Six Training Techniques for Children's Ministry: An Interview With Pat Thayer, Part 2

Pat Thayer is the Area Children's Coordinator for Bible Study Fellowship of Missouri. I had the opportunity to correspond with her recently and interview her about training children's ministry leaders--both in a local church context and a para-church context. 

Be sure to check out the first part of our interview. This second section focuses on six training techniques Pat has found to be effective for training in the local church.  

Jeff:  What training techniques have you found to be effective in the local church?

Pat: Effective training sessions are interactive and informative. Team members want it to be worth their time. It is also best to give small amounts of information or layer the training so that the team member can absorb it. Here are some ways that we approach training at my church:

  1. INTERVIEW: After an application and screening, a welcome interview done by a service coordinator at the service where the person will serve begins the process of training. In addition to developing community and discovering the person's personal and spiritual background, basic safety and security procedures can be reviewed.
  2. OBSERVATION/HANDS-ON: Placing the new team member in the class room with a specially designated person who leads well and has been given some guidance on welcoming the team member and on what to show the new team member makes their first class experience a positive one. 
  3. WEEKLY: Two minute trainings at pre-service meetings on topics such as, "Greeting Children and Parents," "Separation Anxiety," and "Understanding Special Needs" continues to equip all team members.
  4. ONGOING: Additional layers of training on topics, such as, managing the classroom or specifics for your curriculum, can be done in larger doses by scheduling longer training sessions around the times of church services. It is important to create the expectation that each team member will attend these training sessions, so they can learn and grow. These also foster community for the team members.
  5. COACHING: At times, I also go into the classrooms to observe and coach team members. This provides them with coaching for their particular needs in each classroom.
  6. EXAMPLES:  Team members have said that it is helpful for them to see me or the children's ministry leaders teach the kids so they can see how the training looks when put into practice.

I think Pat's six training techniques are incredibly helpful. Is there anything we've left out? What do you do to train leaders? Leave a comment below to let us know.