So you have filled that last teacher spot… take a breath, pat yourself on the back, and remember that this is not your last contact with this group of people. They accepted the big commitment to teach. It is up to the church to continue to support teachers. A monthly appreciation is one idea — a Sunday off, a special Bible study class so that teachers can be fed spiritually, and quarterly teacher training are a few more things your Christian Education committee should be involved in planning to let these teachers feel supported and appreciated, but not overwhelmed. (Let me know if I can help you do any of those things or provide more ideas!)
Now, when you were getting these commitments, did you go to the same people who have done this role in the past effectively? I encourage you to challenge yourself to reach out to individuals who may need a slight nudge toward teaching. There are some great online resources, such as the free ecumenical site Opening Doors to Discipleship, which might be just what these individuals need to make that final step in discerning that they can teach even if they don’t have to have all the answers. The first course on this website deals with some very basic teacher training helps and is easy to work through as an individual or as a small group together so that sharing reflections can take place. The second course is a simple Bible overview. How many times do you think people feel like they can’t teach because they don’t know enough about the Bible? The key to this problem is that no one has all the answers and a good, basic knowledge will be all that is needed. Try to identify individuals in your congregation that might be thinking about taking on a role in teaching and use these courses in a small class to help them to decide if teaching is a calling for them. This will build your pool of people that you can go to when you are looking to staff Sunday School classes again. Hopefully some new faces will emerge and breathe fresh air into your program.
A good place to begin all this would be to bring your teachers to Kernersville Moravian Church on Saturday, October 24 from 10:00-2:00 where they will hear about the essentials of the Moravian faith, what it means to them as teachers, and how to begin teaching these essentials to various age level classes during the year. There will be a chicken pie lunch, a new, free Moravian resource, and many other opportunities for fellowship and learning. Register online today and bring not only your teachers, but also your camp counselors, small group leaders, VBS volunteers, and faith nurturers of every type (parents! grandparents!) so that we all can learn the Moravian essentials for educational ministry.
Beth Hayes is the Director of Congregational Resources and Ministries for the Board of Cooperative Ministries.