I was recently given the opportunity with a friend to facilitate a retreat for the 8th grade in the process of coming into the church. We were given a retreat booklet and told to use as much or as little of it as we saw fit. This opportunity brought feelings of both excitement and nervousness to me. I have not taught a group of 8th graders in many years and adding the fact that there would also be adults and some older students in the room as well seemed overwhelming.
What I have always found interesting about teaching is how much I actually learn from it. My growth of knowledge on this topic started in the preparation stage and continues all the way to the teaching. I started out thinking I knew where the presentation was heading but God had a slightly different route in mind. I have found that when we decided to let God lead we began to see His will come into play. Many times it can be a completely different way than we think it should go but letting God determine the route is always best.
The topic we were teaching about was how to recognize, hear, and respond to the voice of God in our lives. This was a great topic for students on the verge of going to high school but I found that even the adults connected to the topic. This is a topic that we never perfect in our walk. This is something we must always work on. What really surprised me was some of the maturity the students had in their answers to our questions and how much I still learned.
A few of the things I took from teaching;
God has been pursuing us since the day we were born. He doesn’t need us but wants us to be with him.
The story of God bringing us back to Him can be found in every story in the Bible.
No matter how far we stray or roam, we are never too far from God.
As an ending activity/take home activity we gave the students a spiritual gift test to help them pinpoint where they are gifted and encourage them to use those gifts for the Lord. I also took this test to see where I placed and found that I have the gifts of faith, service, and teaching.
My advice for anyone planning and preparing to teach within the church is to prepare fully and pray deeply that God moves but when the time comes let God direct the flow of information. It is more important to be the vessel that God used to get His word across than to be the most eloquent speaker.