Christina, today’s guest blogger, is the Editorial Project Leader in the Leadership and Adult Publishing department at LifeWay Christian Resources in Nashville, Tennessee.
As a Christian education ministry leader and trainer I often hear the heart’s cry of church leaders, including women’s ministry leaders for spiritual transformation. They want to see evidence of transformation in the lives of women that is often missing. Instead they see them as they continue to echo the ways of the world, to seek human solutions instead of prayer-focused solutions, and choose worldly standards instead of godly disciplines. On one occasion, a church leader looked me intently in the eye and asked, “What can I do to facilitate change in the lives of my people.” My standard response has been to suggest strategic principles or guidelines that focus on teaching, learning, application and such. But lately I have discovered another variable that is sometimes ignored in ministry—the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
It’s not to suggest that the Holy Spirit is not at work in your ministry or the lives of those being taught and receiving ministry. Jesus promised to send Him so we can trust that the Holy Spirit is at work in our midst (John 14:26). However, as ministry leaders, especially those who lead Bible study it is essential that we be intentional about seeking the anointing of the Holy Spirit. This is a defining mark in our teaching, not an optional enrichment activity.
I recently read an article by James Wilhoit and Linda Rozema* that emphasized seeking the anointing in teaching. They defined anointed teaching as “The Holy Spirit coming upon the teacher in a special manner. It is God giving insight, power, and enabling through the Spirit to the teacher in order that he or she may do this work in a manner that lifts it up beyond simple human efforts and endeavors.”
Further they pointed out the evidence of this type of anointing as found in Scripture. God sovereignly chose to come upon individuals and enable them to do an assigned task through the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit. For example take a look at Joshua (Deut. 34:9), Gideon (Judges 6:34), Ezekiel (Ez. 3:14), and Daniel (Dan. 5:14). These men proclaimed God’s Word or led God’s people, accomplishing great feats by the power of the Spirit.
I was challenged in my own heart to step back and do a self-checkup on whether I had received and utilized this anointing in my own teaching. I want this kind of power because I want lives to be impacted. So I began with a hard question, “Do I seek the anointing before and during my teaching or do I rely the strategies and content that I teach.”
Other questions to consider:
1. Do I honor the Holy Spirit’s presence as the principle Teacher in my teaching?
2. Have I created a loving environment so that the Holy Spirit can work?
3. Do I use appropriate learning methods? I have personally discovered and it has been confirmed through studies that a higher level of learning which results in change takes place when adults are allowed to discover truths for themselves. “Telling” or lecturing is not always effective teaching in a Bible study setting.
4. Do I teach about the Spirit where appropriate, especially His work within as the primary shaper of lives? We have nothing to do with the spiritual change that takes place in our own hearts and the hearts of others.
5. Do I teach principles above facts? It’s okay to know that Jesus preached a mountaintop sermon to His disciples and a large crowd. Even more so we need to know that Jesus identified foundational principles—humility, righteousness, mercy, peacemaking and so forth—that we should live by.
6. Do I create a collaboration of mind and spirit? Romans 12:2 testifies to the significance of this. Transformation occurs as the mind is renewed. It is a collaborative effort between the mind and spirit.
7. Do I go beyond detached knowledge to personal encounters? The identification of the “so what” and “now what” of your lesson moves the content away from knowledge to personal application.
8. Am I expecting the lesson taught to be the turning point in someone’s life?
Anointed teaching is an empowering of the Holy Spirit for you to do something that cannot be done by mere human efforts. I should point out what you already know: There are no formulas that can guarantee the Spirit’s coming or effectiveness. The Spirit works only by the sovereignty of God. Yet there are practices, as stated above, that foster anointed teaching. As ministry leaders who teach, we are responsible to first know our need for the anointing, pray and seek after it, develop an environment for it and expect life change in those we teach because of it. Our teaching, especially if its based on God’s Word, should be filled with power.
* Wilhoit, James C. and Linda Rozema. 2005. “Anointed Teaching.” Christian Education Journal. Chicago, Il: American Theological Library Association. (Series 3, Vol.2, No.2)
In addition to her work at LifeWay, Christina serves as a LifeWay Ministry Multiplier. She is a member of Simeon Baptist Church in Antioch where she teaches Sunday school and provides training for staff and ministry leaders. She is also pursuing a doctorate in Christian Education and Leadership at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. She has a passion for discipleship that leads to spiritual transformation, and helping others experience God in their hearts and lives.
Here are some links to articles that may be helpful:
Here are other helpful resources: