Ever try to juggle? I’ve tried, and I could never do it. It’s not that I haven’t put in a good effort—I’ve attempted to juggle with scarves, oranges, and apples, anything that might be easy to toss, but it’s always the same result: everything ends up crashing to the floor! I’m told by an expert juggling friend that it’s a matter of focus, that I need to do the same motion every time with what I have in my hand and to pretty much ignore the items that are in the air. Yet with all the movement going on around me, I just can’t do it. I guess I’m just glad that I haven’t tried to juggle something like knives or chainsaws!
Focus is important to anything that we do. In a world of so many distractions, challenges, and ministry tasks, it’s critical that we are focused on the Word of God when we make disciples. In 1 Timothy 1:5, Paul lays out an essential truth that relates to this thought: “Now the goal of our instruction is love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” In other words, while there are always going to be new demands of ministry that will pull at you, don’t miss the end goal of love while you make disciples. Love and truth go together, and you must have a clear focus on both in your ministry. That said, here are 3 ways on how you can focus on love as you teach truth:
- Check your heart. It’s easy to work in the flesh, but effective ministry occurs when a believer fully allows the Holy Spirit to work through him or her. Paul’s idea that love is the goal of our instruction is also accompanied with the direction that it “comes from a pure heart.” Purity only comes from Christ, and we are purified when we humbly come to Him. Therefore, check your heart and ensure that you’re truly resting on Christ when you minister.
- Prioritize preparation. Unfortunately, when a busy week gets the best of us, the first thing that can go is the time spent on preparing the lesson. However, the investment that you make in preparation for the group lesson can bring new insights and lead to life-changing moments within your group. Be sure to schedule study time throughout the week so God can grow you (and others) in His Word.
- Teach with a sincere faith. Remember that the whole reason that you are leading a group in the first place is to make disciples. Every moment you have with your group is a chance to accomplish that, so use it wisely. This includes having a time together to pray, fellowship, and serving in a ministry together as a group. However, be sure that your group also spends a significant time digging into the Word of God.
Let me finish by reminding you of how amazing of a privilege it is to be able to study and teach the Word of God—after all, we get to do this! That said, let me encourage you to love fully and teach soundly in all you do. To God be the glory!
Dr. Fran Trascritti (@frantras) is a husband, father, and grandfather, but most of all, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has pastored churches for over 23 years and now serves with the Explore the Bible team at Lifeway. You can reach him by emailing Fran.Trascritti@Lifeway.com