Program opens eyes to broader concepts
May 16 2003 by Jill B. Carter , Preschool minister, Guilford Baptist Church, Greensboro

Program opens eyes to broader concepts | Friday, May 16, 2003

Friday, May 16, 2003

Program opens eyes to broader concepts

By Jill B. Carter Preschool minister, Guilford Baptist Church, Greensboro

When I began the process of acknowledging and submitting to the call to vocational Christian ministry to preschoolers and their families, I naturally looked for affirmation and direction from Christian friends and mentors.

One of the best pieces of wisdom I heard was, "A call to serve is a call to prepare."

In part I rebelled at the notion of having to prepare further. In my journey to becoming the best volunteer I was capable of being, I had already been to Caraway, Ridgecrest and associational events numerous times for training. I had toured other church facilities. I had taught in every program and every age level. And I could practically quote resource books on everything from how many teachers you need in a kindergarten class to how far apart crib slats should be. What more preparation did I need?

But I knew the Holy Spirit was urging me toward something new, so I took the only option available to me at the time and enrolled in seminary.

I learned a great deal about the Bible and God, but very little that was of direct, practical help to me in fulfilling adequately the specific call God had placed on my life.

Then the Baptist State Convention and Campbell University Divinity School began a joint effort to establish a certification program in preschool and children's ministry.

The program was offered as part of a divinity degree or as a stand-alone certification. The five required courses could be taken on campus or as an intensive two 2-day sessions at a central location. The intensive format was ideal for my family and church commitments, so I enrolled in the very first group to take this option.

The program was exactly what I needed to be a knowledgeable and effective leader. The courses are designed to equip students with the information they need to carry out various responsibilities that typically fall to one charged with overseeing a comprehensive preschool and children's ministry.

Each course goes beyond just imparting information. Assignments routinely require the participants to actually observe, evaluate and make recommendations on actions in their own churches and positions. The program not only allowed me to serve my local church with increasing effectiveness, it demanded that I do so.

Beyond enhancing my knowledge of children's needs and effective teaching strategies, the program opened my eyes to a broader concept of ministering to children.

It forced me to look beyond what we were currently doing at my own church to what we needed to be doing in order to effectively serve the needs of our community in a post-modern world.

It forced me to look from how I was actually leading volunteers to how I should be leading, convincing me that sharing the work and the credit was a greater gift to the kingdom than trying to do everything myself.

It helped me identify what we needed to be teaching preschoolers and children in order to develop their faith, and to recognize whether or not we were hitting that mark successfully.

In the midst of learning, I also had the honor of developing relationships with others who share my belief and passion that young children are precious in God's sight and deserve the very best we can offer.

I shared classroom experiences with pastors and lay leaders, with church staff and state convention staff, with divinity school professors and new Christians.

We learned from each other and continue to do so as an on-going network of support and communication emerged from our time together.

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5/16/2003 12:00:00 AM by Jill B. Carter , Preschool minister, Guilford Baptist Church, Greensboro | with 0 comments
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