When I accepted the position as Education Minister for the Lewisville congregation, I recall thinking, “How difficult can it be?  After all, this is a large, well-established congregation.  I am sure they have everything in place.  It will be my job not to mess it up.”  I was immediately humbled as I peeled back the layers of our Education Ministry to realize there was minimal direction or intentionality in the current process.  The class coordinators were frustrated with the lack of interest in acquiring teachers; the teachers were not thrilled with the hodgepodge of curriculum printed off the internet. As a result, our attendance was low across all ages.  Can you relate?

So, over the past eleven years, I have immersed myself in trying to figure out what works best for us in bold yet effectively instilling faith and understanding in our education ministry.

One of the first questions I am asked is, “Where Do We Begin?”  After all, there are so many questions and challenges that arise as one embarks on such an important task.   It is overwhelming and can be defeated without clear direction.  So, in my series of articles, I will share with you the steps we have taken to strengthen our Education Ministry.  Not to say that how we approached our revamped education ministry is the only way or even the best way to set up your education. However, I’m here to share some concepts and ideas to assist you and your congregation as you evaluate where your ministry currently stands.

Step One – Prioritize It!

Far too often, congregations state they want an effective Education ministry but do not prioritize it in the church’s overall function.  It is important to continually promote the ministry, share photos and information about it, and allow your church family to see the value of it and their place within this ministry.

Prioritization begins with speaking about it in an uplifting manner.  Make sure everyone is committed to making Bible class the best it can be and not something we use as a warmup for our Sunday morning worship time.

Step Two – Goal Setting

It is imperative you understand what your goals and objectives are within this ministry before you begin.  When you know your precise goals, your decisions and action plan are quick to follow.  As you gather your education team, establish a time for prayer, discussion, and goal setting.  Following a Saturday morning meeting, we agreed as a leadership team, we wanted to highlight two primary goals.

Goal #1 – Grow in Knowledge

Doctor Luke penned in Luke 2:52, “Jesus grew in wisdom, stature, favor with God, and with man.”  We became committed to providing a class curriculum that allows our children and their families to grow in the knowledge of Christ and His church.  We began to establish a scope and sequence of lessons that took them through the Bible, highlighting the nature, care, and teachings of God.  We trashed the current “shotgun” lesson approach and intentionally structured a format that flows through both the Old and New Testaments on a level in correlation to their age development.

To aid in our goal of growing in knowledge, we also worked to strengthen our structure by utilizing technology (when appropriate) to help create interest in our classroom students.  We developed Smartboard lessons to provide an interactive component, which the kids greatly enjoy!   We take kids on tours by using YouTube videos or Google Virtual Tours.  We play short teaching videos as one way to “reteach” the lesson they heard that day.  There are so many creative and interactive tools at our disposal; we need to find them.

Goal #2 – Grow in Consistent Attendance

When I arrived at Lewisville, our Sunday Bible Class attendance averaged 63% of our Sunday morning worship attendance.  So, two-thirds of our members arrived early for class.  For the past few years, we have been averaging between 80-82% class participation.  We did this through a few simple yet effective means.

To start, we constantly talk about our Bible classes and how they will benefit each family member.  We talk about what we love and what is of interest to each of us with one another.  In our daily lives, we talk about sports, family, jobs, and the like…why not talk about Bible class?!?  When you get excited about something, it can also cause someone else to get excited about it.

Secondly, we worked HARD to get more involvement from the congregation (more about this in a future article).

Thirdly, we began doing some data collection on each of our classes.  I know this might sound a bit strange, but we wanted to know how our teachers were being received in the classrooms.  We quickly realized if our teachers were class builders, maintainers, or killers.  You can have the world’s best curriculum and the most eager students, but you can kill the class if you don’t put the right person in that classroom!  However, instead of tossing our class killers to the side, we evaluated their teaching style and realized many teachers were just in the wrong age group.  For example, many of our class killers struggled in an adult Bible class, but now THRIVE teaching in our 5th grade classroom.  The kids love them, and they love teaching the kids.

The final step we took to enhance our Bible class attendance was to flip our Bible class and morning worship start times.  We start worship at 9 am, with Bible class to follow.  We found that most of our people will stay for class since they are already here for worship.  Personally, I love having worship first.  It allows me to assemble with a fresh mind and spirit and give God my “first fruit,” worship, if you will, instead of quickly cleaning up after Bible class and then getting into the auditorium on time to begin worship.  It works because when we conclude worship, we provide a 10–15-minute break for people to visit and stretch their legs before going to their respective classrooms.  It also allows us to invite all visitors to class as a bonus.

For many congregations, the importance and value of Bible class have gotten overlooked.  We must take a fresh look at what we are doing and take advantage of the time we have been given to help instill faith in the younger generation and strengthen it in the older generation.  We can do this by making our Bible classes a priority and not an afterthought.  We must set goals to help us set our sights on what needs to be done without our congregations.  I pray I have been able to give each of you some food for thought, and I look forward to sharing more insights in my next article.  May the Lord bless each of you richly!

Kevin Langford
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Kevin Langford has served as a minister of the gospel since 1998. Since April 2013, he has served with the Lewisville church of Christ in Lewisville, Texas, as the Worship and Education Minister. He is a graduate of Oklahoma Christian with a B.S. degree in Organizational Management and a degree in vocational ministry. 

Kevin has been married to his wife, Susan Langford (an instructional coach for Timberview Middle School in Keller ISD) since August 2003.  Kevin and Susan have two children: Connor and Kenzie

Kevin enjoys fishing, hunting, gardening, football, preparing great food on his smoker, and supporting his family in all their various endeavors.