Friday, May 03, 2013

If it’s spring: A note from Gather ’Round.

Gather 'Round curriculum logo If it's spring... must be time to think about calling teachers for the fall!

Christian formation programs often depend on more volunteers than any other program of the church. Here is a six-step process to help you call and work with teachers ( ):

Define the ministry: Clearly articulate areas of responsibility. Provide written descriptions that outline the tasks and expectations for each position.

Discern the gifts of the people: What qualities do you seek in potential teachers? Who in your congregation has those qualities? Seek God’s wisdom and direction. With a church directory in one hand and your list of needs in the other, look for people with gifts of teaching and building relationships. Don’t overlook seniors, recently retired people, young adults, or newcomers.

Gently invite: Be specific when you talk to an individual. Be honest about your expectations. Give them time to pray about a decision. Offer to meet with them to have further conversation about the task to which you are calling them. If a person declines the invitation, thank them for considering it. Don’t pester them. If God is calling them to the position, they’ll get back to you.

Provide training: Treat your volunteers as unpaid staff. Give them the resources they need to be the best teachers they can be.

Support and affirm: With notes, a listening ear, small gifts, and prayer, encourage your teachers in their ministry.

Evaluate: Meet with each teacher to reflect. What is working well? What is frustrating? What changes are needed for the teacher to feel successful? Where was evidence of God’s presence? Give a teacher the opportunity to stop if the experience is unpleasant for the teacher or the class. Regular evaluations and check-ins can ease or prevent the pain that happens when someone leaves in anger or frustration--or when someone has to be let go because it is just not working out.

Here are some do's and don'ts:
  • DO assure prospective teachers that your call comes after a careful, prayerful process. DO specifically affirm the gifts you see in them.
  • DO promise that they will be supported (and DO follow through on that promise).
  • DON'T persist if a person gives you a definitive no.
  • DON'T beg ("Please, there just isn't anyone else we can ask").
  • DON'T stretch the truth ("There's really nothing to teaching preschoolers").
What if you can't find enough qualified teachers for the openings on your list? Maybe God is inviting you to consider something new. Could groups be combined in new ways? Would people be more willing to teach if the load was lightened by working in pairs or even triads? Would it help to change the time you meet? Use your challenges to get creative about your programming.

-- From the Gather ’Round e-mail newsletter “RoundAbout.” Gather ’Round is the Sunday school curriculum of Brethren Press and MennoMedia. This summer’s quarter for multi age groups of children is on an environmental theme and will familiarize students with Bible texts on care for creation. Order curriculum from Brethren Press at 800-441-3712.

Source: 5/3/2013 Newsline

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