Every one of us has experienced fascinating teachers as well as terrible teachers. I have been in groups where man's ideas were shared and groups where revelation knowledge was shared. I choose to be a fascinating teacher with a fascinating classtime, so I need precise definitions of what these are so I can press into them.
- Spirit-anointed teacher: The teacher must have a living relationship with the subject at hand (i.e. a love, passion and mastery of the area), and invite his students into that relationship, as full partners, to experience their own living relationship with the subject.
- Spirit-anointed teaching: "To teach is to create a space where revelation knowledge is experienced and practiced."
- Creating space: Truth is discovered when people can openly, honestly explore. Create honest exploration by allowing for honest disagreements (no nasty fighting), freedom to explore contrasting ideas and different authors, freedom to express one's feelings openly, freedom to ask questions without being afraid that they are "dumb," physical openness by placing chairs in a circle or semi-circle and freedom for silence as people pray, journal and reflect.
- Creating boundaries: To keep the learning process on course, there must be some boundaries. Boundaries can include hanging together as we work through disagreements; honoring others' positions rather than judging and becoming adversarial; not monopolizing the group; no authoritarianism; sticking to the topic at hand; answering the question posed, not some other question and encouraging each one in the group to express himself.
- Creating hospitality: Growth occurs best in a loving community. Create a loving community through praise and worship, hug breaks, name tags, interpersonal sharing, deep sharing modeled by the instructor and fun group activities.
How to Lead Spirit-Anointed Discussion Groups
- Have the general goal of training always before your eyes as you lead discussions. This goal is "Love from a pure heart, and from a good conscience, and from sincere faith" (1 Tim. 1:5). All discussion facilitates this goal.
- Have a clear word and picture from God of what the specialized goal of the session is. All discussion is to facilitate this goal.
- Have chairs in a semi-circle, as this communicates the message "we all share."
- Begin with worship, a prayer inviting the Holy Spirit to be present as the Teacher and a hug break.
- Give enough introductory overview so everyone's hearts are captured and focused on the topic and situation to be covered. A story, drama or role play are excellent ways to begin. You must connect the life of the students with the life of the topic and the life of the Holy Spirit before the discussion begins.
- Ask appropriate questions. Ride the wave of the Spirit by sensing with your heart where God is and where the hearts of the class are as a whole. Bring these constantly together through the questions and dialogue. The classroom interaction will let you know where your students are with the material.
- The guiding question you ask yourself is, "Is this discussion ministering life to the group at large?" If not, redirect it. You may need to say to some, "That is a good question, but let's save it and talk about it during the break time." Or "I think we have gone far enough in this direction for now. Let's talk about...."
- If it becomes obvious that you or the group does not have any revelation from God concerning the question, then move on to another question. Encourage the group to pray and search Scripture, and come back next week to discuss it more. Don't continue a discussion when it is obvious there is no light from the Holy Spirit concerning the issue.
- Honor other people's positions and insist they do the same with everyone in the class. Never allow one to close off his spirit to another. Address the situation quickly.
- Know where God wants to take you and the class, and skillfully guide the class there, not making them mimics and puppets of your correct answers to your questions but calling them into a creative role together in releasing the revelation of the Holy Spirit.
- Keep things moving by asking a constant flow of the questions that bubble up within you. Seek and honor and ride the flow from within your own heart. You have asked for this flow at the beginning of class; now hear, receive and honor it. It will keep the class bubbling and fun and challenging and life-giving.
- Depend continuously upon the Holy Spirit. Thank Him at the close of class for His life flow.
Derek Prince's Comments on Education:
Derek Prince, a well-known Pentecostal theologian whose radio broadcasts covered half the world's population, wrote his doctoral thesis on logic and was able to teach Greek and Hebrew on the graduate level in England, put it this way:
To put human ability in the place of divine grace is to exalt the carnal above the spiritual. The effect will be manifested in many different areas. For example:
- Theology will be exalted above revelation.
- Intellectual education above character building.
- Psychology above discernment.
- Program above the leading of the Holy Spirit.
- Eloquence above supernatural power.
- Reasoning above the walk of faith.
- Laws above love.
All of these errors are different manifestations of one great basic error: putting man in a place God has reserved solely for the Lord Jesus Christ. (Pages 90,91 of Blessings or Curse by Derek Prince)
Mark Virkler, Ph.D., has authored more than 50 books in the areas of hearing God's voice and spiritual growth. He is the founder of Communion With God Ministries and Christian Leadership University (cluonline.com), where the voice of God is at the center of every learning experience. Mark has taught on developing intimacy with God and spiritual healing for 30-plus years on six continents. The message has been translated into over 40 languages, and he has helped to establish more than 250 church-centered Bible schools around the world.
This article originally appeared at cwgministries.org.
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