Educational Ministry of the Church - Lesson 20

Team Ministry

Christian education involves recruiting, training, modeling, organizing and supporting people who volunteer to teach.

Gary Parrett
Educational Ministry of the Church
Lesson 20
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Team Ministry

Contact: Who does the work of Christian Education?

Part 2

II.  Fundamental Obligations of the Teacher

A.  Intercession

B.  Modeling

C.  Partnership

D.  Alertness

E.  Cultivation

F.  Time

III.  Team Ministry

A.  Pastor should cast the vision for CE.

B.  Role of the CE Coordinator

1.  Casting vision

2.  Coordinating education efforts

3.  Curriculum oversight and development

C.  Choosing Volunteers

1.  Recruitment

a.  Open invitations, but ...

b.  Ongoing observation

2.  Probationary period

3.  Reappointment

4.  Redirection

5.  Term of service

6.  Job description

7.  Character, Compatibility, Commitment, Competence

8.  Be careful not to become a "user" of people.

9.  With growth, give increasing attention to giftedness.

10.  Staff for vision, not just maintenance.

D.  Working with the Team

1.  Pray together regularly.

2.  Train continually.

3.  Involve them in personal ministry.

4.  Involve them in decision-making.

5.  Delegate responsibility with follow-up and support.

6.  Watch your/their life and your/their doctrine.

7.  Encourage relationships of accountability.

8.  Be prepared for conflict.

9.  Provide spiritual nurture and direction.

10.  Remember what you are modeling.

11.  Provide a forum for feedback.

E.  Model for Training

1.  Daily - Pray for them.

2.  Weekly - Pray with them.

3.  Monthly - Planning and prayer time together.

4.  Quarterly - Discuss curriculum.

5.  Annually - Equip them through a seminar or retreat.

F.  Organization

1.  Higher Level of the Church

a.  Administrative Pastor

b.  Outreach Pastor

c.  Senior Pastor

d.  CE Coordinator

e.  Worship Leader

2.  CE Leadership Team

a.  Children's Ministry Director

b.  Parent Association Representative

c.  Preschool Director

d.  CE Coordinator

e.  Elder/Deacon Representative

f.  Christian Service Coordinator

g.  Youth Pastor

h.  Adult CE Director

i.  Resource Center Coordinator

  • Seven questions that provide a framework for choosing and implementing curriculum.

  • Our misconceptions about Christian education can cause us to choose poor or inaccurate content and use ineffctive strategies.

  • The three essential tasks of the Church are worship, outreach and teaching.

  • Christian formation focuses on the process of becoming more like Christ.

  • Instructions for spiritual education from passages in the Old Testament and New Testament.

  • History of Christian education from the early church to modern Sunday school.

  • The Heidelberg Catechism provides essential elements for a Christian education curriculum.

  • The Torah contains the essence of what God wants us to know. Jesus clarifies and exemplifies the Torah.

  • A CORE curriculum should be Comprehensive, Orthodox, Reforming and focused on Essentials. Delivery systems may include bible studies, small groups, Sunday school and sermons.

  • The Ten Commandments are the basis for Old Testament Law and the core teaching of the New Testament.

  • Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

  • Tailoring curriculum by taking into peoples' physical and spiritual developmental stages can make teaching more effective.

  • A key element for effective education to take place is for teachers to know their students relationally.

  • Effective teachers know their audience and avoid attitudes and expressions that would create obstacles to communication.

  • Asking the right questions about the curriculum and the audience can help you identify what information to emphasize and how to present it effectively.

  • How you define teaching determines content and strategy.

  • Effective teaching engages the whole person.

  • When preparing curriculum, an effective teacher will take into account both the content and the audience.

  • Many people fill the role of teacher in your life at different times and in various ways.

  • Christian education involves recruiting, training, modeling, organizing and supporting people who volunteer to teach.

  • Being trained in skills for conflict resolution helps you to have realistic expectations and gives you the tools you need to effectively resolve situations as they arise.

Through this course, you will gain a deep understanding of the educational ministry of the church, its foundations, principles of teaching and learning, and the development of an effective educational ministry. You will also explore strategies for different age groups, including children, youth, and adults, and learn how to address contemporary issues such as cultural relevance, technology, media, and special needs inclusivity.

Educational Ministry of the Church 
Dr. Gary Parrett 
Team Ministry 
Lesson Transcript


In terms of our own life as a pastor or teacher, I want to give you six words that summarize for me some of my fundamental obligations here. Here are six words, and I'm going to use Paul as my model. Now, using Paul as a model for ministry, as a preacher, as a teacher, as an apostle. One of his commandments, as we've already seen, is intercession. And we saw it in Colossians one and Ephesians one and Ephesians three. As a minister, I let Paul be my model. Both that a I should pray. Because I'm convinced that the Holy Spirit is the one who transforms life. But also, let Paul be the model about what I can pray for the flock. It's hard to find better prayers for the people you're ministering to than in Colossians one, Ephesians one Patience three. Read through those prayers of Paul and begin to pray them for the people you're teaching and ministering to. Pray the Word of God from those respects, both, I think, spontaneous types of intercession and prayer, pray without ceasing model and intentional disciplined times of prayer for the people. I'm speaking to a second word that comes to mind from the Life and Ministry of Paul is the word modeling. Paul's second commitment to his own teaching ministry can be summed up well here. First Corinthians 11 one, for example. Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ. Here's a bold thing to be say, or as he says, Second, Timothy two To whatever you receive from me, pass it on to Reliable Men. Philippians four eight After he's talked about whatever is good, noble and pure.


He also says, and whatever you've seen in my life, think of these things as a bold thing to say. Or at the same time, of course, is the guy who gives us Philippians three. I'm not there 25, 30 years of this, and I'm not perfect at all. But in that same point, I think he gives us what he's talking about. But I'm pressing on toward the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. And as I press on, follow my example. I'd rather see a sermon, integrity of life, those kind of issues. Third word from Paul Partnership. One of the things that strikes me about Paul, the teacher and preacher and minister, is that Paul is always talking about his partners. There's a ton of them, of course, in Scripture from the obvious ones like Barnabas and Saul and Timothy and Titus to the not so obvious ones, like a Pastor Titus and Epicurus and Phoebe and Priscilla and Aquila. Book after book, letter after letter. Paul is mentioning his fellow partners in ministry, and we need to have all kinds of partnership in ministry ourselves, both for the sake of, of greater effectiveness in ministry, but also relative to the area of accountability. HENRY Now, Anne's book, in the Name of Jesus that I mentioned before, one of the things he mentions is he meditates a little bit on the wisdom that Jesus sent people out to buy to and then is a fun book to read. In this regard, you should read it. He goes out in for Opportunity ministry with another person for accountability, but also for cooperation, for effectiveness in the church. Even if the pastor, according to Baxter, is the leader of Christian education. Very likely the pastor will not have much effect if he approaches this in a Lone Ranger fashion.


And you got to pull up partners, you've got to equip others. You've got to recognize even Paul models this for us. I think in his understanding of bigger picture things, how he entered in at one point in the life of the Corinthians and the God moved him on and brought a policy assignments, a different kind of partnership. So I can partner not only with people who are presently here, but I can partner with the previous teachers in a larger sense, previous pastors. I like the idea personally of also partnering with parish church movements because the reason parish church movements have been raised up is because the church hasn't been doing its job in some regards. And so now we find some parish church movements that are strong on discipleship training because the church has been weak. Why not look at the opportunity to use them? Partnership. A fourth word about Paul the teacher is alertness. Alertness. Just paying attention, paying attention to what's going on with the learners. How do I know that Paul was a very alert teacher? How do I know that he was paying attention to the realities of his learners? We wouldn't have his letters if he wasn't alert. Basically, all Paul's letters are essentially occasional letters. That is, you know, something came up, questions were asked, information was passed on. I've heard from the House of Chloe that there are divisions among you and he's paying attention and he writes in a response to them. So Paul is constantly this part of his commitment to love the flock and to watch the flock. We have first Corinthians 111 and then Galatians Chapter one was a great example of this. I'm astonished that you're so quickly turning from the gospel. He is watching the people and then he's grabbing teachable moments, sometimes puts aside what he might otherwise have said and says what needs to be said at the right time, at the right moment.


Jude does this, of course, as well, Jude. Verse three, I was intending to write one thing to you, but when I heard what's happening and see what's happening, I have to do something else. I have to write something else to you. So good teachers paying attention. That's why I would train my Sunday school teachers. This is as well that our primary obligation is not to cover the curriculum. That's a really bad metaphor anyway, if you think about it, cover the curriculum. Our primary goal here is the uncovering of truth for the sake of transformation. So if I'm a teacher and I wanted to teach a class on, you know, A, B and C, but there's a question that comes up and I recognize, well, this is the moment, this is the teachable moment, Then I grab it. Fifth word from Paul cultivation of his own soul, cultivation of his own soul. Paul is going to be in the business of cultivating the souls of others. But anybody who's in the business of cultivating the souls of others needs to first of all, be about the business of cultivating their own souls. We can go back again to this whole idea of follow my example as I follow the example of Christ. But here again, I think the classic passage is Philippians 310 and following where here's Paul saying, You know, I've been at this for a while, but I still have one passion. I want to know Christ. I want to know him. I want to be conformed to his likeness. That's what I'm after. And everyone who is mature will take such a view of things. So cultivate my own soul. You might want to think here a little bit about doing some reading from one of my favorite authors, Eugene Peterson, who's probably most known today for the for the message.


But actually the best stuff that Eugene Peterson has is his stuff for pastors. A host of books for the pastor. And much of them are challenging pastors to cultivate their own soul. And it comes out of his own experience. He talks about in one of his books called Under the Unpredictable Plant, where he plays with the story of Jonah and use John as kind of a metaphor for his own pastoral work. Peterson talks about coming to the realization three or four years into pastoral ministry that he didn't have a spirituality adequate for his vocation. He understood that he was called to be a pastor, but no one had ever helped them develop a spirituality adequate for such a calling. And so that's what he does in his books. He wrestles with that under the unpredictable plants. A great one. The contemplative pastor is a great one in this regard. Working the angles is another one. Cultivate your own soul. I had a pastor, an elder, actually, who was gifted in teaching and preached to us in my home church years and years ago preached a sermon. I don't remember any of the sermon except the title because he repeated it probably a dozen times. Dig a deep well, dig a deep well. If you want to be in the business of giving water away, you better dig a deep well. So cultivate your own soul. And I would encourage you think about those comments I made before about the taboo, about who of the soul. Think, not only about the content that you get here at seminary, for example, but think about your soul's formation, the capacity to think, the capacity to feel, to cultivate your soul. Just maybe one a practical example about this from my own life, as I've worked with this, some of the things that I've tried to do is be faithful in my own spiritual disciplines.


Praying the Psalms has been very helpful for me in this regard. But one one change that it meant for me is sometimes I would, when I go to bed at night, even as a teacher, the temptation is to get back into task orientation, lie down in bed and pull out books related to what I'm teaching and, you know, try to use every moment to grab something like that. But I've been trained instead of that to use that bedtime reading time to read something that will shape my soul. Just a great novel that looks at life in its complexities and challenges me to think more deeply and feel more passionately about things rather than just get task oriented again, task oriented and task oriented. And part of that points to this whole principle, which Eugene Peterson talks about, Marvin Dorn talks about elsewhere the principle of Sabbath and learning to get a little rhythm in my own life where it's not all tasks task task task, but Sabbath recognizing that God is God, not me. And I need to be tapped in to the wellspring of his life. Marva Don has a book on keeping Sabbath holy, and Marvin, Don and Eugene Peterson recently collaborated on a book called The Unnecessary Pastor. They're both great at provocative titles, and it's kind of in the spirit of recognizing that God is God and our obligation is not. To try to be God for everybody else. But the people who are selves are tapped into the life stream of God. All right. The last word for a teacher that I find from Paul is the word time. And that is this is a word of encouragement sometimes in pastoral ministry or teaching ministry. You wonder why you've been pouring out your guts and giving your soul away and working really hard and you don't see the fruit that you think you ought to be the same.


And that's why a lot of pastors burn out and lead ministry, particularly pastors of children and youth. You give yourself away to youth and you don't see the fruit. Well, the reality is that sometimes the fruit's not going to come in a tangible way for you to see until 20 years later. Now, I've seen I left youth pastoring in 1990. Now I'm starting to see some of that fruit ten years later and recognize what it was. Takes time to not be weary and doing what is right. Paul says to the Galatians Chapter six, verse nine and do season your reward if you do not faint. But the key passage here again for me is First Corinthians three, where Paul says, I planted a polis or someone else polis water. And the whole idea is harvest time. We may not even see the harvest time. That may not be our call. Our call might just be the plant or just the water. And we have to trust God. Six words that I find in the Mystery of Paul. It's a little acronym, if you noticed, for impact here I am active. It's a good teaching tool. But in fact, six remember that folk impact integrity. Those are a couple of things relative to my own role in ministry. One of the things that practically is going to happen is with us in most of our ministries is we are going to have a team of people engaged in educational ministries in the life of the church. Pastor will be a player. I would say that the pastors key role in addition to modeling the issue of integrity that we talked about and taking ownership for each member of the flock and taking ownership for the essentials of the faith.


One other way that you could say a pastor, one additional thing that a pastor can do in the area of see is casting vision. So in so many respects, in the life of the church, a pastor can be a leader in casting the vision for See, I don't even if I have a coordinator, don't put the burden on the see coordinator, see direct and say, it's your job to give us a vision. Now that's not your job. Pastor is part of that process, at least if not the leader in the process. So add that to the pastor's role. We might have a C coordinator. What's a C coordinators role? Well, part of what I have in mind is indicated by the terminology that I've just used here. I'm not using the term C director generally, and I would move away from that. The C coordinator takes away the notion that there's there's one person who's charged with this and it actually enhances the idea. The C is happening all over the life of the church. Here's a person who's perhaps called and gifted and equipped to help recognize Christian education in the church and then help coordinate some of these efforts. So three things that come to mind here. Again, this is a vision caster casting vision, along with the senior pastor and other leaders of the church, whether they be elders, some leaders identify leaders are casting vision and the C coordinators. Part of that is other main job is coordinator or her main job or his main job is coordinating some of these educational efforts. In other words, getting the left hand to talk to the right hand in the life of the church and seeing helping people see, for example, how the worship service is contributing to this and what role Sunday school can play in this.


So coordinating activities, coordinating communication, things of that sort. And then the third area, key area would be in the area of curriculum oversight, curriculum development. Sometimes that'll mean helping people develop materials for teaching and plans for teaching. Sometimes it will mean evaluation of materials, and sometimes it will mean guiding a process of adaptation of materials so that they'll be more relevant for people like that, those kind of things. But you're also going to have a whole host of volunteers in most of our church setting small group leaders, Sunday school teachers. I want to talk a little bit about how we can go about choosing such people. First of all, the whole idea of recruitment of volunteer teachers in the life of the church and other volunteer leaders of the church, I would I would strongly discourage what we often see in churches where you hear announcements scream from the pulpit. There is a desperate. Need for teachers at grade three. I discourage that because, A, it communicates that, you know, anybody can do this job, but B, nobody wants it, so don't do that. What I would do instead is draw some. Do a couple of things. I would have some open announcements. Yes. If there are needs, you can have open announcements from time to time. But I would make the announcement in this sort of nature. If anyone has an interest in working with our children or teaching our youth or being a small group leader, if you have an interest, please speak to so-and-so about, you know, what our ministries are and what our needs are, or please join us for a meeting after such and such a time where we're going to talk about our our needs and our our interest and our standards for teachers have an open announcement, but not an open announcement that communicates.


If you show up, you got the job. That's what you don't want to communicate. An announcement sometimes is important because I believe that a lot of our churches are full of people who would serve if they knew the name, but they don't know the name. So you need to expose people to opportunities and needs. Don't communicate, however, that if you show up, you've got the job. The other key thing that you're doing at the same time, so there are there are some invitations like that, but not entirely open ended invitations. But the other thing that you can do here is have some ongoing observation. And what I would be doing as a educational leader in the church is I'd be looking prayerfully at people and I'd be trying to identify people who might be the right kind of person to become one of those second Timothy two two sort of people, someone that I'm going to invest in so that they can turn around and be investing in others. So observes then relative to that point of observation, observation can take on a couple of different ways. I'm watching somebody or somebody is watching the ministry, and then we decide, let's consider this. Let's consider the possibility that you might be a person to fill this need in the educational ministry of the church. So I watch somebody for a while and then I let that person come in and observe the ministry. Suppose I've decided someone could be good with a small group, adult ministry, or someone's come to me and said, That's what I would like to do before I let them do it. We have some more observation, So I'll say, first of all, well, let me why don't you just come and observe? Someone says, I want to be a youth group teacher.


Let them watch the youth group for a few weeks and maybe they'll change their mind. So let them do some observation. And at the same time you're continually observing them, observing them in a variety of settings. Paul said to Timothy and Titus, Be careful. You don't lay hands on people quickly. They have to demonstrate some faithfulness. So have some observation and related to this idea of observation, some limited involvement before just taking a person and thrusting them right into a teaching role. How about consider a different kind of role for a while, maybe tied to observation? Well, why don't you come and you hang out and be with our our, our youth group, but not necessarily as a teacher at first. Perhaps you can just come and be one of the chaperons for a while or demonstrate some help in our setup and set of equipment or set and things. So limited involvement could mean have a different role, perhaps a helping role of some sort. And after a person has been involved in a helping role for some time and demonstrated some faithfulness or I've seen them in some other way, maybe I've already seen enough of them in other areas of the church that I've I've become aware of that. Then I can move on to a teaching role. Part of what I'm advocating here is buy as many means as possible. Back to bar raising imagery. We want to raise the bar of the role of teacher in the life of the church. Our teachers shouldn't be just thought of as the that wherever we find a warm body, we've got a teacher, we've got to raise the bar. Not anybody, not everybody can teach. So here's another idea. Observation. Yes, perhaps we can play with the idea of limited involvement.


I don't know the person well enough. I want to watch them a little bit more. Okay. Not a teaching role for something else. You can be our driver or you can be involved in setup. If I find after a period of observation that I am satisfied that this might in fact be a good candidate for teaching, teaching my children, teaching my youth, teaching my adults, then we let them do it, but we let them do it. For a limited time. For lack of a better word, let's call this probationary period. There's a trial period. Maybe we set up a period of three months or six months, and we're always upfront about this. We do it deliberately and we do it really for both sides. You want to serve. You're motivated to serve. Amen. God bless you. That's wonderful. This might not, however, be the right spot for you. So we'll do this for three months. You try it now. You've been watching us. You've been involved. You know the group? A little bit. Let's try it. But at the end of three months, we're going to evaluate. Of course, you can do some evaluation along the way, but at three months, I'll sit back down. How do you feel about your role? Somebody might say to you, I feel really good about teaching, but I think I'm in the wrong age group. Or you might say, you know, I think your heart is marvelous. But it's pretty clear that teaching is not your giftedness. And maybe there is another way we could do it. You could be involved in the service in another area. So after a limited time period, what can happen are a number of different options. There can be reappointment to a full term.


So one of the options might be a reappointment. What I mean by reappointment is kind of implied here is the idea that for many of the teaching roles in the church, it's going to be very good idea to have a term of service in mind, like a one year appointment. And I'll talk more about this in just a minute. But now you've had your trial period of three months or six months when you feel good about it. We feel good about it. Let's do it now. We sign you up fully for a for a year appointment, for example. But another option might be redirection instead of being reappointed to this job. We're going to redirect to a different role and find another spot for this person. And it could mean you are gifted is there as a teacher, but maybe younger children or older people. Or maybe it means you are certainly called to serve, but not as a teacher. So it is important at this level to have all kinds of different opportunities for ministry available in the church because you don't want to squelch somebody who wants to serve. But on the other hand, this we're raising the bar about teaching here. And so, no, not everybody can teach and maybe that's not your problem. Sometimes the redirection means that at this point in your life, you need to focus on just yourself understanding the Lord more clearly. There may be somebody whose this becomes an opportunity for us to provide some challenge to them about their own spiritual growth. We mentioned term of service, and as we think about these things, again, I would advocate the idea of renewable terms of service for most of the teaching role of small group leader, Sunday school teacher in a year makes sense to me.


But it doesn't have to be that the strength of a term of service again, is sometimes you might think you've got this all sorted out and someone knows they're in the right role, but once they get into the role for six months or nine months, they start to feel uncomfortable or something crawls into their life and instead of just kind of a vague future out there and who knows what could happen, there's a little bit of a window of opportunity that's mutually acknowledged. At the end of this year, we're going to revisit this. We're just going to continually be evaluating. And so someone's stuck in a bad role, but you don't want to just move people around too quickly. They're not terrible, they're not heretical. It's just not the best fit for them. Well, at least they have some light at the end of the tunnel. There's going to be a limit to this time when we can revisit someone's good at the role. No problem. You just renew and you do it again and again. Also, I would say it's good to have a job description in mind when I start recruiting someone, if not on paper, which is a good idea, at least in mind. I should have some sort of a job description so that I can tell the person as much as possible about what would be expected of them as a teacher. Overall description of what the role is and then as specific as possible. This is what would be expected of you. If you're a teacher, we'll expect you to be present here, here and there and there. I will expect you to let us know if you can't make it for any particular reason, know in advance that you won't be there.


A number of items and part of that job description could include some information about a term of service. If I were looking for a person, I would magnify in my own eyes the area of character. Let me give you four words, in fact, here that I like to think of together. Character compatibility, commitment and competence. I love see words. Here's something that I would use. This. I would use this if I was hiring a pastor in a church. Unfortunately, I think sometimes people do, but they start down here. They put this first look at Christianity today, go to the marketplace section often this is what's in the world. I hesitate even to use job description because I get bothered by the fact that we we borrow someone else's paradigms all the time. So, you know, a lot of this, a lot of these will have right in the marketplace section, the successful candidate will be one with excellent communication skills, and that's the first requirement for a proven leader. And that's that's what they're requiring. I would actually among these four terms personally, if I'm thinking about a teacher, I would put this number four. All of these terms are higher on the on the order of priority for me. Because your character. Why? Because your character will be the most essential teacher. Your words will come and go. It'll be significant, but your character will linger in people's minds for a long time. Compatibility is this person who wants to be a teacher, a team player. Are they willing to work with me as the leader of this ministry? Are there is their vision of what's going on here compatible with mine? That's huge. I don't want someone who is. One example of this is a youth group.


Teachers are all supposed to be following a set curriculum that the, you know, the leader had come up with and designed. This is what our folks need to be studied. But a couple of teachers thought it was more important to be talking about the end times week after week with their students. So they're, you know, theories of the anti-Christ and theories of the rapture and had nothing to do with what it was supposed to be. Study. That's a problem. That compatibility commitment is the idea again, relative to term of service. But is this a person who's going to come and be stable because stability is so important? If it's if it's a person who's just sort of doing this as their latest kind of interest or as a stepping stone to something else, that's a problem. Competency certainly is huge, but at least I wouldn't rank it above character. So I would say put character a high on the list. Another thought Be careful as a leader. Be careful not to use people. When we're recruiting people for ministry, don't look at them as consumables. Some of that you can use for your ministry sake. This will be especially important for some of you because there are people in the church who are uniquely gifted with the ability to look at someone else and understand who they are, what their gifts are, what their competencies are, and then know exactly where they could fit into my vision. Sometimes people are like that. I've got people who've done that to me over the years. They can read me like a book and say, Gary, I just know exactly what you should be doing. And usually the what you should be doing relates to their their vision.


And sometimes we find teachers because we've got a vision. We think, Oh, this person would be just the right person. Watch out that you don't start using people. One church I served after a while, we had hired a couple of youth ministers and after a while I was called in several months later to the pastor's office. The education elder and the pastor wanted to meet with me and the education elder was demanding that we fire these two youth ministers. We've got to fire them. They're not there. They're just horrible. They're not getting the job done. Well, my thought was, wait a second. When we brought these people onto our staff, we became responsible for them as well. And you can't just flippantly treat them like pieces of meat. That's a different mentality. This is the kingdom of God. This is the church. This is not simply a task oriented kind of thing. It was heresy, that's one thing. But what I have in mind specifically here is the model of Jesus. Jesus is going to use the apostles in his ministry, but he's not a user of the apostles. They become a part of his ministry team. He sends them out two by two. They are engaged in the task, but he is also committed to them. They are his sheep. Remember in this respect, remember that the way you treat your teachers will become the model that they use for their ministry. So you are accountable to them and don't use them, shepherd them as well, ministered to them and how you administer to them will become their model of ministry to others as staff grows with growth. Let's say it this way with growth, give increasing attention to giftedness, with growth of a ministry, give more and more attention to specific giftedness.


In other words, I think always character is essential. But as as the ministry grows more and more, I want to find complementary gifts to. Come alongside of me. You often hear the idea of staff to your weakness. That's a good principle. Keeping in mind that character still is predominant and in importance. You still want to have openness to say, You know, I primarily gifted as a people person and our task is suffering for it. So maybe I can find someone who is really gifted in the area of task we come alongside. Or I'm primarily gifted as a teacher, but we could really benefit from having someone with administrative gifts to think of such things. Also, in terms of growth staff with vision in mind, sometimes we staff only to maintain the status quo. You could say, well, you know, maybe you're in an inner city and you have a large Hispanic community right at the door and you're thinking about hiring additional staff for the church. And some would suggest maybe we should hire a Spanish speaking minister. And someone says, well, we don't have any Spanish speaking people in our church. Why would we do that? Some one person's thinking about staffing to maintain status quo. The other person is thinking about staffing for vision. So some of our staffing might be ministry with the idea that we're weak in this area. We need to get strong, and the only way we're going to get strong is by staffing, by putting some priority there. So staff with vision in mind. Here's some things about once we get the team together, how we can work with them, working with the team. Simple thoughts. Pray together regularly, pray together regularly. Whoever my team is, if I'm the senior pastor and we have a pastoral staff where I'm a seed coordinator and we have several key leaders, or I'm a Sunday school, I'm a youth director and I have several teachers, pull your staff together for regular times of prayer, train them continually ongoing training.


I'll offer little suggestion for this when we reach the close here equipping for ministry. Third, involve them in personal ministry to students, challenge them towards personal ministry, not just you and your group or you in your class. Then you and your sheep one by one. That same kind of mentality that I need to have, I want them to have. It's not a group, it's about individuals increasingly involve them also in decision making. This is paying attention to maturity levels and growth, but as they get older, are in the faith or it becomes more apparent that they're ready for this, let them join you in making some of the decisions, delegate tasks and opportunities. But if you do so, make sure you provide support, follow up and evaluation. I found that as a pastor and as a Christian education director, I was sometimes I was pretty good at delegating, giving jobs away, but often I was very poor at follow up and providing the resources to help those folks succeed. When I've delegated some authority, like suppose we have a small group ministry and I want to delegate to someone a retreat to kick off the small group for the year. We're going to have a weekend retreat to kick off our small group ministry. And guess what? You're in charge. Well, it's one thing to put someone in charge and you feel really good about that, but you have to help set them up for success and follow up an evaluation afterwards is critical. Here's a thought from Paul. The Timothy Timothy is supposed to watch his own life, but also I think now if Timothy's bringing other people to work for him, he's also obligated to watch their lives and to watch their doctrines and encourage them to do the same.


If I have other people who are under me, remember, that doesn't mean I'm not accountable. I'm still ultimately accountable for my sheep. So I'm watching my life and doctrine, but I'm also watching my teachers lives and watching their doctrine. Seven point Encourage relationships of accountability not only between the teacher and me, but teachers amongst one another. Teachers among one another encourage members to have relationships of accountability with one another. One of the things I put on a job description for teachers is sort of relates to this. If if I am asking you to teach teenagers, one of the things that I'm expecting of you is that you will be regularly engaged in the churches ministries which are aimed at you. Some people are eager to be a teacher, but they don't want to be a learner. And given that modeling is the greatest act of teaching, they're not going to be a good teacher. So if you want to be at youth group teacher, I'm expecting you to be involved in the adult Bible studies of the church and you need to have some good relationship with peers. Be prepared to manage conflicts that may arise. Between team members, provide spiritual nurture and direction to your team members, spiritual nurture and direction to your team members. This is a reminder of what we said about parents feed them as believers themselves. I look at my team as a as a small group. There's a there's a movement out. I think there's actually a book by this title from Committee to Communities. And what you see in that book, from committees to communities where we're recognizing one of the problems of people not having enough time to do everything in the life of the church. One way to work with that reality is the way the area, the arenas in which people are served and you have teams of servers, let those teams of servers be also teams of learners and teams of of sheep growing together.


So even my group of teachers becomes kind of a small group in a sense. I can let it be that. As I said before, remember that how I minister will become their model for ministering to others. Here I say youth, but the same is true for any age group. I'm providing the the mold that other schools sort of be conformed to one way or another. Two more thoughts here. Provide a forum for feedback from volunteers and a forum for feedback from volunteers, both individually and as a group. So I want to have occasional meetings with these folks one on one. How are you feeling? What do you think about the ministry? What do you think about the direction that we're in? And anything that I can ask the group, What do you think about the way we're directing things right now? Suggestions for me as a leader. What could you offer for that? And then, as we said, this is just a repetition here at this point. Consider having designated links of length of time so you can just write down length of time. Terms may be renewable. I like that idea. May not work in every context, but it's work for me. So consider terms. Go back to that point up above about train them continually. Here's one model that I've used before about meetings with teachers and leaders on a daily basis. I'll pray for them on a daily basis. I'll pray for them on a weekly basis. We'll have a brief meeting for prayer together. And this might be, for example, if we're talking about a Sunday school group of Sunday school teachers and Sunday school starts at 930, let's get together at 9:00. We'll get together. We'll just lift the whole time up to the Lord, will pray together.


And if there's any urgent things that we need to talk about, we can do that together on a monthly basis to have some sort of a planning time together now instead of a half hour time. Now we're talking maybe a couple of hours get together for a lengthier period of prayer, lengthier period of prayer or planning, whatever. We need to talk about what events are coming up, what things that are coming up in our curriculum plan that we need to address briefly at least once a month. I think he'd want a little bit longer meeting and then something like this on a quarterly basis or semiannual basis. I would I would want to have a time specifically about our curriculum. Let's get together and talk about what we're all going to be teaching in the next quarter. And remember, remember what we had suggested about cultural congruence and the need to adapt materials. This is one of the things I'd be looking at. I'd be making sure that teachers know why we're teaching, what we're teaching, and then we'd spend some time brainstorming together about how to teach this stuff better so we can come together for some brainstorming time. How can we make this content more pertinent, appropriate, relevant for our learners? So all those ideas we talked about yesterday about look at the illustrations that are use the questions, their use, the situations that are raised for application, brainstorm a little bit together, and then finally, annually, at least on an annual basis, I would want to have some seminar, seminar or retreat that relates to overall equipping as a teacher seminar or a retreat on an annual basis. And what I would recommend is at each one of these times, take one of our seven questions, for example, and focus there.


So maybe one seminar, one time, you just make sure everybody is on the same page in terms of the why question. And we have we're working with the same conception of our task. Maybe one time the whole focus is on the one question. We're understanding learners, understanding our learners. We're talking about issues of contemporary culture, talking about. You know, learning styles or whatever. But ongoing training, this has to take place at least annually. Seminar all day. Seminar or an overnight retreat, something like that. And this will set you up pretty well for ongoing equipping of the flock. There are a lot of ways to organize for ministry and see. Here's. Here's a typical way. Here's a typical way. A lot of church will have a sea committee or end or a C director who is in charge of a sea ministry that has all kinds of directors or overseers of specific ministries. This might be, you know, a director of vacation Bible school. This might be a nursery director. This might be a children's church director. This might be elementary Sunday school and youth and college. Something like that. This is a pretty traditional model for Christian education oversight. But it's got a couple of particular problems. The biggest problem, one of the biggest problems is who's on this committee. Churches love committees, and sometimes we do committees just because we've always done committees. And unfortunately, especially in Christian education, I see this a lot. I go around and do consulting at churches. You have a Christian education committee that's been charged with oversight of Christian education, and it's made up of people, and nobody's quite sure why those people are on the committee. Maybe because they were a schoolteacher once where they taught Sunday school once.


But often it turns out to be people who are not the ones who have actually been charged and equipped and gifted to do Christian education in the church. So I've seen situations where I have someone who's seminary trained and called and gifted and equipped to be a minister to children, but they're taking directions from a committee of laypeople who are not necessarily engaged in this hands on at all themselves, are not necessarily equipped for this, certainly are not theologically trained for this. And it just doesn't make any sense at all. The pastor also usually is nowhere in the mix when you have this kind of organizational plan, whereas the pastor here someplace else, maybe maybe this person is accountable to the pastor. That's probably typical. But there are all kinds of issues here that I would question. I'm going to propose something else. I think there need to be two key levels of leadership in the church here. This is a a ministry staff at the larger level of the church. And notice that here is a senior pastor, if that's the model that you're working with. But the other key thing here are these words. I like the idea of one thinking of city leadership on one level as a C e, there's a person who's charged with oversight here, who's regularly communicating with a person who's in charge, also with oversight of worship, and a person who's charged with oversight of outreach. And the senior pastor could be that the senior pastor is wearing one of these hats, as well as the role of senior pastor. But what I've done here is I've made I've done this in order to make sure the church always stays vigilant about having attention to these three great tasks.


These are the three great tasks of the church. They'll never go away. Worship, outreach, Christian formation. We need to have them. But what I'd like to see is sometimes the church will do this, but the person who is charged with sort of helping coordinate worship usually often this means music, which is problematic by itself, but sometimes this person never has ongoing conversations with this person. And that's a that's a gaping hole in our thinking. So what I can envision is maybe every other week this team of leaders, key ministry leaders get together and perhaps what happens is they take turns wearing hats. So our focus this week will be worship. And now everybody puts on a hat of worship and thinks about worship together. And we brainstorm together and where it makes sense for us. If our discussion is one week, we all put on our Christian education ends. And now the focus of our conversation is Christian education. And the worship leader is being challenged to think about how does our worship service teach? What kind of Christians are we building for there? And we're we're making the worship person or personnel put on a Christian ed hat and think about that. And we're also thinking about the outreach person is thinking, well, we're out there getting new Christians and bring them in in the church, but what kind of people are they becoming? How are we handing them off? How are we making sure they get discipleship? So each time we gather together. We put on a different hat. We think together, we brainstorm together. I'm fighting against an over compartmentalization of ministry and over specialization of ministry here. But talking about these things and moving away from over specialization and recognize we all contribute to Christian formation here.


So let's talk about it. And then under each of these heads, probably you could have a leadership team that specifically relates to this. So there could be an outreach leadership team and a worship leadership team, but there will also be a Christian education leadership team. And the key difference between this and the typical SAE committee is that what I put on here, the people I put on here are the people who are actually called by the church to do the work. This isn't just five people who have opinions about Christian education. These are the people who are doing Christian education in the church because they're called to do it. They're gifted to do it. They're equipped to do it. So the key players here are a youth pastor, adult pastor, preschool, whatever also includes someone who represents the parents perspective, but is not necessarily in one of those other roles. If you want to, you can include also an elder or a deacon. And now I have a C coordinator who's regularly meeting with the pastor and other church leaders to get a sense of what's our C vision, what are our C commitments? And then I in turn go to this team of people who are charged to implement the C vision. We talk about implementation primarily. There's give and take this back and forth here. One more person to note on this plan is the idea of a Christian service coordinator. Sometimes this would be a person whose job in the church is. Whenever we identify someone who's ready to serve, we help them find the right place to serve. Trying to do battle against what often happens is the fight for the warm body, for someone just ready to serve. And it's whoever gets them first.


An awareness. This is you ready to serve? Well, go see our Christian Service coordinator. That person's job is to assess a little bit of who you are. And also, this person has a finger on the pulse of the church and knows what the church's needs are. And we'll try to find some connection here. We're not going to fight and compete over people. What I like about this, first of all, the senior pastor is engaged intentionally now in the Christian education discussion. All the leaders are thinking about Christian education. We're fighting against specialization. The people who are charged with C oversight are the people who are actually called and gifted to do it and not a group of interested others. You'd be surprised. Christian Education Consulting a church is problem number one has been so far. My experience has been this committee that's been there forever. Nobody knows why they're there, but it's not working.