Matthew McDill is a fellow PhD student at Southeastern who is studying elders in Scripture. He occasionally shares some of his insights, such as in his post “Leadership Principles from Acts, Part 1” and “Leadership Principles from Acts, Part 2“.
Also, in a post called “Sufficiently in Touch with Ordinary People“, he recently quoted Calvin concerning the phrase that elders should be “able to teach”:
There are many who, either because of defective utterance or insufficient mental ability, or because they are not sufficiently in touch with ordinary people, keep their knowledge shut up within themselves. Such people ought, as they saying goes, to sing to themselves and the musesâ€”and go and do something else. . . . Paul is commending wisdom in knowing how to apply Godsâ€™ Word to the profit of His people.
Calvin observes that some may have knowledge but “because they are not sufficiently in touch with ordinary people,” they are unable to be of any benefit to others. I have met such knowledgeable people. I often emphasize with my public speaking students the importance of understanding and connecting with one’s audience. As ministers, it is critical that we listen to the people we seek to serve, that we know their thoughts and needs and meet them where they are.
What do you think? Is it enough to know teaching methodology, or must you know and be in touch with people also?