When I was in Seminary I learned to "preach" from a Nazarene Evangelist. I thought he was creative. But basically he had just one sermon, taught from different places throughout the Bible. He was an evangelist, not a pastor-teacher, what could I expect? Here's a simple distinction between PREACHING and TEACHING ...
- PREACHING is done by both evangelists and pastor-teachers. It is what evangelists do all the time, and what pastor-teachers do some of the time. It is done to share the Gospel with people and invite them into a relationship with Jesus Christ. The gospel is so woven throughout Scripture that pastor-teachers can't avoid it, nor should we. At 2nd Street I invite people to come into a relationship with Jesus Christ on Sunday mornings on a regular basis. But I am gifted and called as a pastor-teacher not an evangelist.
- TEACHING is done primarily by pastor-teachers. And it is done to grow and mature the flock in their relationship with Jesus Christ. This is what I do at 2nd Street on Sunday mornings, 40+ times a year. I believe that the teaching of God's WORD is most effectively done verse-by-verse through individual books of the Bible, using other passages from the Bible as support.
So instead of staying frustrated (which I really was for about a year), I started listening to a number of pastor-teachers on the radio. Here are the five God primarily used to help shape, change, teach, and train me in how to teach His WORD (these folks aren't all serving in these positions anymore, but they were during my time in Klamath Falls / 1984-1991).
- Chuck Smith, pastor-teacher at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, CA
- Burt Smith, pastor-teacher at Little County Church in Redding, CA
- Jon Courson, pastor-teacher at Applegate Christian Fellowship outside of Jacksonville, OR)
- Kay Arthur, Bible teacher, founder of Precept Ministries
- Bob Yandian, pastor-teacher at Grace Fellowship in Tulsa, OK
So learning from these five pastor-teachers (none of whom I'd ever met ... but I eventually met Kay, Burt, Bob, and Jon's brother Jimmy), I simply looked at the end result of what they taught and worked my way backwards, developing my own methods of study, preparation, and delivery of God's WORD.
I study on Tuesday afternoons, Thursday afternoons, all day Friday, Saturday morning, and then finish everything up early Sunday mornings. All told, I usually invest about 15 hours into each Sunday's teaching. But I think that it is worth it. The way I study, plan, and prepare isn't complicated. Here's a basic outline of what I do ...
- Read the next passage from God's WORD that I'll be teaching from many, many, many times, out of a variety of translations. www.youversion.com helps me do this. Knowing where I am going, not just on a given Sunday, but in the coming months and even the coming year, helps out tremendously. Take notes.
- Read more of God's WORD / look up all the cross-references listed in the main Bibles I use for study (New American Standard Bible, New Century Version, The Amplified Bible, The Message, J.B. Phillips New Testament in Modern English, Contemporary English Version, and English Standard Version) along with all the other Scripture passages that the Holy Spirit brings to mind. Take notes.
- Write. Incorporating more Greek/Hebrew word studies.
- Add the Faith Lessons throughout the teaching as led by the Holy Spirit to do so. These are short, application points from individual verses, or words/themes encountered along the way.
- Pray and deliver the teaching.