Teaching as Missions: Strategy over Authenticity?
The excellent call of teachers
These glimpses from our own lives of excellent teachers resound deeply within us as a witness to the great importance of gifted and called educators. God has uniquely wired a specific portion of the world to teach and equip the next generation of humanity. These individuals take on the task of training the world’s youth for mankind’s duty to cultivate the earth and promote human flourishing. Civilization is dependent upon these teachers ability to prepare the next generation to thrive in their responsibility for this cultural mandate.
Genesis 1.28 ESV “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
People called to be teachers can engage in this hugely significant vocation with authenticity in their unique design.
When is a teacher not a teacher?
A common trend in missions is for people to move overseas and become English teachers. God has opened doors to very difficult and unreached countries because of the world’s desire to speak English. Unfortunately, we see people who are burdened to serve the lost who see teaching as their only outlet to get plugged into a country. It’s so strategic how can we pass it up right??? These people sometimes decide that even though they don’t enjoy teaching they need be a teacher in order to work in strategic locations for the sake of the gospel. In this scenario a person may technically oversee a classroom but we would argue they are not truly a teacher.
It’s about your design: You are free from having to force yourself into the teaching mold in order to work in difficult places overseas. Instead you should seek to uncover your true God-given skills and passions and pursue them wholeheartedly in the context where you feel called.
Significant influence: Educators have the opportunity to shape a rising generation of potential Christ followers in unreached places around the globe. The voice of influence a teacher commands in the classroom effects society in a major way. Redemption in this sphere of society will result in major kingdom impact.
Teaching for a season: God may call you to use teaching as a stepping stone in pursuit of your more specific calling. We should be quick to embrace this journey while keeping our eyes actively set on our vocational goals.
How to Respond
I know I’m called to be a teacher: Consider strategically using your gift in education to impact unreached people groups. You may need a short season of further equipping to be effective in a new context. Forefront Experience offers the ability to refine your calling to education and get trained in ministry skills through the lens of being a teacher. For some people this is a great value add while others may feel led to start teaching right away on their own.
I’m not sure if teaching is for me: Understanding your calling can be a confusing journey. Trying out teaching for season or shadowing someone is a great way to get exposure in this area. Experience coupled with prayer and Bible study will lead to clarity in understanding if teaching is a fit you. Forefront Experience allows participants to come overseas with a general interest in teaching yet provides flexibility to pursue different vocations as God directs through the intensive first semester of uncovering your God-given specific purpose.