The One Thing We Must Stop Telling Volunteers in Children’s and Youth Ministry

Are you in charge of finding volunteers to teach Bible classes for children or teens? What do you say to people as you speak with them? If you are like most ministry leaders, you share the dates you would like for them to teach, the ages of the children and perhaps the curriculum you are using.

Those are all important bits of information to give someone. Hopefully, you have already determined teaching is one of their gifts from God. They may still hesitate ever so slightly before responding to your request for a number of reasons.

Rather than let the pause linger and allow the person to give an answer, most leaders jump right in with the following statement. “Don’t worry. It won’t take much of your time. Maybe 15 minutes of prep time during the week will be all you need to do outside of class.”

And we wonder why our students aren’t learning anything in their Bible classes at church! There are master teachers, with years of training and experience who can walk in at the last minute and throw together a children’s Bible class that is amazing. Even they will most likely admit though, it’s not something they would do or attempt to do on a regular basis.

It takes planning to teach a Bible class that is effective for every student in the room. You need to re-read even familiar stories to make sure you have the details right. You need to think about ways to make the telling of the story understandable and interesting for students. You have to think about great questions to ask students using various levels of understanding so students who know very little Bible and those who are ready for deeper level understanding of what God is teaching are both reached and challenged.

You need to look at the activity and adapt it to meet the needs of your students or create one that is hands-on, meaningful, memorable and engaging. You need to pray for your students by name and hopefully spend time mentoring them outside of the scheduled class time.

Can teaching Bible classes to kids and teens take just a few minutes of prep time? Yes, but in the vast majority of cases, the classes won’t be nearly as effective at helping students learn and grow spiritually in meaningful ways.

If you truly want to give your students strong spiritual foundations and help them reach their godly potential, stop telling volunteers it will only take a few minutes of their time outside of class. We need to develop a heart in volunteers so they will become people who are willing to go that second, third and even tenth mile for their students. It all begins with painting an honest picture of what they will really need to do to make a meaningful impact on the spiritual lives of their students.

Categories Elementary, Faith Based Academic Program, Preschool, Special Needs, Teens
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