Can You Imagine /teaching without Training?

by Bruce Edwards, Youth Ministry Specialist | Tennessee Baptist Convention

Can you imagine anyone setting out into uncharted waters without learning how to read a nautical compass or how to steer a boat?

Can you imagine flying an airplane without ever attending a flight school?

Can you imagine a pro football player competing on the athletic field without doing any kind of strength conditioning?

Can you imagine a heart surgeon doing open heart surgery without ever practicing and practicing and practicing….?

Can you imagine a Sunday School teacher trying to teach a group of Junior High boys without any training in how they learn, how long they will listen and how to make God’s Word make sense to them?

The answer to all of the above is…of course not!

In fact, participating in training for all these experiences not only makes sense, it also points toward a common requirement for each person who seeks to excel—training and preparation are necessary for those who seek to be the best!
The surgeon, the boatman, the pilot, the football player and yes, even the Sunday School teacher would admit that their training is necessary to the successful completion of their task.

For those of us who are Sunday School teachers and leaders—our Bible study ministry will never be all that God intends for it to be if we fail to prepare and train. To be a teacher of God’s truth from the very youngest to the very oldest learner is a high calling!

The biggest complaint I hear about and deal with is when teachers say they don’t have enough time to do training. The truth is that many people don’t want to take the time to be trained. Often times, it is possible to get a new Sunday School teacher to a training session once…but once is not enough if we take our responsibility serious and see it truly as a high calling. One training experience might give you the skills to “survive”…but is that what we want to do- just survive?

I know a teacher of young junior high students who is in her early 90’s. She began teaching teenagers right out of college in her late teens. I remember serving that church as a young youth minister and in a discussion about whether or not we would attend an associational Sunday School training event, she looked me straight in the eyes and I remember her saying…”young man…you don’t know everything…we have to continue to be trained and updated…the message of God’s word hasn’t changed, but the methods of how we teach that message to our students has to be ever changing…and that’s why we are going to the training event!” This is one of many lessons I learned from Mrs. Bell as a young youth minister. To this day, she still teaches and attends every training session made available to her!

Unfortunately many Sunday School teachers and leaders are just getting by and are very content with the status quo!

A quality training opportunity can engage teachers, it can challenge them, and it equips them to move out of their present status quo mentality to a whole new level.
Not all of us are called to be teachers. James 3:1 says, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (NIV)

This scripture implies that teachers are responsible and will be held strictly accountable for their teaching and its effects on believers. Consequently, this should be motivation for every teacher of God’s word to take advantage of training since teachers hold the key to the spiritual welfare of their students.

Can you imagine how different your class will be because you took training serious?

I hope to see you at a Sunday School University during August and September. For a list of locations, go to

Can you imagine?


About drmarkmiller

I serve as the Sunday School, Discipleship, Small Groups Specialist for the Tennessee Baptist Convention
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