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Missions 101

Teaching, Preaching and Information Dumping

Sep. 21, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio


Jesus once said, "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up inhis heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."  The heart is a wellspring of life.  What infects the heart, influences the rest of the person.

There is a way of teaching that is actually teaching and there is a way of teaching that is nothing more than information dumping.  Similarly, there is a way I should talk to my wife that actually engages her and there is way where I only state facts and stay disconnected.  I've done both in case you are wondering.  In the first option I have a dynamic understanding of what is being discussed, while in the second I am reading I teleprompter or transcript and will forget it when I am done reading.

I am afraid that many teachers and preachers are not teaching or preaching at all.  They are just dumping information on people.  I have seen it happen in the business world when someone gives a presentation that someone else was meant to do.  I have seen it in parenting when after you read the latest parenting technique you follow the script without a broader understanding.  And I have certainly seen it in the church!  If you find yourself in the role of teacher for the Church, here are some caution flags.  

  1. You are not teaching if you are second-handing your teaching material.  If you regurgitate sermons, commentaries and lecture notes and don’t teach from your own material. it's not teaching.
  2. You are not teaching if you are content to teach the same things from the same notes over and over again.  Of course you often teach the same things, but if you never adjust, make changes or add new insights you are not teaching.
  3. If you are preacher and your sermon prep started and ended on saturday you are probably not preaching.  You are not allowing anytime for the text to marinate in you heart.  You read a few commentaries, take what they say, get an illustration from a book or internet article and the sermon is completed.  You haven’t preached it to yourself or applied it all week.  You are just passing information from a book to a person.  You may get angry people don’t remember what you preached on, but in all honestly, you won’t either.
  4. You are not teaching if as a professor at a school, you teach from the same lecture notes you did 10 years ago.  There is no update, no interaction with new (helpful or not) scholarship.  You don’t think about how your students have changed or how they are receiving what you are teaching.  You are just dumping information.
  5. You are not teaching if you don’t adjust your teaching style according to culture.  We see this in TLI A LOT, and is something I have had to learn (the hard way if I am honest).  Again, you don’t have a dynamic relationship with those you teach.  

What causes information dumping?  Laziness.  As a pastor or teacher or both, you have been tasked to study and feed the people of God.  You have not been tasked to feast for a few years in school and then fast for the rest of your ministry.  Feed yourself.  Feed the sheep. Jesus said that somewhere too.

Darren Carlson is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International.  As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter

Tags:  teaching, short-term missions, preaching
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