“Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.”
If you read my post In The Beginning, you may remember how I was called into youth ministry. It happened somewhat suddenly.
I was presented with an opportunity to help out on a youth retreat one weekend, and ended up loving it. A few months prior to that, God was working very actively in my life. There was a lot of cutting away and refining happening, but I didn’t know for what. I now realize that He was preparing me for the leadership role in youth ministry that I have been called to.
This chance to teach a lesson came about in a similar manner. About a month ago, I noticed myself becoming increasingly interested in the idea of teaching a lesson at some point.
I became more observant of how my pastor presented his messages, and the tools and illustrations incorporated in them. I began thinking to myself, “That would be a fun thing to try.”
Now, I don’t consider myself a great speaker, or a great writer, or a great putter of thoughts together…er, but I do know that God has me in a position of leadership, and has been faithful to give me the right words when I discuss things with my high school guys.
So, when my youth pastor presented the chance to teach one Sunday night, I was a little hesitant at first, but I felt that God was giving me a trial run, just like he did a year ago with the retreat. So, I picked a night to speak and asked the youth pastor what he wanted me to talk about. He responded with “Whatever you want.”
If I didn’t think the task was daunting enough, he wanted me to come up with my own lesson, which was exciting and terrifying at the same time. So I prayed and prayed and eventually came up with the topic of God’s grace (pretty basic I know, but c’mon, it’s my first time). I used the illustration of God’s grace toward Peter, despite all of his shortcomings including the three denials.
Preparation was incredibly nerve-wracking. I was trying to get a solid lesson together as well as finish all of my homework (also due Sunday night. Go figure.). But, I was able to get everything done, practiced a few times, and then it was here… Sunday night.
I think that it went about as well as I thought it would. I was pretty nervous, but that was to be expected. Even after 3 years of high school theater, I still get stage fright. I delivered my talk fairly smoothly and I didn’t get off track or skip over anything. I personally felt that I was talking too fast but the youth pastor and my dad both assured me afterwards that I did fine.
The next day, however, I was still feeling… off about the whole situation. I knew God had placed this opportunity before me, but I wasn’t feeling too confident about it. I was starting to doubt whether or not I should continue teaching, especially since I’ve never been great at it.
I had worries floating through my head. “Did I get through to the students?” “Did I make sense?” “Are they going to take anything significant away from it?”
I almost felt like I was trying to be something I’m not. I’m sure a lot of that can be attributed to first time jitters, and a little bit of Satan trying to get in my head, so I tried not to dwell on those thoughts.
Later that morning, I read my daily encouragement/devotional email that I get from one of the Passion speakers, Christine Caine, which thankfully dispelled all of my doubts and made me feel a whole lot better about the previous night.
In him we were also chosen … according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will … (Ephesians 1:11).
God has positioned us exactly as He wanted to, with gifts and talents for the purpose of serving this generation. No matter what your age or circumstances are, YOU have a purpose! You may have woken up today feeling finite, but can I remind you of something? We serve an infinite God who wants to work in and through us.
– Christine Caine
I took this as affirmation that this was what God wanted me to do. All of the worries and doubts that I was feeling were understandable. I mean, I’m new at this and don’t have much of an idea of what I’m doing.
However, I do know that the things I was worrying about are out of my control and in His hands. It’s not up to me whether or not God speaks to the students through my lesson. Jesus said in John 7:16, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me.”
If that is His will, then it will happen, regardless of how well I teach or how fast I talk. All I need to worry about is listening to what He has to say to me, and trusting everything in Him.
It’s still a learning process, trying to follow what God has planned for me. It’s requiring a lot of faith, but it’s exciting nonetheless.
And I do know this. I loved preparing a lesson for these students. I found myself looking forward to finishing homework so I could run out to my favorite coffee shop, sit down with God, and work on this with Him. And I’m definitely going to continue looking for opportunities to teach.
Practice makes perfect, right?