Engaging this module
You are invited to explore this module by reading the content, watching the presentations and videos and responding to the suggested exercises and activities. You are encouraged to have a Bible and journaling materials nearby to take notes.
Being a leader in Christian education or faith formation includes inviting others to join in the ministry. No ministry leader can do the whole job alone. Even Jesus recruited others to join him in ministry. Inviting others to join in education ministry gives them an opportunity to grow in their own knowledge and faith; to use the gifts and skills God has given them; to be involved in growing the kingdom of God; to be a blessing in their community of faith.
Calling and equipping leadership is perhaps one of the greatest challenges. In our reformed tradition we affirm the priesthood of all believers. We believe there are a variety of gifts and a variety of ways to use those gifts in service to the church. Educational ministry is but one. In our tradition we believe that God calls each of us to service and gifts us for that service.
In this module we will address calling (or inviting) leadership. Let’s get started.
Calling is a two-part process. First is the preparation for making the call. Then comes the call itself.
PREPARING TO MAKE THE CALL
1. Create a job description for the position.
Be clear about what you are inviting the person to do. Are you asking them to teach a Sunday school class? If so, what age group? Are you inviting them to serve on a committee, task force, ministry team? If so, what is the focus of the role you are inviting them into? Are you asking them to facilitate an adult Bible study? In person or virtually? Are you asking them to join the youth leadership team? Be as specific as possible. Consider these questions:
1) Would I want to serve in this position?
2) What specific gifts are needed to serve?
3) How will these volunteers be equipped and trained?
4) Is this reasonable for a volunteer to accomplish?
5) How long will this person be expected to serve?
2. Brainstorm with others to identify individuals who might be asked. You can’t know everyone and their interests and gifts
3. Pray over your list of names.
MAKING THE CALL
1. Make the invitation in person, if possible…maybe over coffee. Phone calls also work. Email as a last resort.
2. Share the details of the position/job/role you are asking them to consider. Be honest and clear about the expectations. Don’t undersell or minimize the expectations.
3. Explain why you believe they are the right person for this position/job/role.
4. Pray with them about the invitation, seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
5. Mutually agree upon a time when you will follow up with their response.
a. If they say “yes,” tell them what the next steps are.
b. If they say “no,” find out if there might be another area of ministry in the church they would like to be involved.
Volunteers need to be supported and cared for. It is important that volunteers are valued and appreciated not just by the Christian Education/Faith Formation ministry, but by the whole congregation/faith community. Here’s a list of some ways to accomplish this:
- Appropriate training—being well-equipped leads to a better experience
- Note: The module on Equipping Others addresses this topic in detail, including church policies, safe sanctuary, curriculum, and copyright issues.
- Commissioning for service—gives a sense of purpose to the task
- Note: Links to Commissioning services are found in the Resources link
- Recognition by the community—creates a culture of valuing the contributions of volunteers
- Thank you notes—from staff and members of the faith community
- Occasional small gifts
- Pray for them—engage your “prayer warriors” to keep volunteers in their prayers, inclusion in Prayers of the People during worship from time to time
- How do these words shape your perspective on calling others into ministry?
- List three things you have learned.
- How will you implement them in your ministry?