Teaching is an Art

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been pondering something I’ve heard from time to time around the church… “Teaching is an art.” What exactly does that mean? How is art defined?

Well, I looked it up and here is what I found. Art is “the quality, production, expression, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.” What do you think? Is teaching in the church beautiful, appealing or of more than ordinary significance?

I must say – sometimes it certainly is. This past weekend at Willow, I was blessed to listen to visiting pastor Francis Chan of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, California. His heart is golden, he is a true artist, and his teaching was a creative masterpiece.

Francis told stories of his childhood that moved me to tears and still linger with me days later. He showed us pictures of the earth and the stars. With every image, the earth became smaller. Then our sun became smaller…shrinking further and deeper into space. Our perspective pulling back further and further, seeing the solar system and the galaxy with no way to even detect the earth or sun. With that, Francis reminded me of how big our God is. He used words to paint a picture of God in my mind. He read from Revelation 4…

“And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surround the throne were twenty-four other thrones and seated on them were 24 elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashed of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder….before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center of the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four…had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night the never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is, and is to come”. Whenever the living creatures give praise, the 24 elders fall down before him…they lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

Francis asked... how do you approach the throne of God?

It’s Friday, but Fancis’ remarkable teaching is still resonating so deeply in me. I am humbled, I am convicted. How amazing that the God of the universe would pay attention to me. That He would be patient enough to listen when I mumble on about my concerns that are so completely insignificant in the scheme of things. Too often I think I am bigger than I should and do not think of God as big, as infinitely big, as He really is. Not today. Because Francis Chan crafted a message that was “beautiful, appealing, and of more than ordinary significance”. Because I experienced the art of teaching!

I’m so grateful for teachers and artists who bring their gifts to the church to inspire, motivate and sharpen. This was my experience, but I’d love to hear yours. In your church, what has inspired or challenged you recently?

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