I've wondered about this for a really long time, and have really wanted to post the question to the Precept Leader Board, yet I was too afraid to.
I was afraid I'd look like a slacker, and I think I was desperately afraid of the answers that others would share, thinking that I'd once again feel like I am lacking as a Precept leader, when compared to so many others.
But, some brave soul stepped up recently and asked the question I've been itching to ask, and when I saw it posted to the Precept Leader Yahoo Forum, I knew the Lord wasn't going to let me off the hook.
I knew I was being called to share what was pressing on my heart, so I did. I pray that it somehow encourages you to step out in faith in Christ Jesus, and lead others in inductive Bible study.
This was the question:
How many hours a week do you spend preparing for leading your Precept class, excluding the time dedicated to actually working through the lesson yourself?
(I'm paraphrasing, but this was the gist of it.)
I am not at liberty to share anyone's answer but my own...so here goes, this is what I posted...
I wanted to respond to the question about leader preparation time.
I hope my heart comes through in what I feel led to share, as it's not always easy to express one's heart through email/forum groups.
I am led to share in the hope that it will encourage some of you out there who are not now leading because you don't think you have 10+ hours a week to prepare...or, those of you who may be in the same life situation that I am.
We are a homeschooling family of 2 kids, 8 and 6. While I do not work outside the home, I do have a full time job as a teacher inside my home.
We've also had 18mo-2years of unresolved health issues here, which is time consuming too, besides the fact that my brain doesn't work like it used to (seriously!).
I've battled, often, with deep feelings of inadequacy as a leader, and have made the mistake of telling my class one too many times just how bad of a job I am doing, compared to the great and seasoned Precept leaders I've sat under. (Yes, I've had the best!) :)
Countless times, I've thought about many of you here, whom I respect so much, and in weighing myself next to you, I find I lack deeply.
I don't have the hours that I desire to have, to study commentaries, and I don't have them on hand even if I wanted to.
I don't have LOGOS or a laptop computer.
I am blessed to have Zodhiates and Vines, and I have Wuest but cannot remember how to use it.
We don't do charts in my class, even though I feel my students could benefit from them. I am trying to follow the new model that Precept has laid down for us, and use minimal visual aides...which is good because the charts intimidate me.
As much as I can right now, I rise early or stay up late to study...but it never, ever seems enough.
I have seen my classes start out with 25 people, and dwindle to 8...more often than not.
I often wonder when the Lord will send the real Precept leader to lead this class, so that I may sit under him or her and soak it up like a sponge. Yet, in 5 years, He hasn't yet chosen to do that.
I've been blessed to see others answer the call to lead, and oh what a blessing that is, yet they haven't taken over "my" class...they've multiplied, and are now leading their own separate classes, and many of them feel as inadequate as I do.
However, through it all the Lord has shown me some rich and humbling things through this journey as a leader....
1. It's His desire for people to learn to study His Word for themselves, and all He asks me is if I'll be obedient. He doesn't ask me to be spectacular, as much as I'd love to be.
(Oh, how I'd love to be!)
2. He knows my heart...that I never feel I have spent adequate time in study, yet He never fails to do the work in the hearts of those students who are willing to sit at His feet and dig in. And He has always been faithful to teach and grow me in the process. :)
3. I'm not to tell my students anymore how bad I am at this. Even in doing that, I am taking the focus off of Him and putting it on me.
4. There are not a lot of leaders that I've met, who are my age. I hope and pray for more and more leaders in my age group, and younger. In order for that to happen, I have to model for them that they really can do this...and make it work with where they are in their lives. It cannot seem an impossible task, or they may not be willing to answer the call.
5. At the onset, I started leading because I kept being asked by other people if I could show them how to study the way that I do...if I can keep that as my focus, just teaching them what I've been taught...just passing this awesome gift to them...then I believe I'll have been obedient to my Master.
I was talking with one of the ladies from our Kings & Prophets study a few months ago, a woman in leadership over me within my church, and telling her how sorry I was that I had done such a poor job...what with health issues and a weak background in the OT.
She looked me square in the eyes and said, "Precept has changed my life!"
Wow! Thank You, Lord! Thank You, thank You!
Today as I laid having an EEG, with wires and gunk all over my head, I listened to the familiar accent coming from the sweet lady who was doing the testing on me.
Finally, I couldn't stand it anymore..I had to ask...
"Are you from Romania?"
"Yes. Romania." she answered.
Oooh...(My heart's desire is to one day go to Precept's training center there, and see first hand what God has done through the faithful work of a few obedient servants.)
"I have friends from Romania." (I've met Mia and Costel once, but as far as I'm concerned, we're lifelong friends!) :)
"From Romania?" she asked.
"Yes, they have a Bible training center there."
To which she opened up and told me that she is a Christian.
"Oh, do you know Mia and Costel Oglice?" (Why I feel compelled to ask this every single time I meet someone from Romania is because Mia and Costel are my Brother Andrews....my George Muellers.)
"Yes. Yes. They trained my husband in inductive study, when Romania was still a communist country. They trained him underground. He is now a youth pastor at a Romanian church here in Phoenix."
I kid you not when I tell you that this is about the 3rd person I've met in Phoenix who is from there and was trained in Romania by Mia and Costel!
Each time the Lord orchestrates another meeting with a fellow believer like this, He reminds me again of all that He can accomplish through faithful and obedient servants.
(For blog readers who aren't familiar with them, Mia and Costel and their team have been used of the Lord to train thousands upon thousands of people in how to study the Bible for themselves. There is an Bible training center in Romania where much of their work takes place. You can see it by clicking here.)
I know it's been long, but I pray that some of you who have been holding back because you don't have hours and hours to prepare, will be encouraged just to put some people in your hip pocket and take them along with you as you dig into God's Word.
Give them what you've been given, and trust the Lord to do the work in their hearts that He wants to do.
If they outgrow you as a teacher, great...get them trained to lead! :)