Part-Time vs. Full-Time Teachers

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FULL-TIME POSITION DESIRED

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Gung-ho gifted children’s teacher desires a place to plug
in; willing to give 110% in ministry to kids. Full-time,
energized-for-the-cause-of-Christ teachers are in the classroom
every week to minister to children. Full-time teachers are the only
way to go! Children, families, teachers, and the future all benefit
from full-time teachers.

Connecting children with the same teacher each week is important
to relationship-building. Some of our children aren’t able to
attend church regularly. As often as children are able to attend,
they need to see the same caring leader who’s consistently there
for them. No matter what a child’s schedule is, he’ll know that an
enthusiastic, full-time teacher is waiting at church to be with him
and guide him as his committed faith mentor.

Families benefit from full-time teachers. Families hunger for
help, support, direction, and commitment from their community of
believers. Full-time teachers are able to extend their ministry
beyond simply delivering a lesson. A full-time teacher works in
partnership with families to raise up children who know Jesus.

Teachers also glean benefits from a full-time commitment. A
full-time commitment to teaching creates unique and incredible
bonds between children and their teachers. The teachers reap joy,
satisfaction, and miracles beyond words.

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Last, the future is wonderfully touched by the impact of what
Christ does through full-time teachers. Our children need examples
of people who are wholehearted in their service to God-not examples
of people who only show up when it’s convenient. The future of the
church is tenuous if children never see adults who’ve made a costly
commitment to Christ.

Don’t put people who are overbooked and stretched to the max in
leadership with children-those who say “Oh, well, yeah, I guess so
if you really need me. I’m so busy but I’ll squeeze it in.” No! We
need people who are ready to jump out of their skin with excitement
to teach children about God.

Kids need teachers who cherish their ministry and the gifts
they’ve been blessed with. They’re motivated to teach children
about Christ with their whole being. Children need full-time
teachers who strive to understand the children they teach-their
world, lives, moods, highs, and lows. Full-time teachers intimately
know how their kids most effectively learn, who they are, and what
makes them tick.

Have an attitude of expectation-that in asking for full-time
commitment from your teachers, God will bring those who’ll say yes.
When I’ve stressed the importance of full-time teachers at our
church-time and time again-teachers have thanked me for taking a
stand. They’ve seen the notable difference of rich relationships
with children and an improvement in their teaching.

Childhood is a vital time of learning, and part-time teachers
just can’t capitalize on these key years of spiritual development.
Jesus said to us, “Lo, I am with you always.” Let’s say to our
children, “Hey kids, I’ve made a full-time commitment to teach,
care, mentor, lead, and be here for you always.” When that
full-time teacher lives that labor of love and gives passionately
to those children, kids’ lives are changed.™

Susan Lennartson is a children’s ministry consultant in
Stillwater, Minnesota.


PART-TIME POSITION DESIRED

Creative, busy father wants to serve in children’s ministry;
team player; desires to develop teaching skills.

Children’s ministry is extremely demanding and exhausting. To
have a cutting edge ministry, you need to have high energy, lots of
variety, interactive lessons, and a program that not only
challenges children to know God but also meets children’s emotional
needs. In our busy culture where the average home has two working
parents who are usually controlled by Day-Timer calendars, most
people can’t keep up the pace.

Before we started using part-time teachers, we’d often recruit a
teacher, and that person would last for a year or possibly two. It
would take a long time, if ever, before that burned-out person
would be willing to participate in the ministry again. That’s why
“part-time” teaching-a co-teaching situation that’s shared by two
or more teachers-is the only way to accomplish quality children’s
ministry and meet the teachers’ needs for spiritual development.
Recruiting part-time teachers allows us to work within busy adults’
time limitations.

By having rotating part-time teachers, our volunteers can attend
some adult services and receive ministry. Time off gives them time
to come up with creative ideas. We find that by the end of
teachers’ downtime, they’re fresh, bursting with ideas, and full of
energy. The children enjoy the variety of lessons and interaction
with many adults-rather than just one.

At our church, our children’s ministry is dependent on part-time
teachers. During the school year, two teachers teach each class.
That way each teacher prepares a lesson every other week. In our
midweek program, teachers commit to one quarter at a time. Two or
three teachers share the teaching responsibilities over a year. In
the summer, our teenagers form teams and teach on a weekly
rotation. This is a great way to get the teenagers involved with
children’s ministry.

We have four teams that teach children’s church during the year.
Our quarterly rotation requires each team to spend one month
preparing for children’s church. The team teaches the next month.
Then they have two months off. With this plan, each team gets
plenty of time to create great quality lessons that are full of
active learning, drama, puppets, and music. By ministering three
times a year, our volunteers have plenty of time for their
spiritual development.

Our model of children’s ministry has made recruiting teachers
much easier. People feel that signing up for children’s ministry
isn’t a life sentence because anyone can give a month or a quarter
for team teaching. As a result, we have over 46 people working on
our children’s staff. By teaching on a rotation, our children’s
staff has the opportunity to be involved in other areas of the
church. People who normally wouldn’t volunteer to work with the
children are more willing to try it for a short time. Of course,
once they experience the joy of children’s ministry, the majority
of these people volunteer again. By getting more people involved,
we deepen teachers’ faith through service and create more support
throughout the church family.

The most exciting element of using part-time teachers is the
quality of ministry our children are receiving. Because of the time
that the teachers have to dedicate to lesson preparation, children
have original and creative lessons. From the variety of teaching
styles, the children are much more receptive to our ministry. A
full-time teacher could never keep up with a team of rotating
teachers. Whether you’re in a small or large church, children’s
ministry has the same needs and demands. This model will meet your
needs and give you exciting fruit.™

Daniel Nagele is a children’s pastor in Sterling Heights,
Michigan.


IT’S YOUR TURN

Tell us what you think about this issue. And, we want to know,
as you’ve struggled with the issue of not having enough volunteers,
have you ever canceled a program? If so, tell us what happened.
Send your letter to “Part-Time vs. Full-Time Teachers,” Children’s
Ministry Magazine, P.O. Box 481, Loveland, CO 80539-0481.

Please keep in mind that phone numbers, addresses, and
prices are subject to change.

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