Years ago if a young person wanted to learn a trade, they often apprenticed under someone experienced in that trade. The older person taught, mentored, modeled, corrected and encouraged the apprentice. Apprentices who showed special talent often were sent to locations far away to apprentice under the very best in the trade.
Young people often show an interest in helping teach the Bible to younger children. Often we use these young people as an extra pair of hands or glorified babysitters. Rarely does anyone actually mentor them – preparing them to be effective Bible class teachers before they even go to college.
Our churches need to find young people who God has given the gift of teaching. Often this is one of the easiest gifts for young people to recognize in themselves. Many have had their public school teachers use them to tutor fellow students from a very young age.
These young people are often passionate about using this gift to serve God. Yet many times, they are told to stay with their youth group in their classes or activities. If they are allowed to help, it’s the rare Bible class teacher who will take the extra time and effort to mentor their young helper.
Discouraged, many go on to teach full time in secular schools and lose any interest in teaching Bible classes. Or they think they have misunderstood their gifts from God and go on to try ministries and careers for which they weren’t gifted.
The next time you see a young person whom you believe God has given the gift of teaching, do what you can to make him or her your apprentice. Spend time explaining why you do what you do in class. Give them opportunities to gradually take on teaching more of the lesson. Encourage them to continue learning and growing as a Bible teacher.
Taking on an apprentice in your Bible class is helping prepare the next generation of Bible class teachers. You are encouraging them to use their passion for teaching to spread God’s message to even younger students. It’s another legacy of your Bible class ministry.