Me? Teach the Next Generation?
“Yes!” I said, “I’d love to!” Shocked as I was by my own words, I continued my conversation with our church’s assistant pastor. He had just asked me to teach our junior high and high school-aged girls in a six-week course on biblical womanhood. And to my surprise, I agreed. Emphatically!
Not a Teacher
The way I see it (and I could be wrong), there are two types of people: teachers and non-teachers. Kid people and adult people. Get-on-the-floor-and-play people, and sit-in-a-chair-wondering-what-to-do-with-these-small-humans people. I fall into this second category. Weird, right? I mean, I’m a mother of six!
My husband, on the other hand, is most definitely a teacher, a “kid person.” He knew he wanted to be a teacher in fourth grade. Now, as a school administrator who only gets to teach a couple of hours a day, he relishes the opportunity to interact with his students.
A few weeks ago, the two of us, along with one of our teen sons, ventured out to our eleven-year-old’s school carnival for which we had volunteered to run a game. There, the division was clear—while Michael and Jonah were drawn to interacting with the kids, making small-talk, readily encouraging and playing with them, I was happy holding the prize bucket, silently handing out plastic “prize” bugs to sometimes willing recipients.
I love children. But I’m not a “kid person” and certainly not a teacher.
Compelled by the Spirit
Yet the Holy Spirit tugs at me as I read the familiar words of Titus 2:3–5:
Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled (emphasis added).
They are to teach what is good . . . who is this “they”? It’s me. Non-teacher, too-busy mom of six. It’s you, seventy-year-old grandma who’s never taught so much as a Sunday school class. My single thirty-something friends? You too! College girls, high school girls—you’ve heard it before: Every woman is an older woman to someone.
The takeaway here? “Natural” or not, we are all to be teachers, ladies. Every single one of us. Now let’s talk about what that might look like, especially if your comfort level in teaching the next generation is about as vast as your knowledge of Tumblr. (Yeah, me too.)
Tips for Teaching if Teaching’s Not Your Thing
I said “yes” to teaching biblical womanhood to the next generation of true women, and so can you! Here are a few tips that I hope will be helpful for the not-so educationally inclined among us:
Think of the class as an extended opportunity to have a conversation about a topic near and dear to your heart.
“I’m not a teacher,” I said to a friend who is one, “but I can talk about biblical womanhood all day long!”
In my fussing and worrying about what I was going to say and how to say it, it was helpful to keep in mind that the most important outcome of the class was not me having my theological, exegetical, and educational ducks in a meticulously planned row. The purpose of the class was to share God’s heart for women and to share my passion for living out womanhood in a manner pleasing to Him—not with perfection, but with passion!
2. Choose a well-developed book or curriculum upon which to base the class, and lean heavily on it.
This is especially helpful in the first few sessions. For the purpose of the class I taught, we used Girl Defined by sisters Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird. The girls in my class did not all have copies of the book, though we gave one away at each session as an incentive for attendance. This was helpful in that even if, at times, I was reading aloud large chunks of text, it was new material to most of them.
Choose a book that is biblically sound and readable for your target age group. Once you have the book’s outline as a probable framework for your sessions, the work of preparing a class from scratch is far less overwhelming.
3. Incorporate technology when available.
One of my goals in working with my class was to have them remain visually and mentally engaged in the class—this can be difficult at 9 a.m. on a Sunday in the midst of a busy school year!
To promote this, I created a PowerPoint presentation for each class period, incorporating a few nifty graphics and animations. Also built into the slideshow each week was one of the “vlog” (video blog) posts on a relevant topic from the Girl Defined YouTube channel. These posts allowed the girls to see the authors firsthand and to get a feel for how they lived out their words as real live young women. And speaking of real live women . . .
4. Elicit the involvement of other women from your church.
Your fellow “older women” of every age group can be an enormous asset as you work to train up the next generation. Consider inviting in a woman each week to talk about ways that she implements principles of biblical womanhood in her daily life or in her particular season.
A way that we endeavored to get more women involved in our study was to ask for the ladies of our church to donate small pampering or treat items for us to give away at each class. This served the dual purpose of stirring up some excitement among the ladies of our church and encouraging the girls to participate verbally, as we asked each girl to choose a gift after answering discussion questions.
5. Bathe the weeks in prayer.
Finally, and most importantly, bathe the weeks and months leading up to your study in prayer. Ask your church staff and the other women in your church to pray for you, that you will make much of Christ as you proclaim the truth of His Word to younger women.
In the End . . .
The fact that I said “yes” to teaching a group of teen girls was the first surprise of this journey, but it wasn’t the last. Though the class was only supposed to last six weeks, due to a variety of circumstances, I got the blessing of spending nine weeks with these sweet girls who are the future of the Body of Christ. Future teachers, future leaders, future mothers, future wives. We had the opportunity to pray for their needs and to pray for their masculine cohorts, who were learning the basics of biblical manhood in another classroom. It was a sweet, rich time. The girls, I hear, were sad when it ended. And (surprise!) so was I.
By Laura Elliott
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