Last week I wrapped up an adult education class discussing the book Faithiest by Chris Stedman.  I wasn’t sure how the book would be received, but I thought the message was good and the title very catchy.  I like to teach my adult education classes during the daytime hours (I already have so many evening meetings, a daytime class means one less evening away from my family), and daytime classes generally attract a crowd of retired folks.  Would this book written by a gay Millenial Humanist speak to my crowd of retired Unitarian Universalists?

Yes, it did.  We had some great discussions (I adapted the discussion guide from here for the class, and I’m absolutely willing to share my class lesson plan if anyone wants to message me for it).

I was also hoping to try out an online book discussion on Google Hang Out, but that option didn’t get any registrations and so I still haven’t tried it.  Does that mean that the whole idea of online classes is a waste of time and effort?  I don’t think so … I think the problem was that I advertised the class in our regular Adult Education catalog and no where else.  Folks who might want something different probably aren’t in the habit of looking in our regular catalog.  Oh well, live and learn – I still want to branch out into virtual learning environments and next time I’ll market it differently.

What a Religious Educator Does During the Week

I run a “Sunday School”, so many people have asked me “what do you do the rest of the week?”

Well, there is:

1.  Educating yourself about ministry to children, youth, and families and lifespan faith development.  Much of this is education is done through reading and through things like “webinars” (workshops done online.)

2.  Committee meetings.  This week I had two committee meetings, sometimes there are more, sometimes less.  There are a lot of committees I need to coordinate with. 🙂

3.  Emails. So …. many …. emails.  Emails to volunteers to remind them.  Weekly announcement emails to all the families in my congregation letting them know what to expect on Sunday.  Emails after Sunday to all the families with the “Taking It Home” message of things to do at home during the week.  Responding to emails.  Emailing to check in on people I haven’t seen in awhile.  Emailing with other volunteer coordinators as I try to set up a youth service project.  Lots. Of. Emails.

4.  Cleaning/Sorting/Putting Things Away.  Just managing all the supplies and 6 classrooms that need tidying and sorting.

5.  Teaching Adult classes on Weekdays.  Right now I’m teaching a discussion class based on the book Faithiest.  It’s going very well – fun!

6.  Planning and writing lesson plans.  Every week we have about 7 different classes happen, and all of them need to have plans and stories and so forth put together and sent off to their volunteers.  And then:

7.  Prepping supplies for lessons.  As I plan lessons I keep a giant spreadsheet called “Materials List 2013-2014” which is a giant grid with what supplies are needed for what class on what date, and then I order things, go shopping, make things, do photocopying, and generally prep all those supplies and have them ready.  Which requires:

8.  Budget oversight and administration.  It may not be glamorous stuff, but if you don’t file your receipts in chronological order with the bookkeeper, track attendance numbers, and keep up with all the many, many lists and directories and spreadsheets that are required to manage volunteers, staff, money, calendars, and resources, then you will have chaos and not a successful RE program.

9.  Prepping for Sunday presentations and worship services.  Memorizing stories to tell, mostly, but sometimes other preparations are necessary (pictures slideshows or videos, props, little cards or what not needed for the worship service).

10.  And more: (supervising childcare staff, responding to requests for pastoral care or just giving folks a listening ear, writing newsletters, articles, and blog posts, attending professional development meetings, meeting with the minister, coordinating and hosting social events for the congregation, training and supporting volunteers, etc.)

Somehow, I never seem to have much trouble filling at least my full 40 hours.  It’s almost amazing how much there really is to do.