The Vision & Values of Team Teaching at TNL Church
At the core of both the vision and values of TNL Church is plurality of leadership. Our vision and values of a shared leadership structure are expressed through a Team Teaching model on Tuesday nights at TNL Church.
1. Team Teaching shapes and trains us to listen to God.
Regardless of who is speaking, we learn to listen for God speaking, therefore better orienting the focus of the service to our value of the pursuit and presence of God. We come together as a community to hear and respond to Him, not hear from a certain person or specific personality. We believe it is our responsibility to carefully and intentionally reject a personality driven culture. This requires addressing the expectations for a ‘lead pastor’ or ‘primary teaching pastor’ that many have been accustomed to.
2. Team Teaching is a tangible expression of our vision to join God in what He is doing in our city.
We recognize the risk that a plurality of teachers can be an opportunity for inconsistency in vision and shared vocabulary, but our desire is to learn how together as a community we can learn from pastors and leaders within TNL and the Church in Denver.
3. Team Teaching reflects our value of church as family that is led by family leaders, not led by single organizational leader.
Team Teaching creates room for all of the roles of leadership within the Church to be visible and public (Teacher, Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd). It provides a community exegesis that shapes a deeper view of the text and a wider view of the context.
4. Team Teaching acknowledges the difference in learning and teaching styles.
It reflects our value to empower through communicating to and from these different styles. There are many people within TNL and the Church in Denver whose gifts of teaching should be cultivated and stewarded.
5. Team Teaching provides the teacher space to internalize the truth of scripture and wrestle deeply with its content.
A single teacher provides little margin to have the text be grounded and established in their own life. One pastor said, ‘preaching every week is like trying to have deep, meaningful conversation with someone while running on a treadmill’. Teaching teams help to create margin for the health of pastors, leaders and ultimately the health of the church.
The following is a letter from Cheri Scott, who leads and serves as an Elder at TNL Church.
In the summer of 2013 as I listened to teachers from churches around our city, I wondered if this could become the pattern for our church. I reflected on earlier times when churches depended on itinerant preachers and didn’t have a pastor. How was it that these churches managed to stay alive and even thrive? What if TNL had “itinerant teachers” from our own city?
What I began to believe is that it would draw us continually into what God is doing in our city and not just within the TNL community. It could prevent us from becoming attached or dependent on a certain teaching style, and teach us to better “learn to hear” from different teaching strengths, much like our children have to learn this skill when they start middle school and beyond. It would prevent unhealthy loyalty to a certain pastor, and the fracturing and brokenness that can occur when they come and go. If we didn’t have a pastor who people might see as responsible to “shepherd the flock”, then we would each be responsible to become shepherds, and humble enough to be sheep.
The more I prayed it seemed a way TNL would more accurately express its signature heartbeat of being changed by God and joining God in changing the world.