“What you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2 ESV).
This past week, I had the privilege of leading six men through a Doctor of Ministry class at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC: “The Theology and Development of Leadership.” They were from Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. The time zones from my location in Rockford, IL, were either two hours back, one hour ahead, thirteen hours ahead, or fourteen hours ahead. While some were just seeing the sun, some had already seen it go down. Their roles as leaders include the following: a “retired” missionary from Paraguay, now serving in the States; an assistant pastor who also presides over a Bible college; an assistant pastor who oversees a counseling center in two locations; a senior pastor who also has a counseling center in his church; an assistant pastor who might become his church’s senior pastor within the next few years; and a pastor who recently relocated from one country to another.
I stayed up late each night, compiling as much as I could for these men. The best resource was simply the Scripture itself. We looked at the Testaments Old and New and especially focused on New Testament passages that taught about leaders and their development. We met together for thirty hours over the course of five days—four hours on Monday, eight on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and two on Friday. Due to COVID-19, instead of meeting in Greenville, we connected via Zoom, a video program that allowed everyone to see and hear each other at the same time. We could even share our computer screens as desired, which was helpful when the men gave presentations about leaders from church history and when I simply taught through my own notes for the majority of the time.
The presentations and class discussions taught me much as well. I may have been the instructor, but these men had been called by God to teach in their churches and therefore had something to offer themselves. I was especially glad to listen to the “students” crowned with gray.
The greatest thing that prepared me to teach this class was simply becoming and being a pastor. Parents, brothers, pastors, and others invested their lives in me, especially the senior pastor at my previous church. Preaching the Word, pastoring, and being sharpened by others—these things and more go into what makes a pastor a pastor and a Christian leader a leader.
From the missionary now in the States: “This class has transformed my thinking, increased my understanding, and burned in my heart the desire to study God’s Word more.” Teachers should teach teachers. Iron sharpens iron-sharpening iron. All of us have something to teach and learn from one another. All glory be to God.
May the Lord be gracious to raise up leaders in all of our churches, and may we be mindful to teach these men so that they can teach others as well.