(This team may be called Christian Education, Nurture, Lifespan Learning, Discipleship, or some other name.)
What Is My Job?
Oversee learning and teaching experiences for the congregation so that people of all ages grow in their understanding of the gospel and become better equipped for daily living as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. Lead the congregation to understand the importance of lifelong growth and learning as Christian disciples.
An effective leader will assure that people of all ages will have opportunities for learning so that they will grow in their understanding of the gospel and become better equipped for daily living as faithful disciples. The congregation will have a comprehensive plan for growth and nurture for all ages and all stages of faith.
Spiritual Gifts and Qualifications Helpful for the Job
- This education leader benefits from having one or more of these spiritual gifts: servanthood, teaching, exhortation (encouragement), leadership, wisdom, knowledge, faith, discernment, administration, helping, and shepherding.
- This leader shows evidence of passion for learning and helping people learn and grow in faith.
- Useful skills for this position are the ability to listen to and communicate with people of all ages; interest in a wide range of educational experiences; the ability to work with teachers, small-group leaders, facilitators, and others involved in Christian nurture; and skills for researching educational issues and developing programs and events.
Responsibilities of the Position
This person will coordinate the planning and implementation of a comprehensive Christian formation ministry so that all people at every stage of faith have an opportunity to grow in discipleship.
- The education leader will identify, equip, and support people to serve as division superintendents (see job description for the Small-Group Coordinator/Church School Superintendent), teachers, counselors, sponsors for children and youth programs and small-group facilitators (see job descriptions for the Small-Group Coordinator/Church School Superintendent and Small-Group Coordinator).
- The leader and education team will be familiar with the overall goals of the congregation and how these goals influence and contribute to the educational programs.
- The education leader will be familiar with United Methodist curriculum resources, facilitate their use, and be able to recommend appropriate resources for all age levels and faith stages.
- This leader will learn about and link with organizations, people, and resources in and beyond the congregation that promote Christian discipleship in the Wesleyan tradition.
- The education leader will make efforts to ensure that people of all ages have opportunities to consider their vocation as Christians and how they may express their Christian discipleship in their careers, occupations, and daily living.
- The education team will lead the congregation in celebrations of worship and fellowship to highlight Christian education in events such as rally day, giving Bibles to children, and the launch of special programs such as DISCIPLE® Bible Study, Companions in Christ® and vacation Bible school.
- Learn from people in your congregation, in the community, and in other congregations who have interests similar to yours. Consider groups, events, and programs that will enhance the congregational plan for nurture. Collaborate with other congregations. Seek to identify gaps in your congregation and community where your congregation can lead the way in making a positive difference in your community.
- Help the congregation understand that a vital Christian faith includes intentional learning and growing in discipleship.
- Learn about the lives of people in your community and especially ways that nurture ministries can address community issues such as family support, grief support, community issue discussion panels, and so on.
- Soon after you are elected, convene a meeting of the ministry team to evaluate, share hopes and concerns, and plan for your work. Share the ministry with others by delegating projects to people in the church or community who have passion for a particular age group or a particular topic.
People and Agencies That Can Help
- Your pastor, parents, teachers, and others in your congregation, the community, and other congregations who share your interest in Christian growth and learning. Be alert to community groups committed to the education of others.
- Cokesbury’s Curric-U-Phone is staffed by professional Christian educators who are available to answer questions. Toll free, 1-800-251-8591; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Discipleship Ministries, www.umcdiscipleship.org/leadership-resources; toll free 1-877-899-2780; or email email@example.com.
- InfoServ, the information service for the church, provides current information about United Methodist resources, programs, and staff services. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: infoserv.umc.org.
Web and Print Resources
- The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, 2016 (Nashville: The United Methodist Publishing House, 2016)
- Charting a Course of Discipleship, revised edition by Teresa Gilbert, Patty Johansen, and Jay Regennitter; revised by Delia Halverson (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2012)
- Comprehensive Plan for Teacher Development (free PDF download)
- 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)
- Foundations: Shaping the Ministry of Christian Education in Your Congregation (free PDF download)
- Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation, 2017-2020: Christian Education and/or Small Group Ministries (Cokesbury, 2016)
- “How Adults Learn,” “Adult Faith Formation,” and other titles, www.umcdiscipleship.org/webinars
- Interpreter, www.interpretermagazine.org
- Keeping in Touch: Christian Formation and Teaching by Carol F. Krau (Discipleship Resources, 2014)
- Safe Sanctuaries®, www.umcdiscipleship.org/safesanctuaries
- Start Here: Teaching and Learning with Adults by Barbara Bruce (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2003)