Teaching as ministry

Classroom teachers have the opportunity/responsibility to minister every day to the the children and young people in their classrooms by what they teach, how they teach, and who they are as representatives of Jesus.

David Smith mug

By David I. Smith, first published in Faith & Leadership, March 5, 2019,

Today, teaching is basically viewed as a matter of technique, says David I. Smith.

“It’s like getting your car fixed at the garage,” he said. “You don’t care if your mechanic is a Buddhist as long as it runs again afterward.”

That view of teaching, however, is fundamentally mistaken, said Smith, a scholar who works at the intersection of faith and learning.

“Always, whatever you’re teaching includes some kind of formation,” he said.

Teacher with studentsThere is power in the naming of things. I imagine that when God gave Adam the task of naming the animals, Adam didn’t just think up sounds for what to call them. He connected with the genius of what God made each creature to be, and out of Adam’s discernment of “Christ in all things,” each name came forth from his lips. A true name reveals the essence of a thing. It’s a truth more than a label, claiming its perfect place in the Logos.

I love it when authors name things for me, things that I have known deep in my bones…but not in my mind. Like a blind man, I’ve felt its contours, its texture, it’s temperature, but never quite brought it into full light. The author names a feeling, a connection, an insight, a revelation, and that’s it! A blinding flash of the obvious!

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If the Bible is irrelevant to the most important things taught in school, then it will certainly be irrelevant to the most important things outside of school, too. This is the devilish outcome of dualism. In the end, we all lose.

Is it any wonder the biblical foundations for law, civil government, economics and family that once provided accepted harbor lights for our society have been replaced? The incessant move toward the secularization of education and the privatization of Christianity has been enormously successful, being expedited greatly through elementary and secondary schools.

Is it any wonder our youth are disinterested in church today, since Christianity is deemed irrelevant to the majority of their waking hours?