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Teacher Enrichment That Shines

Ali Thompson and Karl Leuthauser

Your team won't want to miss your meetings with these fun and creative plans!

Ahhh...training meetings. You plan. You show up early. You wait. You watch the clock. Eventually a handful of your most devoted teachers trickles in. As you lead the training, in the back of your mind you wonder whether your bulletin printed the wrong date or if aliens have landed somewhere in the neighborhood and that's why more people aren't coming.

It's a poorly kept secret that training meetings can be a sticking point between leaders and teachers. Sticking point or not, though, teacher enrichment is critical to the growth and development of the skills your teachers need most.

You can do something to draw your teachers: Make it active, engaging, meaningful, and most of all, practical and focused. We asked two veteran children's ministers to deliver four can't-miss enrichment plans you can use at any time. These four plans are guaranteed to grab your team and get them excited all over again about ministry--all while giving them practical techniques they can use the very next time they're with kids.


I Have a Question

The Point:
Know how to answer faith-filled questions.

See It: Beforehand, write random words such as tree, toilet, dog, or pants on separate 3x5 cards so you have enough cards for everyone. It's okay to repeat words if you run out of ideas.

At your meeting, say: Kids are naturally curious-and that's a good thing! Although their questions can take us off track, it's good when they want to know more about the Bible and about who God is. We want to do all we can to encourage that curiosity-even if we don't always know the answers.

Let's try this challenge to reignite your curiosity-and see if we can stump each other with good, childlike questions!

Give everyone a card and allow 30 seconds for people to think of a random, faith-related question that somehow uses that topic, such as, "What kind of toilet did Jesus use?" for the word toilet. Then have people form pairs and take turns asking and answering their questions.

Master It: Form groups of four, then have group members each go to one of four areas in your room and learn one skill or technique. After 10 minutes have them return to their group and take turns sharing what they learned.

• Teach Bible Skills-In area one, have people brainstorm three ways to help a child find the answer in the Bible to the question, "Do I have a guardian angel?" Provide concordances.

• Have a Question Party-In area two, challenge teachers to choose one day in the coming quarter when they'll bring in an "expert." The expert can be any witty Christian adult who loves kids and loves the challenge of questions. (Have an "expert" in this area for your teachers to try to stump with tough questions.)

• Answer With Questions-In area three, have pairs read Matthew 22:15-22 to see how Jesus answered questions. Then ask: "When did dinosaurs live?" and have partners go back and forth answering that question with another question, and so on. When people run out of questions, they must sit down. Give a big cheer to the last pair standing.

• Keep a Question Envelope-In area four, have volunteers write one faith question they have on a paper strip and place it in an envelope as a reminder of kids' many questions. Then have them read the questions in the envelope. Encourage them to collect kids' questions in an envelope, then research and answer one each week.

Take It With You: Regroup and then have people from each area share what they learned. Read Romans 8:31-39. Invite your team to explore and pray about their questions throughout the week and to keep asking their own faith questions so they learn from children's curious hearts.

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