Missing Link in B.I. Training

A bible instructor must be trained. Theory is not enough. She must learn by experi­ence and by observation of others' ex­perience.

By MRS. W. H. ANDERSON, Bible Instructor, Claremont, North Carolina

A bible instructor must be trained. Theory is not enough. She must learn by experi­ence and by observation of others' ex­perience. She must have theory of course, but she must see that theory work, and she must practice it before it will work for her. She is the spiritual nurse as verily as a sanitarium-trained young woman is a medical nurse. She is as necessary to the evangelist's success as the nurse is to the doctor's.

It is the trained nurse the doctor wants, one that is scientific, practical, and sensible. The evangelist is looking for the same qualifications in his Bible instructor, but he may find that he has one who has been exposed to the theory without the ability to practice it yet. In that case, she is handicapped, and so is he. She may be doing her best, but that does not meet his present need or emergency. So he finds him­self doing the job the best he can with het helping here and there wherever she can.

If union conferences would put their prospec­tive Bible instructors into a special school to drill and train them before sending them into their evangelistic efforts, it would make for greater efficiency and happiness and would place the Bible instructor in the position she should be in her work. She would have the needed confidence before she started out.

I do not mean just to hold church laymen's classes. That may be all right for the laity. But that is like training practical nurses, giving them a few pointers, and telling them to go and do the best they can. Such workers can only be helpers. We need them, but we must have the qualified, trained workers too. The training of promising laymen for local missionary work should not be neglected. These workers will al­ways be the practical, spiritual nurses, and not the trained nurses. There is a distinctive field for both types of workers, so let us not become confused in our objectives. Our confusion in this respect would tend to lower the standards of a work which is comparable only to that of the ministry. Lay training is not the way out of our present problem.

It is my firm belief that union conferences should spend a small amount of money in train­ing women who have qualifications, and really feel that they have the calling of the Lord, in a school having an experienced and tried woman Bible instructor to train them. This plan would not call for a schoolhouse or a great outlay of funds. It would just require the rent­ing of a large house where the girls could be under one roof, boarding together, having a good mother to look after them and the Bible teacher to conduct their training. It would be better, for both instructor and students, for the teacher not to live in the home with the stu­dents.

Under a competent housemother these girls would be cared for and at the same time be re­quired to attend to business. The teacher, who had the responsibility for them, would then know where they were, and could check on them and their work at any time. These girls might have to be financially assisted, but when they were trained the conferences would have value received in souls in their efforts later on.

This is individual training. A teacher cannot handle more workers than she can individually work with. The number in the course should be limited to several selected ones from each con­ference. Then when the training is completed the conferences would have several efficient workers.

After a few years of this type of training there will be a good staff of Bible instructors all over the country. The girls now feel unpre­pared for Bible work right after they leave the college. The training received is good as far as it goes, but they lack the "handling of the tools with their hands" for the practical experience which instills confidence in themselves.

Take for an example, a young woman who was with us in _______  to help in follow-up work. She expressed herself over and over again in workers' meetings, "I simply cannot make people decide to take their stand." She had not learned what to do in the crisis period. The trained nurse has learned what to do in handling diseases that have a crisis, and she prepares the patient for it before it comes. She is at her best at that time. The Bible instruc­tor, too, must learn the proper technique for the spiritual crisis.

The experienced teacher will know in less than a month's time who will make Bible in­structors. Those who are not likely may be weeded out before much effort and expense are lost on them. Someone else could be slipped into their places. These picked students should come from Adventist schools, where they have al­ready received the background of Bible doctrine and are taught the message, and where they have also learned how to study. Each local con­ference could share in financing their own pros­pective workers. When their special training period is completed, then the students return to their own local conferences.

We have no desire to minimize the thorough work that is being done by our colleges in their preparation of Bible instructors. Student ef­forts too often are a poor introduction to actual field evangelism, because the whole setting is unnatural. Though we believe in student efforts for initial practice, we must recognize their evangelistic limitations. For that reason the plan described here, of training Bible instruc­tors out in the field under the guidance of ex­perienced specialists, is practical and most prof­itable to any union in the development of its young workers. This link in the training of Bible instructors should receive far more study and attention, especially in those fields where a dearth of Bible instructors is very apparent.


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By MRS. W. H. ANDERSON, Bible Instructor, Claremont, North Carolina

July 1949

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