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Teaching, Preaching and Information Dumping

Sep. 21, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Mounds-of-Sales-and-Marketing-Material

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.

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Introducing False Teaching - On Accident

Aug. 21, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

The New Athiests have made a lot of noise in the United States.  Their books are bestsellers, as are the replies (see Keller's Reason for God).  These teachers who offer no hope for the world and no foundation to build a worldview are popular - in the US.  

The-Four-Horsemen

A friend of mine overseas was sharing that a well-meaning American pastor had come and was teaching apologetics when he started referencing Sam Harris and Christopher Hitches.  He explained their arguments and then proceeded to teach how a Christian should respond. The content was excellent.

Only one problem - no one knew who these guys were or even considered Atheism to be a worldview. Now, according to my friend, the churches have a new problem - Athiesm.  Why?  Because the pastor from the US introduced a totally foreign worldview and had the exact opposite impact he wanted to have.

Know your context.

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What Does it Mean to Have a Pastor’s Heart? (Part 1)

Mar. 2, 2015By: Evan Burns

Jesus-Good-Shepherd-guides-me-2In recent months, I have meditated deeply on what it means to have a pastor’s heart.  Ultimately, TLI seeks to train biblical leaders, and a synonymous description of leaders in the Bible is “pastor”.  Of course prophets, priests, kings, sages, and apostles are all leaders in the Bible, but the role of pastor in the New Testament commonly identifies the ordained biblical leader within a local church.  In this post and subsequent posts, I am seeking to answer the question: “what does it mean to have a pastor’s heart?” 

Unpacking the biblical meaning of a pastor is the best way to initially answer this question.  A pastor is simply a synonymous word in the English Bible for shepherd, and is often identified with the office of elder/overseer/bishop, though not all believers with a pastoral-type gift are to lead in the office of an elder.  But all elders are pastors (Acts 20:17-35), and all pastors are shepherds, and all shepherds are teachers (Eph 4:11).  

Two primary passions of the biblical shepherd’s heart must be to lovingly feed the sheep and lovingly protect the sheep, and all other expressions of a shepherd’s heart are derivative of those two all-consuming desires of love.  Moreover, feeding and protecting the sheep are chiefly done through the ministry of teaching.  Nevertheless, a teaching ministry is not to be relegated only to pulpit time on Sunday’s, any more than it would suffice to only feed sheep once a week.  A pastoral teaching ministry is one of loving, intentional disciple-making in speech, conduct, conversation, confession, illustration, informal opportunities, formal occasions, and essentially in patiently leading sheep to green pastures in which God’s flock might find solace and fodder for their souls, away from wolves and barren lands. 

Ministry is not to be relegated only to pulpit time, any more than it would suffice to only feed sheep once a week. -Tweet this

True shepherds do not desire to lead the sheep as entertainers, life-coaches, CEOs, comedians, politicians, programmers, motivational speakers, cultural architects, artisans, bosses, butlers, therapists, professionals, professors, psychologists, or actors.  The heart of a biblical shepherd should be to lovingly lead the object of his love (Christ’s flock) to feed on the source of all love (Christ Himself), away from wolves (false teachers) and stale water and dead ground (love of money, pride of life, lusts of the flesh).  

 

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How False Teaching Hurts People

Feb. 19, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

I walked into the hospital knowing the person I was about to visit was going to die that day.  Her Book-Main-New1c3bd9b825family had gathered and had asked me to come one last time.  She was almost 80 and the cancer had finally destroyed her body.  I only knew her when she had cancer, but she was always such a strong woman, rarely showing any signs of the chemotherapy that was killing her and holding off the cancer.

But there I was, her pastor, to pray and once again entrust her to Christ.

When I walked in her body was shutting down.  It would only be a matter of hours.  When I saw her she smiled and asked, "Pastor, can you bring the anointing oil and pray for my healing."  At the end of her life, she was questioning God's love for her.  How could God allow this to happen? She had enough faith.  God should heal her.

And so at the end of this dear sister’s life, she was questioning and even doubting God's love her.  She had been sold and fully bought a kind of teaching that obscures the cross of Christ.  He had purchased this moment for her on a cross and had set His love on her for all eternity.  Her theology just would not let her see her Savior. 

I am sure that after she closed her eyes for the last time she opened them again to experience the love of God in ways we do not. It was just a terrible way to live and die. 

I'm sure that after she closed her eyes, she opened them to experience the love of God in ways we do not  - Tweet this 

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An Interview with a TLI Teacher

Sep. 11, 2012By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio
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