So you — a wise clergy member, a bright seminarian, a dedicated lay volunteer, a dauntless Christian Ed director, or a terrific example of whatever else you happen to be at your church — have made the commitment to be your parish’s ChurchNext administrator. You’ve gotten the subscription. You’re ready to explore that course list. You’re rarin’ to go. You meet with the clergy. They are excited! You use a course in adult formation. It’s awesome! You’re off!
That initial burst of enthusiasm is a great springboard into using ChurchNext courses, but you, intrepid ChurchNext administrator, will need to keep pushing along to keep the courses useful in your parish’s activities, especially over the first year. The various branches of your church will probably want your input on how to make use of this resource since they won’t know as much about it as you do. Remember that they don’t all know what courses are available. They may not know that the church even has access to this resource. In many cases, you will need to suggest ways to use ChurchNext as part of your parish’s life.
We particularly recommend that ChurchNext administrators who are lay volunteers rather than staff members emphasize a proactive approach to letting people know what courses exist. Volunteers don’t have the opportunity that regular staff meetings offer to offer suggestions as to how ChurchNext courses might be relevant to your church’s ministries, so don’t be shy. Tell people! They can’t use the courses if they don’t know they have access to them.
Here are some tips to get your church in the habit of using their subscription to ChurchNext in parish activities:
- Keep up with ChurchNext course offerings. It will help you to know what resources might help with what ministries if you glance over our recent course offerings from time to time. We write a blog post every time we launch a new class, so you can scroll through the blog and read about recent course offerings, and we also post about them on Facebook and Twitter. You can also keep up with other relevant ChurchNext options, such as our certification programs and our curricula in this way.
- Meet with the Clergy. Set up meetings with the rector, or perhaps with anotherclergy member who works with adult Christian formation, as often as seems reasonable. Try annual or biannual meetings to begin with.
Consider scheduling these meetings for July or August and right after Christmas since those are times when churches often plan fall and spring programming. Talk to the clergy about the parish’s goals for the coming months and projects that are in the works, and consider ways in which ChurchNext courses might be useful in supporting those goals and ministries.
- Find courses that support current church goals. Let’s say that in your meeting with the clergy, you discover that the church really wants to emphasize reaching out and welcoming the local community to your church over the coming year. You remember from perusing the course list that we have some classes about those topics. You might suggest to the clergy that a session or two of adult formation cover Stephanie Spellers’ Radical Welcoming course. Or you might get in touch with the welcoming committee and suggest that they use Welcoming Visitors with Elizabeth Geitz as part of training people in this ministry. Be creative and proactive! There are all kinds of ways to help support the church’s goals with ChurchNext courses.
We hope that these ideas help you as you incorporate this new resource into your church’s habits, routines, and ministries. Tune in next week, when we offer three MORE ways to keep ChurchNext active in the life of your church. (Update: we have added a second post on this topic.)