Vol.XX No.VI Pg.3
August 1983

Bible Teacher Dropouts

Dan S. Shipley

If Bible teaching is essential in the local church (and who could question its importance?), then so are Bible teachers. In fact, few things contribute more to the growth and strength of the Lord's church than qualified and dedicated teachers. 'lost parents want the very best instruction available for their children, and they deserve it. So do the parents and other students. Yet, at a time in which mature and competent teachers are so desperately needed, many of them are giving up their Bible classes in favor of "retiring" to a student's seat. Why?

It may be that they need a rest. Conscientious teachers do work hard in the preparation and presentation of their lessons. They do need a well-deserved break once in a while — but not a permanent one! Not one that will cost the church one of its most effective teachers. God has the very best "retirement" program for his people, but its benefits are in the next life; for those who "endure to the end" (Matt. 24:13). "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not" (Gal. 6:9). Teaching God's word is "well-doing" that ought to be without weariness (i.e., losing heart). "Fainting" teachers need to remember that. The business of teaching gospel truth is complemented by men and women with a spirit of determination; the kind of people who act from principle, not from selfish motives. A season of rest and refreshment is always appropriate; burying talents never is. For the apostle Paul, the course was not finished until his time of departure was "at hand" (2 Tim. 4:6,7). Unless forced to do otherwise, qualified teachers need to get back out on the course instead of looking for a rocking chair!

Another reason for teacher dropouts may be discouragement. It is, no doubt, one of the worst enemies to the cause of Truth. Disinterested and misbehaving students, unconcerned parents, or even uncooperative elders and brethren are enough to discourage even the strongest at times. However, we must remember that discouragement is temporary, it will soon pass. With faith we can overcome (1 Jn. 5:4). No temporary problem is greater than the Lord's work. Succumbing to a case of "Elijah blues" only compounds our problems and hurts others (1 Kg. 18,19) while leaving God's work undone. Nothing encourages discouragement more than remembering and mentally rehearsing our misfortunes. The remedy is in setting our minds on the things that are above (Col. 3:2) and pressing on.

Finally, teacher dropouts may be the result of not feeling needed. Even when the church is fortunate enough to have too many qualified teachers to use in Bible classes (and few are!), there is always teaching to be done at home and elsewhere. Paul says that older women are to teach the younger (Titus 2:4) — and, it does not have to be done in the church building! Teachers could put their talents to work in neighborhood Bible classes with other women or children. Start your own classes! The world needs God's truth. There is no excuse for unemployed Bible teachers! — Dont be a dropout!Box 1110 Lindale, TX 75771