Getting Started - Christian Education
Welcome to the ministry of Christian education and formation. We believe that this ministry is the foundation for lifelong learning and growth toward a mature and vital faith. With intentional learning and Christian formation, we become the people God calls us to be, and we develop gifts and strengths for encouraging and leading others to the same strong faith.
On these pages, you will find articles and resources for becoming a mature leader in the educational ministry of your church or area. You may be a teacher, church school superintendent, education committee chairperson, a paid or volunteer staff person, or an age-level coordinator.
Where to Begin
- As a teacher or small group leader, you are an education leader in a class or other group. Your task is to be prepared; to know your students; to care for and about your students; to provide a safe and pleasant place in which to learn and experience the Christian faith; to support a climate of curiosity, exploration, and creativity; and to be a model for Christian spiritual leadership.
- As a church school superintendent or education committee chairperson, you will lead other education leaders. Your ministry is to hold a "big picture" or vision of what, ultimately, you hope to do and to create, such as "All participants will be well-versed in the Bible and will know how to order their lives on biblical precepts." You will lead meetings and work with others to plan for how to achieve your vision by establishing goals and implementing the ministries that will reach those goals.
- As a paid or volunteer staff person, you will take direction from the pastor and/or the Staff-Parish Relations Committee. Your ministry is one that includes oversight and working with teachers, group leaders, and others. It may be specific to an age-level, such as Children’s Minister or more general, such as Director of Christian education or Discipleship.
- If you are an age-level coordinator or otherwise work with a specific age-level, this site will include helpful information. More specific information for your age level can be found at these links [links]
Regardless of your position, here are some helpful first steps to get you started.
- If there is a job description (or previous position holder), find out what is expected in your church and your setting. Talk to whoever held your position before you or to those who are doing something similar now.
- As as the age-level permits, talk to the class/ group members about their expectations and about what gifts they bring. Remember that you don’t do all this alone.
- Meet with the groups or committees to which you will relate. Get to know the members, volunteers, other staff, students, and group participants. Talk with them about their vision and the church’s vision for your ministry. You might ask them, "In your understanding, what should/could [my position] be doing? What do you think are top goals and priorities?"
- If there is no one else (such as committee members or other leaders) to help you, think about what an effective team would look like. What sorts of functions and people would be most useful to achieve your vision and goals? As you become better acquainted with your role and other church members, begin to recruit a team.
- Become familiar with the resources that will help you in your ministry, such as curriculum, books on leadership, information about learning and multiple intelligences, brain research, Christian formation, age-level characteristics and abilities related to faith formation, any Guidelines titles that are relevant. These should be especially helpful.
Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation: Christian Education (Cokesbury)
Multiple Intelligenges : New Horizons in Theory and Practice by Howard Gardner
THANK YOU for accepting this ministry. You are a partner with God, through Jesus Christ, in the creation and nurture of Christian disciples. What could be more wonderful or life-giving than that?