We all have gifts, graces, and talents given to us by God. As Christians, we are called to serve God and use these gifts, graces, and talents. Congregations would not be able to offer its programs or opportunities for ministry without volunteers. Leadership is often “tasked” with finding volunteers to serve a variety of roles, including that of teacher and mentor for children and youth. It’s not about recruiting warm bodies, it as about an invitation into ministry. Here are some tips and pointers to invite others to share their gifts through the ministries of teaching and learning in your congregation. It is a call to ministry.
The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Matthew 9:37
vol·un·teer – n. one who chooses freely to do something vt. To offer or give of one’s own free will. vi. To offer to enter into service of one’s own free will.
Why do people volunteer?
- They want to be needed
- They want to help others and make a difference
- They want to learn new skills or use skills they already have
- They want to belong to a caring community and feel accepted as members
- They seek self-esteem and affirmation
- They want to grow in their faith and share their God-given gifts
- They want to keep from being lonely
- They want to support causes they believe in
When seeking to involve people in ministry: Continue reading Calling Teachers to Teach
Recently I have been invited to give workshops in numerous locations on the basics; the core documents and key websites that I believe anyone involved in Christian formation with children, youth, or adults needs to know about. For January’s Forma Conference workshop, I put together a handout where they are all located in one place.
But for those who want the documents with more of an explanation – here goes. Think of it as a catechism for Episcopal educators: a question with some answers. These are the questions I am frequently asked, and how I respond:
Q. What is the curriculum authorized by the Episcopal Church?
A. The Episcopal Church does not have an authorized, published curriculum for any age. If anything, all of what is taught should be based on The Baptismal Covenant and An Outline of the Faith (also known as The Catechism found in the Book of Common Prayer. However, the Episcopal Church, via a General Convention resolution and Task Force assigned for its implementation, created a seminal text: Called To Teach and Learn: A Catechetical Vision and Guide for the Episcopal Church (1994). Every church was sent one. Many churches put them on the bookshelf or in a closet and never opened its covers. You can download it here, as well as a companion piece written by The Rev. Canon Joe Russell, Discovering Called to Teach and Learn. The Spanish version is here. Continue reading A Back to Basics Q & A
I can always tell when mid-August hits. The peepers are loud outside my windows at night and in the morning my in-box is full of queries: How do I access my curriculum subscription? Do you have a teacher commissioning service? I can’t find your planning calendar. What do you recommend for first communion instruction (with the caveat – “I know, but the parents were raised Catholic.”). The same questions appear year after year and I’ve tried to curate many of those answers within this site.
So here are some links (or documents) in one place to help finalize all those last-minute details as you prepare (or have already begun) to start your Christian education program year. Continue reading Program Year Countdown Resources
You’ve asked and have been waiting … here it is – the Educational Planning Calendar for the academic year of 2016-2017 which begins with the first Sunday in June 2016 (3 Pentecost – Year C) and runs through August 27, 2017 (12 Pentecost – Year A).
Here is how it is laid out: Continue reading Planning Calendar for 2016-2017
Churches have a variety of understanding as to what constitutes “youth.” For some this incorporates all ministry with those under 18 years of age (in High School and below). For others, it means teenagers. And there is a huge disparity in the attention span, interests, physical development, and maturity between a 13-year-old (Middle Schooler) and 18-year-old (soon-to-graduate High Schooler). Add the new label of a Tween (older elementary / early Middle School) individual who is living in two worlds – one of a child and one of a teen; an “in-between-er.”
There are a variety of curricular programs and resources for all of these age levels. But it takes an astute volunteer or youth leader to know the different needs of each group and how best to minister with them.
Recently someone posted a request on the Forma Facebook Group page for ideas as to where one might go to receive further training or continuing education in youth ministry. And of course, there was an abundance of suggestions. So, with thanks to all those folks, here are the organizations and conferences they’ve listed, plus a few that I’m aware of: Continue reading Youth Ministry Training