Building a Christian Education Team

Training Category: Christian Education

Building a ministry team for the administration, coordination, and implementation of your Christian education programs or strategies could be one of the most important tasks apart from the discipleship process itself. If you have the right people involved in this ministry, the likelihood of seeing lives changed through the various strategies and programs will increase.

What to Look for in People When Building your Christian Education Ministry Team

Ask the following questions for each position needed to implement the various strategies in your Christian Education Ministry.  (Click on the links for more about that factor.)

Spiritual Gifts: Does this person have the special divine empowerment to do the task?

Heart Passions: Is the person’s heart drawn toward that group of people, issue, or ministry?

Personality: Does the person give enough attention to details necessary for the task? Or, does the person get along well with people if it is a people-oriented position?

Walk with God: Does the person know Jesus as Savior and Lord? Is the person committed to growing and becoming more Christ-like?

Experience: Is previous experience required? Experience can be helpful but doesn’t always have to be a requirement depending on the position and if the person is teachable and you are willing to invest into the training of the person.

Philosophy: Does the person’s philosophy of ministry sufficiently blend with the philosophy of ministry established by this ministry? How critical are any discrepancies to this person’s ability to be a team player?

Availability: Can this person devote time to adequately prepare and fulfill the tasks needed to effectively minister in this way?

Christian Education in Your Church

This content is part of the Christian Education Ministry Manual along with other information in the Christian Education training section of the site. A simple manual scoring spiritual gifts test, which you are permitted to copy, is also provided that assesses only the eight spiritual gifts most commonly used in Christian Education Ministry. In addition you will find tools for assessing people’s passions and personality temperament to help you find qualities most fitting to the various tasks / ministries to be accomplished in Christian education.

For on the Christian Education Ministry of your Church, read the following:

Christian Education: Building Programs or People?

Church Christian Education Ministry
Click to enlarge image in Pinterest & repin.

A previous post emphasized that Christian Education is an ongoing process. We never arrive at a built product. Rather, we are in a constant state of building. But, what are we building … programs or people? As was also communicated in the previous post, God’s objective is for believers to grow and keep growing to become more and more Christ-like. Will your programs and facilities help people grow? Prayerfully they will be used by God but we must keep perspective.

Programs are tools, not the means of growth.

Building up people begins with the cross and requires that we keep taking people back to the cross … not that they attend our programs.

When thinking about how God wants us to grow, we must take a look at 2 Peter 1:3-9. Verse five points to being intentional in the growth process — “make every effort to add to …” but notice where it begins: “to add to your faith.” We begin our journey as believers accepting God’s salvation “by grace through faith” (Eph. 2:8) because of the cross and add to that faith “goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love” (2 Pet. 1:5-7). But, it doesn’t end there if we are going to be effective and productive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus, we must “possess these qualities in increasing measure” (2 Pet. 1:8). The only way we are going to keep increasing is to keep throwing ourselves at the foot of the cross, the basis for His continued working in our lives — “But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins” (2 Pet. 1:9).

Building up people requires helping them get to know the God of the Bible … not merely gain Bible knowledge through your classes and programs.

Are you praying similarly for the people in your church as the Apostle Paul did for the Colossian church?

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that … (Col. 1:9-11)

Notice how the objective wasn’t merely that they were filled with the knowledge of God’s will. Paul prayed that the people would also see the implications and application of that truth to their lives and live accordingly. To what end? — That they bore fruit but also that they grew in the knowledge of God … not merely knowing about Him, but truly knowing Him.

Programs are tools, not the source of growth.

How important it is for us to notice in the context of the above referenced passages pertaining to believers growing, that we find the source of such growth.

2 Pet. 1:3 – His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Col. 1:11 – growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that …

God will undoubtedly use our programs and facilities in the growth process as we build them according to His specifications, but we cannot give ourselves or our efforts the credit. Our programs are merely tools to plant and water the seed. “… neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow” (1 Cor. 3:7).

If we view programs as an end in themselves, there will likely come a time when they are no longer useful to building up people. We will undoubtedly get to the point where Christian Education is about maintaining and perpetuating programs when God’s objective is that people “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” to which we can add, ” To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.” (2 Pet. 3:18)

Next step? – Validate the existence of the various programs you have developed.
For help: Questions to ask

Christian Education: Building or Built?

Are you satisfied with your Christian education ministry?

You could potentially get to the point where you are happy with the facilities.  When I was a Director of Christian Education, my pastor gave me a privilege few ministry leaders get. I was encouraged to evaluate the facilities and make changes. We broke down walls to make some rooms bigger. We divided a larger room into an area for sleeping babies and active babies with the top portion of the wall a big plexiglass window so workers could keep an eye on the sleeping ones. We painted walls, put murals on some, made a couple doors so the top half could open by itself and others with windows, installed new carpet in a few rooms, put in child size toilets for the toddler room, etc. Was everything ideal? No, but I was very happy with it because it certainly was better than what we started with and it was the best we could do with what we had to work with. It was re-built and had the potential of making a big difference in our Christian Education ministry.

You could potentially get to the point where you feel good about the programs you offer.  Along with a facilities makeover, I was also able to make changes to our programming. I turned the nursery and toddler programs from being primarily about babysitting to actually teaching on their age level. I revamped the way classes were structured. In coordination with the pastor, I even instituted a Sunday School ministry that focused on one theme taught to all ages and continued by the pastor in his sermon so people left with one big idea and had a platform for discussion as a family. I developed Sermon Grabbers for children who were old enough to stay in the worship service that were based on that day’s sermon and enabled kids to listen for key truths in the sermon and interact with the content on their level. Many other ideas were implemented that hadn’t been done prior. Was everything perfect? No, but there was a higher level of excellence and focus than previously. It was built in such a way that it had the potential of making a bigger difference.

Once built to satisfaction, is your Christian Education making a difference?

You might have heard the statement, “If you build it, they will come.” We built it and they did come. Attendance grew to higher numbers than we had been seeing. Was all that enough? No. Why? — Because while you can get your facilities and programs to a state in which you consider them “built” … at least for a time … it all needs to be making a difference in people’s lives.

The objective is for believers to grow and keep growing.

Church Christian Education Ministry
Click to enlarge image in Pinterest & repin.

 

Unlike facilities and programming, people never arrive. Christian Education must be about constantly building into people’s lives no matter how spiritually mature they become. Consider the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:10-12

I want to know Christ — yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.

If your Christian Education ministry is about your facilities and programs, you could potentially get to the point where you feel like you have it built. If Christian Education ministry is about people, you will constantly be in the building process. From physical birth to physical death, from new birth in Christ to glory with Him, it’s about helping people at all ages and stages to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18).

In reality, because we keep building into people’s lives and they continue to grow, the dynamic changes and new needs arise, so we find that our facilities and programs must sometimes be adjusted even when we feel like they had already been built to our satisfaction. That’s what happens when Christian Education is about building people and not just programs.

Scripture Memory: For All Ages

Scripture Memory for All AgesIn a previous post we looked at how memorizing Scripture is a powerful tool in our walk with God. Look back at the verses used in that post and you will find that the verses have no age for beginning to memorize nor an ending age attached to them. From the youngest among us to the oldest, we all can benefit from having Scripture memorized.

from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (2 Tim. 3:15)

Age Appropriate Considerations in Scripture Memory:

1) Think about the length of the verse.

The younger the age, the shorter the length of the verse should be. Preschoolers might only memorize a phrase from a verse as long as it is meaningful.

2) Think about the relevancy of the verse’s content.

Due to life experiences and age level developmental needs at the various ages, certain verses are better for the different ages.

You will find a number of posts on the Train Bible Teachers Blog with verses that fit the different age level brackets. Click on the ages below that fit you or the age you serve.

Preschoolers
Grade School Children
Teenagers
Young Adults
Middle Aged Adults
Senior Adults

All Ages Will Memorize Scripture Similarly:

  • Repetition is required to memorize and retain what has been learned regardless of your age.
  • Using a variety of means can be beneficial in memorizing Bible verses at all ages.

You will find more tips for Bible teachers in this worksheet: Effective Scripture Memorization Requires Getting Beyond

Questions for Christian Educators

As stated in a previous post, there is so much to do in Christian Education ministries of the Church. The resources in the Christian Education Files Download provide some guidelines and other helps for some of the areas. I would like to re-frame these topics into questions to help Christian Educators evaluate their ministry.

  • Do you know what your teachers need to make them more effective?
  • Are you using a variety of means to tailor training to your teachers’ needs?
  • Are you effectively training teachers?
  • Are teachers growing and continuing to improve in their ministry?
  • Do people feel appreciated, encouraged, and built up as they serve in this ministry?
  • Do people involved in these ministries feel safe physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually?
  • Are you deliberate in coordinating ministry to meet needs, building some accountability into the process?
  • Do workers know not only what is expected of them but how they fit into the big picture?
  • Does the curriculum promote learning that takes people beyond the cognitive?
  • Are the facilities conducive to learning?

Use the Christian Education Files to help implement a ministry that positively answers the above questions.

Character Education a Good Thing? – Depends on the Purpose

Character Traits

In previous posts we determined that character education must be evaluated in light of of these questions:

What constitutes good character?Is it defined by God’s character or self-determined?

How do we acquire these character traits?Is it performance-based or developed as we grow in our relationship with God through His grace and power?

Finally, if we want to know if character education is a good thing, we must also ask, What is the ultimate purpose in developing good character?Is it for self-promotion and “what’s in it for me?” or for the glory of God?

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.  (2 Pet. 1:8-9)

What is the purpose of being effective? — “whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)

What is the purpose of being productive (fruitful)? — “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit …” (Jn. 15:8)

—– If the goal of character development is simply to become better people, it misses the mark.  Or, if it is with the end of being more accomplished in order to gain the applause or favor of others, it falls short.

God should ultimately be the focus in any character development.  We become more Christ-like so we can let the light of our lives shine more on Him than us.

“let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matt. 5:16)

Remember, for character education to be good, whether teaching traits from the pulpit, in the classroom, or in a discipleship relationship …

  1. God and His character must be the standard.  Guard against anything that makes it self-determined.
  1. God’s power and grace are essential for character development.  Guard against anything that makes it self-effort.
  1. God’s glory is the end result of character change.  Guard against anything that makes self-promotion the goal.

If you don’t guard against these pitfalls, look what you are left with: — “self”

Resources: