I’ve had the amazing privilege of working closely with three different Teaching Pastors. (Bruxy Cavey at The Meeting House, Carey Nieuwhof at Connexus Community Church and currently I’m working with Tim Lucas at Liquid Church.) Navigating the teaching calendar … coming up series branding ideas … trying to figure out what to do at Christmas … it’s been an honor to have this front row seat to the creation of content that changes people lives.
Working with Teaching Pastors is a dance. The culture around us is the music that we respond to as we proclaim the message of Jesus. The church we’re in is the room we’re dancing in … we’re always scanning the floor to see where we need to move next. The message they proclaim is the way they move across the floor. Here are a few things I’ve learned through working with these incredible communicators over the years …
- Teaching Leads // Dynamic and growing churches are lead by great teaching. It’s the equivalent to cappacino to Starbucks … it’s central to what makes church work. Our job is to support this critical function and make sure the teaching pastor feels that support.
- It’s Personal // Like any art form teaching is a highly personal process. Our role is to attempt to understand how they plan and prep messages and respond to that.
- Lead with Yes // Often when supporting a Teaching Pastor they are looking for some help with props or media elements or musical support. Even in those moments when I’m not sure how we’re going to deliver I believe my role is to say “yes” and walk away and figure it out.
- Be a Time Advocate // There is time pressure on Teaching Pastors to weigh in on a wide variety of issues within the church. A part of our role is to help the church (and Teaching Pastor) understand that the best thing they can do is to nail the message this coming weekend.
- Curveballs Welcomed! // Some of the best teaching ideas or series came at the last minute and we had to shelf our original plans. I’ve seen God show up in those moments.
- It’s Lonely // Teaching Pastors don’t have peers in what they do. Often large parts of their process is isolating. My role is to be a friendly companion along this lonely path.
- David Always Beats Goliath // The core text never changes but Teaching Pastors have the job of coming up with new approaches and applications to what it says. A part of our role is feeding new ideas to these leaders about issues in the world that their teaching could speak to.
- Designers Don’t Get it // The graphics people want more time to produce series graphics and the Teaching Pastors want maximum flexibility in finalizing what they are doing. My role is to navigate the tension between these two needs … to gently move the Teaching Pastors towards preparing farther in advance and calming the nerves of graphics folks
- Repeat Core Messages Repeatedly // Teaching Pastors often have a core message that they are passionate about and incredibly good at talking about. Finding ways to circle back to this content consistently is a win for everyone involved.
Do you support a Teaching Pastor? I’d love to hear what you’ve learned!