By Dave Schroeder
I am not a teacher. I am not a PhD. I do not have an MDiv. Yet, I have yearned to achieve each of those things but have not felt called by God to seriously pursue them. In my head, it is a constant debate of man’s glory and God’s glory. Despite life not guiding me in those ways, my desire to influence and teach has never gone away regardless of what label is on it. I am a child of God and with that I am reminded that God values me more than any title that earth could grant.
Even though I don’t serve as a teacher in an official way in a school, I have always felt called to teach in some way whether it be with my daughters, the team I manage at work at LifeWay, or with other younger men I am mentoring. Teaching is a gift that needs to be nurtured through study, practice, and healthy feedback from others.
We are all called to serve. God sees you, me. and all others as pieces of a mosaic to showcase His glory. This fall I have begun teaching church history with a pastor at our church, West End Community Church, in Nashville. Why? Well, I simply raised my hand offering to help, and my pastor put me to work.
Here are fives things I am learning through teaching in my church:
- God needs all in the church to serve.
Then he (Jesus) said to his disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38 CSB
When our family moved to another church this past year, we agreed that we wouldn’t jump in too fast to get involved. But as the fall approached, we began to raise our hands. My wife is teaching fifth grade girls, and I am teaching adults on church history. We didn’t necessarily say that these were the specific things we wanted to do; we were simply willing to be put to work.
This is what our church needs today. Tomorrow it may be something different. Ultimately, every church needs its members to be available to serve. Yes, the harvest is indeed plentiful. Everyone who steps into church—from the child to the retiree—is needed as part of God’s mission on earth. If you ever wonder if you matter, step into a church and raise your hand. God already has a plan for how using you for the glory of His Kingdom.
- God uses your gifts for a reason.
Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 1 Peter 1:10 CSB
It is a blessing to use your gifts. I have worked in marketing for the majority of my career, but early on I applied to go back to graduate school to teach history. History, and perhaps teaching, have always been a passion of mine, but I discovered that I needed to use each in unique ways. After all, what good is the gift of teaching if you aren’t actually using it? Like most things, I am learning through making mistakes in class and getting better with each class.
- God gives you interests to bless others.
Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God produces each gift in each person. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 CSB
I love reading, and I see it as a blessing to learn and share what I’m learning. In my adulthood, reading has become a new friend and one that encourages, challenges, and informs. Despite not being as theologically trained as some others, I thrive on spending hours with books, especially books on the subject of history.
It feels very natural to teach church history because it combines two things I love: the church and its story. After all, as American history writer David McCullough writes, “History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are.” shares. This applies to American History as much as it does church history.
- God never leaves you alone.
He summoned the Twelve and began to send them out in pairs and gave them authority over unclean spirits. Mark 6:7 CSB
I am co-leading this class with my friend Michael, who is one of the pastors at our church. Michael has taken multiple classes on church history and has an MDiv. I’ve appreciated his humility to continue learning even though he has done this for many years. As I co-teach with him, I am helping to alleviate some of Michael’s stress because he is already overloaded with church duties.
One of his roles is identifying others who can serve. In essence, Michael is doing two good things for the Lord by having me teach alongside him: His time gets expanded, and he is finding new leaders to help teach, thus expanding the abilities of the church. Michael’s leadership reminds me of how the the early disciples were sent out two-by-two to serve and share the gospel. It is no different in the church today.
- God gives you everything you need.
And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8 CSB
You are surrounded by people. For example, I work with tremendous people. Despite not being a trained theologian, God gives me great insight from Michael and many books that have helped in forming the outline of the class. I also have Bible scholars around me and others who have written and taught extensively on particular parts of church history. I recognize that I am very blessed to have this so close, but I promise you, you, too, likely have access to pastors, teachers, and leaders in your church. Whatever you’re missing in human capital, you can find in books and other resources.
So let’s all raise our hands.
After all, God used a bunch of ragtag men and women to share the good news of Jesus. He can use me, you, and whomever He wants to impact the Kingdom.
How can you let God use you and your gifts to serve Him and serve others?
Dave Schroeder leads marketing at B&H Publishing Group and co-hosts the Reading Writers podcast. He is an avid reader of history, biography, and fiction books that draw deep life lessons. He, his wife Brooke, and two daughters live in Nashville, Tennessee.