One of the most effective and informative, beneficial and entertaining teaching sessions I’ve sat through was delivered by a man who was teaching the Federal Law and how to effectively advocate for a person within the school system using the law. I have never done advocacy within the school system.  Therefore, I didn’t think that I would need this seminar.  However,  I came prepared to learn.  And I learned mountains of things that I now apply to many areas in my life and ministry.

Years of sitting under bad preachers taught me how to maximize my time while sitting through an ill-prepared or rambling sermon or speech.  Here are some of the things I’ve learned when I’m stuck in a room with stinky teaching. 

  1. Determine to learn something.  Attitude is everything.  For years, I would attend teaching and come away with pages of notes.  While others would exit the meeting complaining about the “poor spirit” and that the Holy Spirit was quenched.  For them this was a wasted meeting because their attitude tossed their time into the garbage can.  For me, it had been beneficial and I had learned. This was a hard lesson to discover.  Like my friends I’ve spent years wasting my time for one reason or another. I would go into a meeting with a bad attitude and learn nothing.  Others would talk about the great teaching.  I began to see that my attitude was the “poor spirit” that was in the service.
  2. Take notes.  I’ve noticed that taking notes has decreased over the years.  When I take notes, I am using many of my sensory skills.  I am hearing, translating what I hear into thoughts that I put on paper.  Additionally, I am seeing the notes.  I see, hear, think, and use touch sensory skills to learn. 
  3. Don’t be lazy about your time.  Force your mind and spirit to remain involved in what is happening around you.
  4. Be aware of your surroundings.  Pray for the people around you.  Stop, look and listen to the people who are in the audience. 
  5. The problem with being an insomniac is that you fall asleep at times that are most inconvenient.  When I find myself falling asleep during a class, I get up, go to the back of the room, stand or pace.  After the session, I will often go up to the teacher and explain that I didn’t want to fall asleep and standing kept me awake.  The presenter is always happy to hear my earnest desire to be involved in her presentation.
  6. I remind myself that I may be having a bad day.  It may not be the problem with the teaching or the teacher.
  7. Don’t let the attitude of others negate your time with the Lord.  Does this need an explanation?  Probably not.
  8. I try to remember it is the Lord that I’m meeting, not a pastor or teacher.  God is always ready to change me and meet my needs.  I can allow him to use a flawed servant to minister grace and mercy to my life.
  9. I try to keep my expectations low.  Not every meeting is going to give me goose bumps and change my life radically.  When I don’t expect perfection, I am eager to hear what God can do in my life.
  10. If all else fails, I take notes on what NOT TO DO when I teach. 

Additionally, I hope that people will give me “grace” when I share what God is speaking through me.  Therefore, I’m even more eager to extend that same grace to them.