Certification deeply impacts ministry
May 16 2003 by Kristen Muse , Minister with children, Hayes-Barton Baptist Church, Raleigh

Certification deeply impacts ministry | Friday, May 16, 2003

Friday, May 16, 2003

Certification deeply impacts ministry

By Kristen Muse Minister with children, Hayes-Barton Baptist Church, Raleigh

I accepted God's call into children's ministry without knowing much about how to minister to children and their families. The first time I had ever heard of a children's minister was during my junior year of college. I had a background in elementary education, but serving in the church would require a whole new set of skills.

Many questions circulated through my mind as I began serving in a local church. How do I equip the teachers and parents? What are the biblical themes and lessons appropriate for children and preschoolers? How could I encourage ministry to begin in the homes of the children? What policies and procedures should be followed for making children and preschoolers safe while they are at church?

It was shortly after this time that a certification program in preschool and children's ministry began with a partnership between Campbell Divinity School and the Baptist State Convention. As I learned more about this certification, I knew this was the place to find the answers to my questions. After I entered the certification program, I soon realized that I would gain even more than just the answers to my questions.

From the moment I began attending classes, my call was reaffirmed. Even in the first class, I began learning immediately the practical nature of this program. I left class knowing how I could use the information and skills in my local church.

Other classes in the program caused me to think outside of the box. I had to first struggle with my own theology in order to decide what was age appropriate for preschoolers and children to learn. Listening to other students and their ideas became an important part of this experience.

Two avenues exist for taking classes in the certification program. The first is to take classes on the campus of Campbell University. The second way is to take each course in an intensive manner during two weekends each semester. I was able to take classes through both methods. I believe this really enhanced the type of education I received from the certification.

At Campbell, I sat in classes with people in all types of ministry settings. Hearing viewpoints from pastors, youth ministers and adult educators allowed me to think through my own beliefs and find ways that would work for all types of people involved in a local church. The intensive classes were mostly composed of people working in children's ministry. Although one would think that this group of people would always come to the same conclusion, many diverse ideas were debated and discussed. Class discussions continued through lunch and dinner, and sometimes even into the late evening.

The preschool and children's ministry certification has deeply impacted the way I do ministry. It has taught me how to equip teachers and parents; how to look for age appropriate materials for preschoolers and children; how to design ministries that match the mission of the church; and how to make sure that preschoolers and children are safe. These are just a few of the practical ways I have benefited.

I also finished this certification with a new focus in ministry - family ministry. Family ministry causes me to think outside of how children's ministry usually occurs. It causes me to minister to the entire family unit. This new understanding of my calling to ministry was one of the greatest benefits of the certification program.

The other major benefit was the network of ministry colleagues that came from the time spent learning together in class. Building relationships with other ministers who understand your joys and struggles and who continue to support and encourage you throughout your ministry is rare, but it is a natural overflow from the preschool and children's ministry certification.

Thank you, Dr. Royston and the Baptist State Convention, Deans Cogdill and Powers and Campbell University Divinity School for providing this avenue of ministry preparation for me and other ministers across our state.

(EDITOR'S NOTE - For more information about the Preschool and Children's Ministry Certification contact Janice Haywood at jhaywood@bscnc.org or call (800) 395-5102, ext. 431.)

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5/16/2003 12:00:00 AM by Kristen Muse , Minister with children, Hayes-Barton Baptist Church, Raleigh | with 0 comments
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