When I worked for the Boston Public Schools, I had several school-based afterschool program directors assigned to my department. One of our directors was approached by a local bank representative who was trying to be helpful. In an effort to be charitable to the 60 elementary-aged students in our director’s program, the bank rep offered to give the program staff the day off. The idea was that their bank employees would take the place of the program’s staff and run the activities in their place. In typical Boston fashion (aka snarky sarcasm) the director said, “Sure!” “Sure” was pronounced more like “shaw.” She continued, “Then, next week, my staff can take your employees’ place at the bank and handle all that money for you!” The poor bank representative looked shocked and tactfully explained that it would not be appropriate for afterschool program staff to work at the bank. The director asked, “If we cannot do your job, what makes you think you can do ours?”
Since most adults know children and have been to school, a common error made by grownups is to mistake familiarity for competency. Just because a person is familiar with children or has children of their own does not mean that person will demonstrate competence in teaching and caring for young people. In Christian congregations, there is often an assumption that all one needs to disciple young people is a willing heart. A willing heart is crucial, but working with children and youth requires training. We have to be taught how to effectively minister to them and have ongoing training. Paul gives his mentee, Timothy this advice:
You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others. (2 Timothy 2:2 NLT)
Paul believed that teachers needed to be taught, so he taught Timothy and asked his protégé to teach others. GCI believes the same thing. That is why Generations Ministries (GenMin) recorded a webinar series aimed at equipping those who work with children and youth. The webinar series is designed to teach participants how to connect with young people in their neighborhood and share the love of Christ with them. The hope is that GCI congregations will use the GenMin webinar series as a training tool for those who work with children and youth.
Each webinar was recorded, and the videos will be available for those who were unable to attend through the GCI website for $25/download. We want to equip congregations to be able to train their children’s ministry teams for years to come.
The four webinars we offer include:
- Understanding Youth Culture with Cara Garrity
- Engaging Young People with Ceeja Malmkar
- Building Relationships with Young People with Carrie Osborne
- Starting a Neighborhood Camp with Anne Stapleton
The last webinar takes place October 10 between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The cost is $25 per webinar per screen. With each registration comes a FREE download of the webinar video that can be used for training purposes. To register please click here. For more information, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org).
GCI does not typically charge for its resources like this, but it is doing so to be a blessing to its young people. The proceeds from the webinars will go to support GCNext and other initiatives that support children and youth. It is our intention that the funds we raise will go right back to local congregations and/or to our younger members.
(We will include information on downloading the videos in a future article.)
Please be praying for God to use this webinar series to equip those working with our children and youth. We want to see those working with our young people reflecting who Jesus is in the way we care for our children and youth. More importantly, we want our young people to see it so they can know how precious they are to God and to us.
Generations Ministry Coordinator