Team teaching makes sense in all kinds of ways for Sunday school, midweek classes, and Bible clubs, too:
- It’s safer. Kids need not leave the room alone to get a drink or use the restroom. One adult can go with them to the hallway, while her co-leader stays with the rest of the group.
- It’s more fun to plan with a co-leader. More ideas get generated – and carried out, because many hands make light work!
- No one need shoulder the responsibilities for the group’s growth all by themselves. Each person on the team brings different strengths. Each can do what he or she does best, and the children benefit from those strengths.
- When one leader is unable to attend, you have a “built in sub.” The co-leader knows the routines, the rules, and the children. Outcomes are bound to be better.
Still, reaping all these benefits depends on how you define “team teaching.” If you simply trade off time in the classroom week by week, month by month, or quarter by quarter, the benefits are minimal. It may be easier to get volunteers, at least at first. But those volunteers may not have the commitment essential to the task of making disciples! Just as relationships begin to sprout, the month ends and a new teacher darkens the classroom door. Relationship-building must start all over again. The younger the students, the truer this proves.
So how can you gain the benefits of teaming in a way that benefits adults and students both? Some hints:
- Recruit two (or more) adult leaders for each group of children. Ask that everyone be on hand every week. Explain why and help them see the benefits in relationship building.
- Encourage co-leaders to work out ways to share responsibilities. Perhaps one person can teach the Bible story every week and the other plan and lead the craft. Perhaps each leader can organize all the activities every other week or every other month, leaving the co-leader to provide one-on-one help with late arrivers, behavioral challenges, the distribution of materials, or providing snacks. Perhaps an expert teacher plans everything all the time, but treasures a helper willing and able to deal expertly with all the distractions.
- Co-leaders can “fly solo” on occasion when business travel, vacations, or illness make it necessary. But work to keep these exceptions to a minimum and consider recruiting a “floating helper” who can step in when needed.
Relationship! It is almost another way to spell “disciple-making”! Jesus spent three years teaching and growing close to his disciples. Building on that foundation, they changed the world! What will the Holy Spirit do through the relationships you develop and the Word that you teach?
Editor’s note: CTAinc has dozens and dozens of resources available to enhance your children’s ministry, many of them free! If you are a DCE, DRE, children’s pastor, or Sunday school worker, check them out! We want to save you time and make your important job as impactful as it can be!