The second meeting of the education summit was held on Thursday, May 28th. It was a great time of thinking and brainstorming, as reported below. Now our task is to evaluate the ideas that have been coming out, to establish the pros and cons of these ideas, flesh out details, and come up with a coherent plan for moving forward in the area of education at Trinity. Iâ€™d like to ask you to prayerfully begin that evaluation process even as you read this blog, and to provide feedback by means of the survey link at the end.
We began this meeting by reviewing the guiding principles which govern the whole discussion – specifically the churchâ€™s vision statement and our ministry plan for the year. The focus of the vision statement is on building disciples through commitment to five core purposes of the church. The focus of the ministry plan this year is on building community â€“ recognizing that we are all part of the body and developing and benefiting from the strengths of this God ordained community.
Next, we talked through many of the education ministries at Trinity, celebrating the many good things God has done through these ministries and noting areas where they require attention and improvement.
The areas of ministry reviewed were:
Age Integrated Sunday School
Age Graded Sunday School and Junior Church
Sunday Morning Small Groups
Regular Small Groups
Notes taken during the meeting are available here. (Those of us who took notes apologize for any mis-representation of the actual presentations by the ministry leaders.) Immediately following the presentations we asked ourselves what common themes seemed to emerge from this review. We listed several:
- Many ministries can celebrate the impact of studying Gods Word. Sometimes the depth of study of Godâ€™s Word is not a great as desired.
- Many ministries can celebrate the dedicated leaders God has provided. Often these same ministries arenâ€™t doing as good a job as they would like at preventing burnout and providing for new leaders through mentoring.
- We need to improve communication from the ministries, and coordination and scheduling among the ministries. Ministries suffer from a common time constraint (not enough time to get it all done) and manpower constraint (not enough help / leadership)
- Most of our ministries are concerned with problems of discipline, especially the issue of people (children) being where they need to be rather than straying around the building.
- Many of these ministries are focused exclusively on Sunday â€“ Sunday becomes a pressure cooker and the rest of the week a vacuum.
This led us into the actual brainstorming session, in which we asked ourselves what creative ideas could help us to modify our education ministries both to address the needs identified and to be more faithful to the churchâ€™s vision and ministry plan.
I have attempted to organize and even somewhat prioritize these brainstorming ideas. The following sequence lists them roughly in terms of effort required and impact on the life of the church. I have also attempted to pair contrasting or mutually exclusive ideas so that you can quickly see the impacts of the choices we will be making. This has meant occasionally adding the status quo as an option, even if it wasnâ€™t spoken at the meeting. Finally, I have attempted to include every idea written down at the meeting, including those which donâ€™t quite fit into the organizational scheme.
Structure of Sunday Morning
(1) Go from two worship services back to one
Sunday School â€“ Worship
OR (2) Retain the â€˜sandwichâ€™ model but make the services shorter
Worship â€“ Sunday School â€“ Worship
OR (3) Go from the â€˜sandwichâ€™ model to the â€˜parallel modelâ€™
Two Worship Services each with simultaneous Sunday School
Have different types of Sunday School with each Worship service, i.e. the first hour could focus on Sunday Morning Small Groups and the second hour on Age Graded Sunday School
Have different types of worship in the church services (traditional / contemporary)
OR (4) Eliminate Sunday School altogether
Two Worship services (probably with Junior Church)
Create a Disciple Making Pathway
- Trinity Vision Small Groups (six week Biblical introduction to Trinityâ€™s vision and to Small Group fellowship)
- Other Groups responsible for fellowship and growth
- Leadership Community
- Create an oversight committee to monitor leadership needs and extend both personal and group invitations, and to communicate the need to step up and participate in leadership.
Add a Second Pastor or Trained Staff Person to minister in the area of:
- Disciple Making
- Christian Education
- Evangelism Outreach
Strengthen Sunday Morning Small Groups / Small Groups:
- Combine the administration of Sunday Morning Small Groups and regular Small Groups.
- Focus on the small group aspect (not large / small alternation)
- Add a non-Sunday component to Sunday morning small groups.
- Allow for Sunday Morning Small Groups with a focus on adults or other non-family groupings.
- Create Fellowship/Relational Groups of three or four families.
- Create Non Geographic rotated small groups
- Assign everyone to a small group (shepherding groups)
Define the content of teaching and adhere to a scope and sequence.
- Do this for childrenâ€™s ministries so nothing is missed.
- Do this for all teaching ministries.
- Give all teaching groups and small group activities concrete end dates and reshuffling opportunities.
- Focus teaching training of parents to equip families, rather than on training children directly.
Communicate the message that adults at church are responsible and empowered to care for children and to monitor behavior.
Menâ€™s and Womenâ€™s ministries:
- Strengthen Menâ€™s ministries, especially for equipping men as husbands and fathers.
- Strengthen Womenâ€™s ministries, especially for different styles of Bible Study.
- Eliminate Menâ€™s and Womenâ€™s ministries altogether.
- Combine the administration of Menâ€™s and Womenâ€™s Ministries
Eliminate Age Graded Sunday School, Life, AfterLIFE and all ministries that depend on age segregation.
Add or strengthen demographic ministries to address single adults, young marrieds, post high school ministries, adoption support.
Do six months of regular Sunday school followed by six months of age integrated Sunday School or Sunday Morning Small Groups.
Create and maintain an organization chart with ministry descriptions and contact points.
Combine the administration of LIFE & AfterLIFE
Create an organization for Young Marrieds and Older Singles
Combine the administration of Childrenâ€™s Church, Age Graded Sunday School, and Age Integrated Sunday School
Other Communication ideas:
- Improve Signage and Bulletin Boards
- Improve the calendar and reservation System
- Improve volunteer coordination (i.e. VolunteerSpot)
If you would like to comment on any (or all) of these suggestions, please use this form on SurveyGizmo.com.Â This will insure the privacy of your comments and will give us a quick way to categorize them later.