As we have already discussed, a key element of these early church leaders doing what only they could do was teaching, which is the second of three core elements the church needs to do to be effective.
Teaching in the church is important, and we can learn about how important it is from one of the greatest Bible teachers of our time, Billy Graham, when he powerfully declares, “Church is not for pretenders and performers. Church is a place for pastors to preach principles of faith in order to prepare believers to face the storms of life on the stage of an unbelieving world.” That is a powerful statement from Billy Graham, a man who has preached in many countries and to millions of people.
Now, back to the story of our new church in Acts. We learn from this early description of the church in chapter six of Acts that teaching the word of God was so important that it was taking up all of the apostles’ time. When a church is led well and has a pastor (or two) who is given the time and freedom to devote a large chunk of time to teaching the word of God, it will help to strengthen that church’s believers who attend regularly. To strengthen the current believers, the church needs to have strong teaching every Sunday. Church should be focused on teaching solid Biblical concepts that are addressed in the Bible, and they should be related and connected to our current culture today. This is not easy, but it is essential to developing and equipping current believers to more effectively live out their faith and share it with others who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus.
As a church we are to teach our community what it means to live with faith. We need to teach people how to pray, read the Bible, serve the poor, and paint a picture of what it means to authentically live out our faith. Through that teaching, people should be equipped for work of sharing their faith.
Just this past week, Pastor Brian at Enclave Community Church gave us some teaching about the importance of sharing our faith with others even if we do not have all the answers to people’s difficult questions. After teaching through the story of Phillip in Acts 8:26-40, Pastor Brian gave us an outline of six verses from the book of Romans we can use to share our faith with others. This is exactly the equipping that needs to be done for the people of the church so that they may be strengthened in their faith while also being more effective at sharing it But teaching does not have to be limited to Sunday morning sermons.
The importance of Christians participating in teaching environments can be emphasized through the church stressing the importance of being involved in a weekly Bible study. Or the church might hold conferences on specific topics or even conduct their own weekly teaching classes.
In the church I attend, Enclave Community Church, people come every week to listen to Pastor Brian teach. That might be the only Biblical teaching or Bible verses a person hears all week, which is why it is important that a church has great teaching for the people who come. If they only hear a 40 minute sermon once a week, then we need to make sure it is the best 40 minute sermon we can possibly produce.
People who come to Enclave Community Church and hear Pastor Brian preach are there to listen and learn from what he says. They readily await his teaching with a pen and his outline sitting in their Bible while turned to the passage of text he is teaching through.
A great example of this is my friend Mike who started attending Enclave in January of 2010. Mike has a rough past due to methamphetamine and alcohol addictions. After reaching a low point in his life and with the help of family, friends, and his fiancé, Mike enlisted in the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Stockton, CA to help him get his life on track. As a result, Mike was able to get to know Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. Shortly after being released from the six month program in Stockton, Mike came back to live in Turlock and began attending Enclave in January of 2010. When I met Mike in March of 2010, I asked him his story and how he came to attend Enclave. (Asking questions and listening is a key part of showing love, which we will learn about later.) He shared his story of spending time in Stockton at the Rehabilitation Center, how he was now clean of drugs and alcohol, and that he had been to Enclave every single Sunday for the past three months since coming back to Turlock. In his Bible he had every one of Pastor Brian’s outlines marked up and filled with notes. Mike, as a new Christian, faithfully attended Enclave every single week to learn as much as he could about what it means to be a Christian man following Jesus.
But the story does not end there, after attending Enclave for a year and a half, Mike has started a group he calls the “Enclave Prayer Warriors.” Mike organizes this group to meet once a week to pray for the church, each other, and the church’s members. Because of the solid Biblical teaching from Pastor Brian and the discipleship from his small group and counseling he received through Enclave, he has now gone on to do his own ministry that is reaching out to even more people. Mike’s story is exactly the reason that church must have strong teaching for its believers.
 Billy Graham, Storm Warning (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2010), 164.
 Matthew Henry, “Acts,” in The Definitive Bible Commentary, ed. Owen Collins (London: HarperCollinsReligious, 1999), 1160.