Over the past several years, I have been focusing more and more energy on discipling and mentoring students. At Cataylst this past year Andy Stanley challenged leaders with this statement, “teach people to do what you do.” Pretty basic right. I have been looking at different things in my ministry I do on a regular basis and trying to teach and empower students to learn to fill those roles.
I made the decision to stop getting adult co-teachers each quarter but instead to pair up an experienced teacher with a young inexperienced teacher or better yet a student. So this quarter has been our first try, it has been really good, and really bad. Haha I thought I would share some insights and things I have learned from the first go around that could help those in ministry beginning in this process.
This quarter our High School class has been taught by a guy who has been teaching for me for a while. He is a fireman and has to miss every 3rd Sunday. I paired him up with one of our seniors in High School who does a good job teaching and is contemplating going into ministry. Our Jr. High class has been taught by me and a 9th grader who has taught a couple of times in the past and has really enjoyed it.
- Prepare to be frustrated, because you will. Especially, when dealing with students. There will be a time they will not show up. Whether, they didn’t have a ride, they forgot, something happened. Just because they don’t show up does not mean they will call and let you know they won’t make it. You must remember these are teenagers, and part of this process is mentoring them through these issues. I have had to let them know on several occasions when you say you will be somewhere, be there. If something urgent comes up, call.
- Create a covenant. I wish I had done this early and asked them to sign it. Also, I would have parents sign it so they know what is expected of their student. Lay out the expectations. For instance, we will meet every week at 5 PM on Wednesday to plan out Sunday. Do not assume the student will tell their parents their schedule.
- Value the relationship over the instruction. The teaching aspect is very important but the relational aspect is even more crucial. Pour into the person’s life first and foremost and everything else you are trying to teach them will be communicated to. Most adults when asked to teach focus on the tasks of teaching. This has been difficult for someone who has been doing this for so long. Yes, I want you to teach your class, but more importantly I want to you teach this student how to teach, prepare and study. The goal is not make sure the class has a teacher that week.
- Have a set schedule. I set up a calendar at the beginning. I would teach the first 3 weeks and they would observe. When we would meet we would talk about different aspects of the class, why did I choose to do or say something a particular way. The next 7 weeks we would team teach. Divide the lesson out and both have roles. The final 3 weeks is all the student. Also, schedule your meeting time on a weekly basis to prepare for class.
- Read a book together. We have been reading “Communicating for a Change” by Andy Stanley. Each week we read a chapter or two and discuss the reading in our weekly meeting. I have found this is very helpful for them because the book is so practical they can use what they are reading right away.
I would love to know some ways you are integrating students into ministry and what are some of the lessons you are learning in the process?