It is great how God can direct you to content that you need to read at just the right time. While I often teach my adult Sunday school class, I wanted an opportunity to teach a more formal class – something with a bit more structure and more serious study in mind. I was given the opportunity to teach an evening class on Colossians. I create my own lessons, and do not utilize a curriculum prepared by someone else.
While I was excited by this opportunity, I was also a bit worried because I am not well known in my large church. And since I am not using a packaged curriculum by a famous Bible teacher, there would not be such a name to attract interest. Well, only 4 people signed up. I debated for a short time what to do. I once signed up for a class at church that was cancelled because not enough people signed up for it. It is not that I was unwilling to teach 4, but if a couple people are absent – it becomes a really small group! Past experience has been that 8 -10 is a more ideal size.
I decided to proceed and teach the class, and at the last minute a couple more people signed up. And the first week, an unexpected person came, so we have ended up a nice sized group of about 8.
About the time I decided to proceed, even though it looked like there was only 4 participants, this article was in my wordpress newsfeed: Just Two Is Just Fine. The author, a seminary professor, tells several true stories of professors who taught a class even though only 2 people signed up – and how the students went on to brilliant things. These gifted professors could have legitimately felt that 2 students was not worth their time, but they did not. Excerpt:
“Statistics of the right sort can help us see if we are being as effective as we might be in God’s mission. But we mustn’t assume that what we can count is all that counts. So maybe two is enough, if the task is God’s will done in God’s way. Who knows what our investment in one, or two, or six, or ten people will yield—in a friendship, in a Sunday School class, in job training, in coaching? Who knows what will happen when two or three are gathered together, or when just twelve are selected for a particular task?”
Let me clarify that I do not equate myself as having the teaching skill of these professors! Not even close. But if they were willing to teach only two, certainly I should as well.
And there is more. For the first time I am using Morning and Evening by CH Spurgeon as my devotional. And guess what a recent devotional stated? Excerpt from January 18, pm. Available online.
“He expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”
“The two disciples on the road to Emmaus had a most profitable journey. Their companion and teacher was the best of tutors; the interpreter one of a thousand, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. The Lord Jesus condescended to become a preacher of the gospel, and he was not ashamed to exercise his calling before an audience of two persons, neither does he now refuse to become the teacher of even one. Let us court the company of so excellent an Instructor, for till he is made unto us wisdom we shall never be wise unto salvation.”
Wow. That really convicted me and encouraged me. Jesus often taught small groups or even one. For example, we have profitable teaching because Jesus willingly instructed an individual woman by herself at a well.
Keep plugging away. God is at work in the small. Maybe only a handful of people read your blog. Maybe only 2 people signed up for your class. Maybe only 40 people attend your little church. Numbers are not everything. In fact, numbers can be deceptive. A crowd does not necessarily mean that lives are being changed, and the lack of a crowd does not necessarily mean stagnation or failure. And that will be another post…