Teaching faith to others can feel overwhelming—after all, how can you help guide someone in their faith when you are continually discovering about your own? With these five tips, you’ll be well on your way to helping others uncover their own faith journeys.
You don’t have to know everything. Or even close to everything.
You don’t have to have a degree in Biblical studies! You can help teach the faith to others without being an expert at all. Didn’t win a perfect attendance Sunday School award as a kid yourself? That’s alright too! You can even be new to the faith. In fact, that might help you as you focus on teaching faith to others.
One of the great things about resources that come out of Augsburg Fortress and Sparkhouse is that they are designed to be user-friendly for the leaders. They don’t presume a degree in education or that you’re a seminary graduate, so they are full of teaching helps including tips for various age-groups, suggestions for quick-adaptations, low-to-no prep leader guides, background prep information, and fast-glance talking points. They give you permission to say things like, “I’m not sure how to answer that question. What do you think?”
You’ll learn stuff too!
I spent four years learning in seminary, but thank goodness it didn’t stop there! With twenty years in churches and fifteen years writing Bible studies, Sunday School, confirmation, and other congregational resources, I am still learning. Teaching faith to others will give you the same gift—continued learning and having those “Oh yeah!” moments when you figure something new out or realize how faith relates to something in your life. Let’s hope none of us ever stop learning.
Not everyone will remember everything you say, but they will remember what you did.
If you are waking up nights worried that you will mispronounce Nebuchadnezzar or Ahimelech, go ahead and hit the hay. Your potential knowledge of Hebrew notwithstanding, what is most important is that you show up. You are giving of yourself and taking a loving risk by accepting a call to serve in this way. You don’t have to get everything just right; your job is first and foremost to create a safe place where youth or adults can explore faith, discuss the big questions in their hearts, and know that they are welcomed and cared about. Anything else they learn is a bonus.
Not feeling holy enough? Join the club.
Did someone recently tag you in embarrassing photos from your wilder days? Not sure you can make it through the week without accidentally dropping a cuss-word? If you are worried that your holiness factor is a little low, rest assured, if God is grading on the curve, you are just fine.
Remember Moses? He was a murderer. King David, the great leader of the Israelites? Adultery was one of his weaknesses. Paul, who penned a significant amount of the New Testament? He spent a good amount of his early career throwing rocks at Christians and throwing Christians at prisons. The Disciples? Get behind me Satan!
Even your pastor is a regular person who gets speeding tickets and eats too much sugar and probably doesn’t walk around feeling too holy. God has never waited for us to get it all right before calling people into service, so you’re in good company.
The Christian faith has been passed on to another generation for 2,000 years by people just like you.
Isn’t it amazing? Starting with a few scraggly, shell-shocked disciples, faith in Christ has been taught and told to others for two thousand years. And now it has reached you and will continue for another two thousand years only if people like you tell it to others. When you’re passing out juice boxes and fish crackers to kids have a burping contest, you are doing the work of the Body of Christ. So load up on hand sanitizer and hit the trenches: the future of faith depends on you.