Sunday, October 21, 2012

5 Tiny Training Tips

by Donna Lucas
Publishing Director
Gospel Light /Children’s Ministry Resources

It’s never easy to get all of your Children’s Ministry volunteers together in one place! You can advertise the most fabulous training event and party, and yet it’s nearly impossible to get every teacher to come.

If you’re passionate about Children’s Ministry, you know that these questions always haunt the back of your mind:

How can I help my volunteer teachers see the importance of what they are doing? 

How can I help my volunteer teachers grow in their abilities?

For imparting vision and helping them see the importance of what they are doing, here are five tiny training tips for any teacher!

1.    KNOW the Bible content. No matter how well you think you know it, read the story again from the Bible. (You’ll be surprised at what you’ve forgotten!) Read it again from the teachers’ guide. Mark your Bible ahead of time with sticky notes and a highlighter. Now you’re free to act out the story, tell it in “first person” mode or do whatever works in that class, that day—because you never know if what you planned to do will result in kids getting that “blank” look. With the content “in” you, you’re free to switch up your method to make the “lights go on” in their eyes!

2.    Write the Big Idea or main point somewhere where YOU can see it. This helps you repeat it whenever you need to—and it keeps you on track!

3.    Highlight the activities and ideas you want to use for this class. Then be sure you have all of the materials. With so little time, you don’t want to waste time rifling through the pages or looking for missing materials!

4.    Prepare them socially. We can all remember those horrifying discoveries we made as preteens—feet too big, nose the wrong shape, hair too curly, too straight, too many freckles, too dark, too pale—you name it, preteens are suddenly and deeply aware of themselves and can feel overwhelmed by their worries. Create an accepting environment in your class, liberally sprinkled with humor that is not judgmental or sarcastic. Your preteens will learn from your model of kindness and humor that it is possible to “accept one another…as Christ accepted you.” They’ll feel safe and learn that these kids are truly their friends. This kind of environment will support the bond with the other kids who follow Jesus—because in the chaos of middle school, they’ll need people who accept them and remind them it’s valuable to follow Him.

5.    Practically memorize the conclusion, so that you can say those two or three sentences looking kids in the eye. You want to be able to see by their faces if they understand!

6.    Have two methods of memorizing the Bible verse “in the bag”—again, if one way doesn’t seem to work or you have extra time, you’ve got something fun and meaningful to do!

Even though it can be hard to reach each and every volunteer with encouragement and training resources, the process of building up the skills of your volunteers is a significant part of an effective children’s ministry. Training is a process whereby your volunteers improve and gain confidence in the skills they use. Training allows for growth and development of additional new skills. Training ensures vitality and freshness of the entire staff. And training helps your volunteers most effectively reach kids for Jesus!
Serving Christ through you,

Donna Lucas
Publishing Director
Gospel Light /Children’s Ministry Resources

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