Do yourself a favor and make a list of great movies about teachers...I'll wait.
Are you finished? Ok. I wonder how many you could list.
Dead Poet's Society
To Sir With Love
The Karate Kid (I might be stretching it)
Sister Act 2...well, maybe "great" is loose term
I've always watched these movies and been inspired; however, when was the last time that you sat in a classroom where the teacher or professor even knew the meaning of the word "inspiration"? I've had one of two teachers in my life time that had a spark of what it means to be a truly great teacher, but by and large our Sunday School teachers and small group leaders only know how to get through the material. What if you were sitting in a classroom on a Sunday morning drinking your coffee and munching your doughnut when the teacher walked through the room whistling and out the door, then leaned back in and said, "Well, come on." Class field trip! In my 35 years of going to church, that has never happened.
Perhaps that is the reason I was near tears the other day, mourning the loss of a master teacher that I never had the chance to meet. Dr. Howard Hendricks is one of the finest communicators I've ever heard. Years ago, when I was in high school, I watched a seven part video series on teaching called "The Seven Laws of the Teacher"--a teacher's training based on this book and taught by Dr. Hendricks himself. As I read this book, I could hear his voice coming through loud and clear. That's a good thing.
If I had the money, I would by this book by the case and give a copy to every Sunday school teacher, small group leader, and pastor with which I came into contact. Heck, I would give it to people who were even interested in teaching or communicating with people.
We believe that the Church is the most revolutionary force on the planet, but our teaching is anything but revolutionary. The message we are sending with our trite questions and pat answers and lack-luster delivery is that the Gospel is boring. God is mundane. The Holy Spirit tame and nearly ineffectual to change our lives--let alone the world. THIS IS A SIN. As Hendricks says, "If all those involved in Christian teaching had to become salesmen and saleswomen to make a living, most of them would starve to death. We're teaching the most exciting truth in all the world--eternal truth--and doing it as if it were cold mashed potatoes" (73).
This isn't a big or difficult book. It's even easy to read. However, it is important. Hendricks gives seven principles (LAWS) of teaching that, if understood and used, have the power to change the way you teach forever.
1.The Law of the Teacher
2. The Law of Education
3. The Law of Activity
4. The Law of Communication
5. The Law of the Heart
6. The Law of Encouragement
7. The Law of Readiness
Sadly, Dr. Hendricks died in Febuary of this year (2013). I always wanted to meet him. But I do know that he has still impacted my life through his writing and speaking. One day I hope people can say the same of me. Life is too short to waste people's time in bland classes when we could be helping to transform their minds. I challenge you to read this book and put it into practice. One of my greatest hopes in life is to see the untapped potential in our churches become a revolutionary force of whole-hearted disciples that have been changed from the inside out. That is why I keep watching movies about teachers who make a difference. It is also why I love this book.