. The
early church faced these very same battles. The church of
Galatia is one such example. Paul admonished them saying,
"You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?"
They had received the gospel of grace, but had reverted to a
works-based salvation. Such teaching is dangerous and must
be admonished and corrected.
Prophesying, preaching, and teaching are special endowments from the Holy
Spirit, yet, to be a pastor does requires a bachelor's
degree, a graduate study in seminary, and a Masters of
Divinity. To complete these requirements is no small task.
It is a profession that one should feel strongly called to
do, and is passionate about the work. Anyone who feels the
Lord is leading him into a pastoral profession should
consult his pastor and other Christians for prayer and
advice. He should ask about the joys, sorrows, burdens, and
duties involved in this type of ministerial work.
Training Effective Teachers +
God's message must
be projected through accurate preaching and teaching. Peter
explained, "But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And
this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you"
(1 Peter 1:25). This is the way God's message is conveyed;
through the preaching of His word. His authority is in His
word, and His word is what changes those who hear it
10:17). Many Sunday school teachers have the desire to
teach, but have not had any formal training such as the
pastor has had. They may lack the organizational skills that
are necessary to prepare a thoughtful presentation. Other
times the preparation is thorough, but their speaking skills
may need work. Fortunately, both can be nurtured through
learning proper lesson preparation and oral coaching.
In every biblical narrative or spiritual principle there is a key point
which cannot get buried in fragmented thoughts. The main
idea must prevail. Supporting points must uphold the main
thrust of the lesson without distracting from its message.
Establish what the point of the message is and state it
Preparing the Lesson +
Lessons, above all, must be prayerfully selected and taught. A lesson book
can be a valuable guide; however, it should never take the
place of Scripture. Read the Scriptural text; it is your
inerrant guide. Many lesson books have been published
containing inaccuracies, so don't take for granted that
someone else got the story right. As you pray through the
lesson preparation, ask for the Spirit's guidance so your
thoughts align with God's will.
While reading through the biblical text of the lesson, observe what is
happening or what is being taught. Observation is merely
asking yourself the age-old questions of: Who, What, Where,
When, Why, and How. Who is speaking? Who is being spoken to?
What are they saying? Where is the action taking place? Does
the action take place in a palace, a home, a wilderness, a
city? When did the action take place? Did it happen during a
certain season, a festive celebration, a time of war? Look
for why the action took place and how it happened. These
aspects of the text require reading through the scriptural
passage multiple times, but it will be well worth the effort
to familiarize yourself with it. The more the passage is
ingrained into your thinking, the easier it is to present.
Your observations become the foundation of your
Next, look for what the passage means. The Bible was written for our
understanding, and so our task is to understand its intended
meaning. We must pay attention to the details as we develop
our theme at this point. The theme must fit within the
Bible's broader teaching of the subject. Scripture confirms
Scripture, and that is why other passages lend support to
help us clarify the meaning of the text. Use clear biblical
passages to interpret those which are less precise. This
also helps to avoid misappropriating Scripture by taking it
out of its context.
At this point within lesson preparation, you should be able to create a
thematic sentence based on the biblical text. This is the
key point and is the big idea. It states what the
scriptural author is talking about, and what he is saying
about what he is talking about (Robinson, 43). 
 Robinson, Haddon W. Biblical Preaching. Grand Rapids, MI:
Baker Academic, 2001.
Now that we have the big idea, next we must apply the big deal.
What does the point of the passage have to do with us? This
is where the characters or principles are applied to us as
we live in today's world. There may be centuries separating
us from the days of the biblical writings, but people have
never changed. We all feel love, joy, grief, sorrow, pain,
disappointment, and more, in the same way as the Bible
characters did. This is why biblical principles, which were
taught then, are still relevant today because we all share
the same emotions and experiences. Here is where the lesson
becomes personal and must provoke a change within the
listener. God's word is meant to transform us by the
renewing of our mind
(Romans 12:2). As we hear His message, it
should lead us to the goal of personal holiness. This is the
Christ-like change that God desires for us. It is important
to be specific about what needs to be changed so there is no
misunderstanding. If it is a call to be compassionate toward
the poor, then give specific suggestions. If it is a call to
renew broken relationships, then give precise examples. If
it is a call to support missions, then present the needs of
missionaries which the church supports. This is God's
personal call to take action, and His personal message to
Age Appropriation +
Also, good oral
presentation requires one to align the subject matter
according to the age and type of audience. Even the youngest
children can learn valuable biblical principles when
presented in short bursts, and in a variety of activities.
Children were valuable to Jesus as He drew them to Himself,
and so, their lessons require preparation as well. The
lesson must be underscored through the use of simple
storytelling, songs, crafts, reenactments, dress up, and
more. Proper planning must not be overlooked merely because
the students are so very young. They are capable of
understand basic biblical principles of salvation, prayer,
God, Christ, sin, forgiveness, and so much more.
Older children and teens +
As children mature their attention span grows. They also have a desire for
creative learning environments, and diverse activities need
to be employed to keep them engaged. During these years,
Scripture memorization can be optimized through sign
language and songs. Children need to be encouraged to make
good choices, and learn to help others through simple
Teens need to be prepared for adolescence where, again, good choices are
reinforced. They also need healthy outlets in which to spend
their energy. These activities can be the platform to
include biblical training where valuable principles in
sportsmanship, teamwork, and citizenship are conveyed.
During this time in their lives they may begin to have
questions and doubts. Their thoughts and actions must be
corralled into concrete biblical principles where they
develop personal godliness.
As adults, our lives become congested with careers, marriage,
childcare, household duties, and sometimes senior care.
Attention to these issues is critical. Peer support must be
included in the lesson preparation, and be sensitive to the
specific needs of the audience. Each person has had a
lifetime of unique experiences and may be able to contribute
godly insight to a particular subject. Class discussions
should be encouraged and valued, and yet, remain focused on
the key point. As individuals mature in their faith, each
should be encouraged to mentor younger students. Older men
and women are instructed to live self-restrained lives that
show dignity, faith, love, and kindness so God's word will
not be dishonored
(Titus 2:2-4). The wisdom of the older
generation is a vast reservoir which can be channeled into
the lives of young believers. There is no retiring from passing godly insights onto the next generation.
The time that is put into praying, studying, and preparing
the lesson is worth every moment, because both you and your
listeners will benefit from the exposition of God's word. We
must continue to be faithful in the task of teaching knowing
that, one day, we will all answer to God for what we have
done in this life. The apostle Paul has urged us to, "Be
diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman
who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the
word of truth,"
(2 Timothy 2:15). May we continue studying and
being faithful to the task of teaching for the sake of His
kingdom. God's word is our treasure. Let's be diligent in
sharing the wealth.