Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

How To Be Effective in the Field of Service

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"The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His Life a ransom for many."
(Matthew 20:28)

The Holy Book of I Timothy 4:12-16
"Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Til I come, give attention to reading to exhortation, to doctrine. Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the leadership."
  • In these verses, St. Paul is instructing St. Timothy to both teach and read.

  • Teaching is a gift from the Holy Spirit and it came before miracles.

  • Service in Sunday School is greater than the Administration of the Church (e.g. Board of Deacons) because incorrect teaching can result in losing the student's salvation and may result in a heretic.

  • The ability to teach is a requirement for all levels of service including the Bishops.
The Holy Book of II Timothy 2:24
"And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient."

Requirements for Being an Effective Teacher
1) We need to know the Word of God

The Holy Book of Colossians 3:16
"Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."

The Holy Book of II Timothy 3:16
"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."
2) Wisdom
  • You can't teach if you don't possess wisdom.

The Holy Book of Colossians 1:28
"Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."

Two types of wisdom:

1) Earthly wisdom
Speaks of knowledge and science and there is no spirituality
e.g. Professor who teaches New Testament in the Seminary but is an atheist himself.
It is appropriate to speak of science and knowledge as long as it does not replace the spirituality.

2) Heavenly wisdom

The Holy Book of I Corinthians 2:13

"These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual."

  • "The greatest theologian is a spiritual one."

3) Faith
The Holy Book of I Timothy 2:7
"for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle- I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying- a teacher of the gentiles in faith and truth."
  • We need to teach with great faith.
4) Knowledge
The Holy Book of Romans 2:20
"an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law."
  • Knowledge comes from reading.
The Holy Book of II Timothy 4:13
"Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus when you come- and the books, especially the parchments."

St. Paul asked for St. Timothy to bring him the books in his last hour!!

  • He is inspired yet he wants the books.

  • He has preached for 30 years, yet he wants the books.

  • He was caught up to heaven, yet he wants the books.

  • He has seen God, yet he wants the books.

  • He has written a major part of the NT, yet he wants the books.

5) Truth

The Holy Book of II Timothy 4:3
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers."
  • We become "men pleasers" and do not speak the truth.
    The Holy Book of I Timothy 1:3
    "As I urged you when I went into Macedonia- remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine."
  • Our lessons need to be reviewed for sound doctrine.
The Holy Book of I Timothy 6:2-5
"And those who have believing masters, let them not despise them because they are brethren, but rather serve them because those who are benefited are believers and beloved. Teach and exhort these things. If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself."
6) Integrity
  • We need to live a life that we preach. We are not called to be perfect, but we need to struggle and strive for perfection and a holy life.
  • The Holy Book of I Timothy 4:6
    "If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed."

    The Holy Book of Romans 2:21

    "You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal?"
7) Persuasion
  • Apologetics
    people who wrote letters or articles to defend dogmas with persuasion

    e.g. St. Paul discussing women covering their heads- gave many examples to defend and persuade them.
  • The Holy Book of I Timothy 1:7
    "Desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm."

    The Holy Book of I Corinthians 14:19

    "Yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue."
    • In Persuading about miracles, the following verse can be used:
    The Holy Gospel of St John 14:12
    "Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father."
  • The saints did greater miracles than the Lord Jesus Christ - e.g. moving mountains.
8) Applications
  • If giving a lesson on prayer, we need to give solutions or applications.

  • This is why the Lord Jesus Christ spoke in parables so the people could understand Him from their every day life.

  • References: Holy Book of Titus 2:3-4, 2:12, 1:11

  • Service is a calling. We should not choose to serve or where to serve.

  • It is the Church's responsibility to prepare servants for a certain age group to be served

9) Spiritual Maturity

  • A teacher must be spiritually mature.
  • The Holy Book of Hebrews 5:12
    "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food."
10) Dedication or Commitment
A complete lecture, Strength in the Service, on this topic is posed on the Southern Diocese website.

The Holy Book of Romans 12:7
"or ministry, let us use it in our ministering, he who teaches in teaching."

The Holy Book of I Corinthians 4:17
"For this reason I have sent Timothy to you, who is my beloved and faithful son in the Lord, who will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach everywhere in every church."

The Holy Book of II Timothy 4:2
"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and teaching."

11) Attitude

  • "It is the attitude not the aptitude that makes the altitude."

  • We should be able to accept any criticism and not be very defensive.
The Holy Book of Galatians 6:6
"Let him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches."

12) Discipleship

  • A good teacher must be a good disciple and always willing to learn in order to be an effective teacher.
The Holy Book of II Timothy 2:2
"And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
  • St. Paul taught St. Timothy and he taught his disciples and his disciples taught others, etc.
H.G. Bishop Youssef
Bishop, Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States

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