It’s the time of year where kids ministers are enlisting new teachers, confirming with current teachers, and praying for needed volunteers for the new ministry year. During this process a few years ago, I understood the need to be more intentional in connecting with teachers. Yes, I knew their name, but I felt I needed to know them past their name and the class they taught. As kid ministers, we are to care for the adults who serve under our leadership. Here are three ways I have intentionally connected with volunteers:
- Learn about your teachers, individually. I asked our teachers to complete an “All About Me” page. This page allowed me to know more about their family, special days, their likes, what the Lord was doing in their life, and how I could pray for them. These pages provided a way I could quickly learn information about each teacher. I found myself referring to this resource frequently.
- Listen to your teachers. Listen for verbal and nonverbal communication. I found many times nonverbal communication speaks as loudly as verbal communication. By listening, I discovered ways I could equip them, ideas for training, and ways I could support them as they served. Provide opportunities for feedback in various ways. Make sure to value the feedback. One of the quickest ways to build a connection with others is to listen to feedback and validate the person. It may not be easy to hear (or read), or the suggestion may not be possible to implement, but in valuing the person who shared the feedback, you are establishing trust and building a relationship.
- Provide opportunities for teachers to build relationships with other teachers. Teaching in a classroom with children is very rewarding, but it can also be lonely. Teachers miss out on adult fellowship and opportunities to build relationships with other adults. Plan specific times for them to build relationships with one another. Schedule a weekly prayer time. Go out to eat once a month. Make a room available at the church for the teachers to plan and study their lesson together. Organize an adult Bible study for them at a time other than when they are teaching.
Connecting with teachers doesn’t happen overnight, or in a couple of weeks. True connections take time and intentionality. In being intentional in building relationships, I found some of these teachers became my closest friends and allies in ministry. What ways have you connected with teachers?
Delanee Williams serves as a Ministry Specialist with Lifeway Kids. She is a graduate of Baylor University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Delanee has served in kids ministry for over twenty years and is passionate about developing, equipping and encouraging leaders.