An effective leader will coordinate and implement the various small-group ministries of a congregation, including the church school, weekday groups, and offsite groups that are designed so that a congregation will have an effective ministry of nurturing Christian faith, building Christian community, and equipping people of all ages for ministry as Christian disciples in daily life.
Spiritual Gifts and Qualifications Helpful for the Job
- This leader benefits from having one or more of these spiritual gifts: servanthood, teaching, exhortation (encouragement), leadership, wisdom, faith, administration, helping, and shepherding.
- This leader should show evidence of passion for nurturing the Christian faith of others.
- Useful skills for this position are the ability to listen to and communicate with people of all ages and the ability to connect individuals with others who support and encourage one another as they grow together in faith and discipleship.
- This leader should demonstrate experience in Christian education/formation and skills for developing educational programs in the community and church.
Responsibilities of the Position
- This leader will work cooperatively with the education ministry team or nurture team, age-level coordinators, and pastor to coordinate the implementation of opportunities for people in your congregation to grow and develop as disciples of Jesus Christ.
- The coordinator/superintendent will keep records of groups for annual reports to the charge conference.
- The coordinator/superintendent will develop and carry out plans to promote attendance and participation in the church program for nurture and growth such as church school, Sunday school or small-group ministry.
- The leader may build a team of people with gifts and skills for implementation of the church’s nurturing ministries. (See job description for the small-group coordinator.)
- This leader will look for new ways to nurture the Christian faith of people of all ages and collaborate with others to launch new groups for new people.
- The leader may serve as a consultant for people responsible for the Christian education, spiritual formation and nurture of children, youth, and adults.
- This leader will be familiar with curriculum resources in order to make recommendations for classes and groups of children, youth, and adults.
- This leader may recommend teachers and leaders to the church education team.
- This leader is accountable to the charge conference through the church council.
- Soon after you are elected, meet with the education ministry team to learn about the education, spiritual formation, fellowship, and support needs of people in your congregation and in the community. Work with others to assess your current program and community opportunities. Look for gaps that your congregation might fill with new or additional offerings.
- Share the ministry with others by delegating projects to people in the church or community who have passion for forming and supporting groups that concentrate on learning, fellowship, support, accountability, and service to the community and world.
- Evaluate the record-keeping system and update the process for your annual report to the charge conference.
People and Agencies That Can Help
- Your pastor and laypeople in your congregation who are interested in small-group and nurture ministries.
- People who live in your community.
- Discipleship Ministries, www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources; toll-free, 1-877-899-2780; email, firstname.lastname@example.org
- InfoServ, the information service for the church, provides current information about United Methodist resources, programs, and staff services. Email: email@example.com; Website: infoserv.umc.org.
Web and Print Resources
- Accountable Discipleship: Living in God’s Household by Steven W. Manskar (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2000)
- Charting a Course of Discipleship: A Workbook in Discipleship by Teresa Gilbert, Patty Johansen, Jay Regennitter; revised by Delia Halverson (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2012)
- Christians Engaged in Faith Formation (CEF), www.cefumc.org, a national organization for leaders in Christian education and formation.
- Disciples Making Disciples: A Guide for Covenant Discipleship Groups and Class Leaders by Steven W. Manskar (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2016)
- Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations by Robert Schnase (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007)
- Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation, 2017-2020: Christian Education and/or Small Group Ministries (Cokesbury, 2016)
- Interpreter, www.interpretermagazine.org
- Keeping in Touch: Christian Formation and Teaching by Carol F. Krau (Discipleship Resources, 2014)
- Safe Sanctuaries®, www.umcdiscipleship.org/safesanctuaries