Lay Servant Ministries Education Committee: Key Points in the Review of Resources
While each conference has its own authority to approve additional classes for its own use, Discipleship Ministries publishes classes designed for use by all conferences. The function of the Lay Servant Education Committee is to review Lay Servant materials that will be offered through Discipleship Ministries. It is important to note that the design of the Discipleship Ministries courses must fit the needs of a far broader program than one local conference. The following includes some of the review concerns the Education Committee considers during its review process.
Leading, Caring, and Communicating
Leading, Caring, and Communicating are the focus of Lay Servants. Do the materials embrace this goal in the lesson plan? There are many outside materials that are worthy in their own right. However, a Lay Servant class should focus on developing a Lay Servant’s skill in leading, caring, and communicating for the transformation of the world.
Verify that the leader's guide is designed to be led by a facilitator instead of an instructor. Is there an excessive amount of time needed by the facilitator to prepare to hold the class? Are the materials complete for the facilitator? Are all handouts, devotions, multimedia, art, articles, and so on, included or readily available? Is there a comprehensive list of needed items for each session of the lesson plan?
Overall Lesson Plan Time Estimates
Review the outline of the lesson plan. Are adequate time estimates given for the activities listed? Are breaks of sufficient length and frequency? Are the discussions and other activities of sufficient length for appropriate facilitation?
Class Flow and Schedule
Review the overall class design. Does it have good flow throughout? Is the material presented in engaging ways? Does it meet the ten-hour minimum requirement for study? Can class be held over one weekend? Is the class also appropriate to be held as a multiple meeting design? A lesson plan needing participants to meet on multiple nights with large amounts of reading and significant outside preparation does not meet the requirements to become a Discipleship Ministries Lay Servant Class. These are Lay Servant classes and not courses. (The Education Committee encourages conferences to approve intensive courses that meet their individual needs beyond the Discipleship Ministries Lay Servant Classes).
Focus and Purpose
What is the focus and intended purpose of the class? It should be clearly stated in the introduction, and the review process should verify that these are fulfilled by the lesson plan. Is there the need for this resource throughout a majority of the conferences? Each session of the plan should state its specific goal and purpose. Do these hold up to the "so that..." test?
How well does the lesson plan use the multiple learning styles of visual, auditory, rhythmic, body movement, writing, drawing, and touch? People learn through a variety of methods. Is the class interesting and engaging for various age groups? Are the materials modern enough to reach young adults?
The use of multimedia is encouraged. If the devotion includes hymns, are soundtracks or praise worship videos included? Are any provided videos more creative than mere interviews or podium lectures? Remember, movement and illustration are more engaging and reach a younger audience.
Materials and Reading
The cost of the books and needed materials should not exceed $35 per person. The required reading should not exceed 400 pages.
Supplemental Resource List
If a supplemental resource list is provided, is it organized appropriately? Is there a brief summary of the work given for quick review?
Updates and Ownership
Will Discipleship Ministries own the rights to the leader's guide and resources? Will updates and changes to course materials be permissible if needed? Are the materials designed to avoid needing updating with revisions of the Book of Discipline, Book of Worship, and the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church?
Book of Discipline, Book of Worship, Social Principles, United Methodist Heritage
Are the lesson plan and materials in harmony with the Book of Discipline, Book of Worship, and the Social Principles of the United Methodist Church? Does the course relate to our United Methodist history, heritage, polity or practices for some or all of the sessions?
Additional Review Checkpoints
Does the course make use of Scripture for each session?
Does the lesson plan incorporate the use of small groups of triads and pairs?
Is a Christian focus present throughout?
How well does the class challenge the participants to take what they have learned and apply it in their local congregation and community?
Are the materials appropriate for multicultural settings?