Serving in the Church: Prison Term or Delight?

At the conclusion of a training conference a man said to me, “I’m the Sunday school superintendent at my church. I came today ready to quit. But I’m leaving ready to try again.”

Prison Term?
So many in the church are burned out because they don’t feel appreciated, they don’t quite understand what they are supposed to do, or they feel ill equipped to do the job they have been given.Let’s suppose a church needs a middle school teacher. Those responsible for filling the position review the membership list looking for possible candidates. People who have done the job before are seen as good possibilities. Approached, in turn, they give answers like, “Can’t you find somebody younger?” “I’ve had my turn” or (I’ve actually heard it) “I’ve done my time.” Being a teacher in the church is a little like being in jail – once you get out you don’t want to go back.Add to that the time squeeze so many feel. “If I don’t enjoy it, if it’s not important I don’t want to spend my time on it.”

So, it’s back to the drawing board. Someone stumbles over a name that’s been missed. Maybe she would do it. She’s asked, and assured, “It won’t take much time.” She says she will pray about it.She says “yes,” and after a bit of rejoicing she’s given a book. “This is what the group is studying. You’ll have everything you need right here. Oh, and by the way, they meet down the hall on the right.” She’s just had her training.

I don’t believe she (or most people) takes on work at the church with the idea she will do a lousy job. But as she looks over the materials, she feels a bit uncomfortable. She’d like to know more about the passage. She has never tried the suggested activities. Could she actually get them to do a role-play? Having done her best to prepare, she makes her way to the classroom. Her students just sit there as if they are saying, “I dare you to reach me.” After a few weeks she wonders, “What am I doing here?” If she’s really dedicated she’ll fulfill her commitment before she resolves never to get involved in anything like that again.

Volunteering in your church’s educational or women’s ministry doesn’t have to be a prison term. CE/P has three groups of trainers that can help you recapture your vision, supplement your efforts to encourage your co-laborers, and help set up a means for ongoing support.To be challenged with the importance of your ministry is paramount. To become proficient in conducting that ministry is equally important. To learn to believe that God will make changes in all those involved – building up his body – is a great test of faith. To see it happen will be a delight.

Regional Trainers/Consultants
The thirteen men and women in this group offer seminars for teachers covering three basic areas: what you teach, who you teach, and how you teach. There are fifteen workshops to choose from including a presentation of the PCA Sunday School curriculum, published by Great Commission Publications. Some churches have a trainer come in every year.This group will also work with Christian education committees and others charged with the responsibility for establishing, executing, and evaluating the church’s discipling ministries.

Youth Trainers
With over eighty years of combined youth ministry experience, Regional Youth Trainers offer excellent wisdom to people called by God to help students come to know Christ and grow deeply in Him. Through workshops like “On-Purpose Youth Ministry,” “Helping Parents Embrace Youth Ministry,” “Thriving as a Volunteer,” and “Group Dynamics for the Youth Group,” these youth pastors can equip, evaluate and encourage both paid staff and volunteers involved in youth ministry at your church. Prayerfully consider having a Regional Youth Trainer come to your church and enhance the ministry to youth there, to God’s Glory and to the good of the youth and youth team at your church.

Women’s Ministry Trainers
Since the PCA’ s beginning, CE&P has provided training support for local congregations in organizing ministries to edify and equip women. Now a national network of ten trainers – joining with the teacher and youth network – are available to come to your church or PresWIC to work directly with your leadership team. Their assignment will be:

To teach women a biblical perspective of their relationships with Christ, family, and church.

To challenge women to fulfill their helper design.

To help women examine the implications of the covenant in their relationships.

To train women to cultivate community by obeying the Titus mandate to nurture one another for God’s glory.

To train women to be channels of compassion by obeying the Micah mandate.

To equip women for leadership roles in the women’s ministry of the church.

We hope that your church will join hands with us at CE&P in the all important task of discipling God’s covenant family-raising up men, women and children to love and serve God with their whole heart and mind.

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