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Using a Teaching Team

This week our church received the invitation from a good friend and former staff member, who happens to be one of the top-notch church leadership consultants in the country, about speaking with another congregation interested in applying the team concept to preaching. When we were a very young church (age 4) the Senior Pastor decided to add me as the Teaching Pastor so the teaching load would be both shared and expanded (to our current system of a midweek worship service and weekend seeker services).

What’s astonishing is that there was only a handful of full-time staff and yet our lead guy decided to pull the trigger early-on for another teaching pastor. I personally don’t know of another congregation where the teaching reins were shared that soon in a church’s life. It would seem most lead pastors would’ve filled other positions of need but we decided almost from the beginning that teaching/preaching would be done by more than one man. And I think that’s paid off.

Let me briefly give reasons why I think that’s the case…

1. It keeps us away from being a personality-driven church. It’s not all about one guy with his face and name plastered everywhere, so when he leaves, dies, gets raptured, etc., the church doesn’t go into a tailspin not knowing where to turn. I bet you can count on both hands how many churches you think would be in deep trouble if the Senior Pastor all of a sudden left the picture. Team-taught churches are less exposed to the Achilles’ Heel of personality-driven congregations.

2. Our congregation has learned to appreciate different styles of teaching. One teacher is a fork, the other a spoon, the other a knife…you get the picture. It’s natural for people pick their favorite teacher but they’re reminded early and often through our teaching schedule that you may be “served” God’s Word by someone else any given Wednesday or Sunday. Hopefully in the end, we’re highlighting that what matters most from the teaching perspective is that God’s Word is being expounded with passion and excellence – the focus is on the “what” and not so much the “who”.

3. A teaching team has a sharpening effect on each other. Just imagine having other teachers along side you doing exactly what you do – joys, struggles, and everything in between. Who better to help you do what you do with loving evaluation, closed-door gripe sessions/confessions and the very common “Hey, do you have a second to listen to what I’ve got so far for this weekend sermon-wise?”spot. I can’t imagine how much weaker I would be as a preacher/teacher if I didn’t have godly and gifted teachers journeying with me. Many preachers go to conferences to meet up with guys who do what they do. I walk down the hall.

4. We don’t stress about getting sick or…yes, even a little burned out. Teachers are real people. That means they get fatigued and in need of a season of rest. When you have a teaching team other men can carry the load when you’re in need of a break. What a great thought knowing you’ve got backup if you feel a fever coming on and it’s Thursday. Just make a call to the bullpen so your boy can get warmed up as best he can. You stay home. He breaks open the Word of Life. Church goes on as normal. No last minute calls to friends hoping they can not only spell you but do a decent enough job that you won’t worsen your condition worrying about their ability in the pulpit.

5. Teaching rotations provide better rhythm for the life of a teacher. This is closely tied to point four but is focused more on the preventative. Teaching week after week can take a lot out of a pastor. Now imagine (you pastors out there) what your life would look like if you were regularly on for six weeks and off for three. Mix up the numbers a little but you get the point. How much better of a church leader would you be? I’m always amazed how much leadership work I’m able to accomplish the weeks I don’t speak. It’s like I can do about 5X the work. Seriously! How much better of a husband would you be? Father? Neighbor? Human being? Teaching rotations enable the individual teacher to take periodic breaks increasing both his health and pastoral effectiveness.

I’m sure I could say more but I’ll stop for the time being. Just know this all you younger (and older) pastors out there doing all the teaching all the time; consider multiplying yourself for not only the sake of your church…but for your sake as well.

Picture of Yancey Arrington
Dr. Yancey C. Arrington is an eighth generation Texan, Acts 29 Network and Houston Church Planting Network fan, and Teaching Pastor at Clear Creek Community Church in the Bay Area of Houston. He is also author of Preaching That Moves People and TAP: Defeating the Sins That Defeat You, and periodically writes for Acts 29 and The Gospel Coalition.

1 thought on “Using a Teaching Team”

  1. This is excellent stuff, Yancey..and i’m sure i can guess who the consultant is( an awesome,bright,Godly guy,fer sure). It is yet another reason why i love, and am excited to God works through you and the other leaders at creek. For those of us volunteers who feel led by God to be disciples,we are constantly moved to, and challenged, to learn,grow and apply the spiritual gifts that God gave us( within the four walls of our church home, and beyond). Someday..when i am old(er)..and God has further used me to pour into decades of youth/men at our a manner similiar to the example set by you and the rest of our church is my hope that God will look down,smile and say “job well done”. Thanks for your teachings,discipleship in my own life and your example of what it means to “teach others, as i have been taught”. In HIM,forever…

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