If you’re one of the Youth, Children’s, or Family Ministers out there whose church provides funding for continuing education, you might think big conferences are the only way to use that money. Those events can be so fun, impactful, and energizing to your ministry! Often, however, you’ll also need travel funds, hotel reservations, ride-share costs, and more that makes attending seem out of reach.
Or, you might be someone whose ministry budget is too small for a big conference. So, you are looking for something that you can either encourage your church to pay for, or that you can invest in on your own. We’re here to help you with creative, relatively inexpensive options to make the most of your desire to grow in your skills and abilities by using whatever continuing education funds you have accessible to you.
Creative Continuing Education Option One
It’s not a fun topic – but do you know the signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect? In many states, all persons who have responsibility for minors in a capacity like church or parachurch ministry have an ethical and legal obligation to report suspected abuse/neglect. Protecting the vulnerable people in our care is an essential part of ministry.
Take a look at your state’s Department of Children and Families resources. In Florida, for example, anyone can access their course free of charge, at any time. The materials cover the signs of abuse, the ways to respond, and to whom we should report our suspicions. You can also gather resources to share with families to help prevent abuse in the first place. We should ensure that ministry programs will be the most obvious possible place for children and youth to find a safe haven should they be abused and/or neglected.
Continuing Education Option Two
Another skill set that we hope to never use, but is smart to have, is CPR and First Aid Training. Accidents and medical emergencies can happen anywhere, and ensuring you are prepared can make a huge difference in the outcome.
You can search “CPR First Aid Training Near Me” and find an array of training options. The Red Cross typically holds classes often and works to make their training affordable. You’ll learn what items to have on hand for incidents, how to get help quickly, and how you can potentially save a life. Don’t forget Infant CPR certification for your nursery workers!
Creative Continuing Education Option Three
Ever find yourself wondering just WHY the children and youth in your programs act the way they do? If you entered ministry directly or from another career field, you may be missing important pieces of the puzzle. Consider registering for a child psychology or human growth/development course. Taking courses like these, either at a local college or university, or online, can open a crucial window into the ways young people develop. Spending your continuing education funds on this option can also help you minister to the grown ups in the lives of your young people. It’s a fact that partnering with them will deepen the connections in your faith community.
Creative Continuing Education Option Four
Are you feeling like you’re stuck in your leadership growth? Do you feel like you’re lacking confidence? Teaming up with a trusted mentor, such as a Youth Ministry Institute Coach, may be the spark that lifts you out of this spot. A coach encourages you to unlock more of your potential. One on one coaching provides connection with a minister who’s been at this stuff for a while. They understand your needs and concerns in a unique way. The best part of coaching is that it can last for as long as you need. Coaching is unlike a one-time conference, it’s a long-term commitment to your development as a Youth or Children’s Minister.
You Are Worth The Investment
Whether your budget is large or small, you (and your team!) are worth the investment of continuing education. We hope these options open up access for you to pursue avenues to success as a Children’s, Youth, or Family Minister.
Do you have other creative ways to spend those continuing education funds, or options for free/low cost ways to broaden the skills you bring to your ministry? Tell us in the comments below.
Maresi Brown is the Administrator, Registrar, & Interview Specialist for Youth Ministry Institute. She spent nearly 20 years in ministry to youg people and families at a United Methodist Church. Maresi is an avid knitter and resides in St. Petersburg, FL, with her husband, 3 kids, and 2 dogs.