When I sensed God calling me into teaching and training as a primary ministry platform, I did not think very long and hard about specific methods of teaching.
It seemed clear enough that much of my ministry as a teacher would be spent researching, reflecting, writing, and preparing classroom lectures. Oh yes, I would also be grading traditional student assignments like papers, tests, and quizzes. How I was educated seemed the norm for how I would subsequently educate others.
The meteoric rise of digital technologies and a host of new online educational delivery systems has fundamentally altered the way students have been, expect to be, and are being educated today. And this seismic digital shift has become especially relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic where most schools have been mandated to do all classes via distance learning.
But long before the COVID-19 pandemic, our world was becoming progressively immersed in the virtual realities of our time. Traditional residential classroom education and the pedagogical methods of yesterday have increasingly felt like endangered species.
Such enormous transformations have made me step back and ask some hard questions. Why did I go into teaching in the first place? Was it about me and what I enjoyed and was good at, or was it about my desire to see lives changed for the glory of God? It was likely some of both, but central to the decision was my love for interacting and engaging with people and ideas, especially those things pertaining to God and His world. I longed to understand, communicate, and wisely apply God’s truth in clear, meaningful, and life-altering ways.
The digital age has forced this old dog to revisit fundamental questions about my calling and modes of teaching. If I only want to deliver information in a traditional classroom setting, it appears my days as a teacher are numbered. But if a ministry of teaching and training is more primary—no matter what delivery systems are employed—it might be possible for me to learn some new tricks and continue serving in seminary education.
Ultimately, I teach because I am called by God and want to be used to help bring about life-transformation for His greater honor and glory. In this sense, I hope and pray He will enable me to continue to learn how to more effectively teach, mentor, and minister in the rapidly changing realities of an increasingly digitized age.
Lord Jesus, please make it so.