You are working from home due to the quarantine. It just seems harder to get anything done. Preparation time for your Bible study has been hard to find, and you are frustrated at the lack of excitement and participation when you get your class together on Zoom.
When you don’t feel like teaching, what do you do? Muscle through? Call in sick? Put on a smile and fake it until you can get through it? I suppose you can try any of these approaches.
To be honest, there have been a lot of times when I just didn’t feel like teaching. I knew I should be thrilled to get to open God’s Word with my class, but I was tired, frustrated, or unprepared. Over the years, I have noticed that a few things seem to help me at times like these.
- Pray. I know, that sounds like too easy an answer. But, trusting the Spirit to work in and through you is powerful. Pray for God to give you joy. Pray for him to take control. Ask him to do something unexpected. God really does answer prayer.
- Take a breath. Revelation 14 talks about 144,000 faithful followers of Christ. Verse 4 says that they “follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” You don’t teach your Bible study group because it makes you popular. You teach because that is a way to follow the Lamb. Keep your focus on following him, and relax with everything else.
- Don’t apologize. I was a youth minister and the pastor was out of town. He had enlisted a guest preacher, but the guy had car trouble and called to let us know he was not going to make it. One of the Deacons found me and said, “I think that means you are preaching in about 20 minutes.” I had no expectation my message was going to be good. At the end of the message, three different people told me that God had spoken to them in very specific ways during the message. God can work through you even when you don’t feel like teaching. You don’t need to apologize.
- Focus on the class members. When I don’t feel well prepared, I have a tendency to worry over what I am doing and forget the people I am teaching. That makes the lesson feel flat and lifeless. Your Bible study needs to be characterized by warmth and concern, genuine interest in the lives of your class members. Even if you feel disconnected, work at looking at them, listening to them, and caring for them.
Of course, being well-rested, prepared, and excited is a good way to approach teaching. But don’t expect that to be your reality every week. When you hit a tough week, do more than muscle through. The Holy Spirit is with you. There is no telling what he can do.