Getting the message right is only a quarter of the task for the teacher. Communicating the message so that others understand the content only brings the teacher to half of his or her role. Seeing the content applied well in the listener’s context is another 25% of the task of the teacher, but still only brings the teacher to 75% fulfillment of the task– this is barely passing, and certainly not a success. Releasing the learners to fulfill the task of the teacher themselves with others is the only way a teacher can fulfill one hundred percent of the call of the teacher.
When you are starting to pass the content on to others is when you have learned the content on its fullest level. To teach others best you must see the process through until the learners become the teachers.
I used to think that a great teaching gift was actually a bottleneck to multiplication. When a truly gifted thinker and communicator is at work people want to stay and listen to them and rarely feel that they can do it themselves…and reproduction ends. At one point in my own ministry I was tempted to dumb down my teaching for the sake of reproduction of ministry, but that is tantamount to being ungrateful for Christ’s gifts. So how do we allow for great teachers and still have reproduction?
The teacher is called to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Eph 4:11), not to do it for them. A true teacher is not simply to teach the saints, but to equip the saints to teach. Are all saints to teach? Yes, they are to teach disciples to obey all that Jesus has commanded them. We need teachers who will truly fulfill their complete call. We should not settle for teachers that only go half way any longer. If you are a teacher do not be content to fulfill only a portion of your task.
What would the kingdom of God look like if we had more teachers like this?