For quite some time, my church has taken a “team teaching” approach to who stands behind the pulpit at our adult services. For example, in the last three weeks, three different pastors have preached on Sunday. Having multiple teachers isn’t just a summer-thing for CCCC, it’s a philosophy we hold. Let me give you some reasons to consider moving toward a teaching team instead of maintaining a “one pulpit, one pastor” practice.
Having multiple teachers/preachers…
- Keeps your church from being dependent on one personality. How many established churches do you know that would all but close up shop if their pastor, God forbid, left the planet simply because they focused everything around that one individual? That’s anything but helpful…or even healthy. Having different people in the pulpit fights against personality-driven churches because you’re exposing the church to multiple personalities. Thus the church would have the best chance of moving positively forward facing even the harshest of realities. Think of investing in teaching teams as congregational life insurance. If you die, your church wont.
- Allows your church to appreciate (and learn) from different styles. There are teachers who are more pastoral than others, some more prophetic; some are “preachers” while others are seen as classic “teachers” and instead of your congregation getting used to (and by default, appreciating) only one of them, team teaching helps them appreciate the differences God uses in other teachers to grow them spiritually. If you have a knife, you need a spoon, a fork, etc. This also argues for adding teachers who are different than the senior/lead pastor. Duplicate the task, not the style. (For the record: For those who understand the prophet, priest and king personality/style categories, we have a teacher for each at CCCC)
- Gives the lead pastor time to actually…lead. It’s amazing how much I get accomplished in the weeks I don’t have to preach. Preaching prep takes time by necessity. Freeing that time up with someone else dedicated to preaching will absolutely make a huge dent in your capacity to lead well. No question! Want to be a better leader? Develop at least one more teacher to rotate with on Sunday and see if it doesn’t make a massively beneficial change in your leading of the church. You’ve simply got to decide if preaching by yourself to the church is more valuable than your leading of the church. Trust me, you will find yourself preaching less and leading more – and liking it (that is, if you’re a leader)!
- Extends the endurance factor. Every preacher has a “magic number” of weeks he can preach until he’s good for nothing and needs a rest. Having a stable of pastor-teachers extends that number exponentially. I used to be running on fumes about 8-10 weeks straight of teaching. I have yet to find that number since rotating on a roughly 50-50 basis (give or take a few weeks with other teachers) on Sundays. It seems like my batteries don’t drain as much, thus they need less time to recharge. I’m able to give my sermon prep more energy and creativity than when I preached weekly. Not only has it positive for my sermons but on my family. I find myself having to work less to stay engaged as a husband and father simply because I don’t feel the pull of developing a weekly message.
Now, let me say that there is nothing wrong with “one pulpit, one pastor” churches. My assumption is that is how most churches have operated for centuries, if not millennia. But that doesn’t mean it has to be that way. Indeed, I wanted to give just a handful of reasons why having multiple teachers is something worth considering. Believe me, there are a lot more reasons out there. Think about it for you and the health of the church you lead.