Thursday, March 08, 2007

Words Come Out

During college I had a couple of friends (Hi Tim, and Amy Marable - whereever you might be) who taught me this wonderful phrase. They used "words come out" whenever they stuttered, jumbled their language, dropped a spoonerism or freudian slip. I really needed those words after my fiasco with the Board of Ordained Ministry yesterday.

Some may think that completing your Elder's track and gaining full-connection means that you are hereby exempt from ever returning to the Board of Ordained Ministry (hereinafter shall be BOOM). This is only true for a significant portion of the clergy. Some clergy, like myself, do go on to do other things that require the approval of the BOOM.

Yesterday I went to interview with the BOOM for Certification in Camp and Retreat Ministry and Christian Education. This process is done through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. The last step is to interview with the BOOM for approval of your area of specializated ministry.

I sailed through my interview regarding Camp and Retreat Ministry Certification, and began to flow into the interview for Christian Education Certification. I ran across a significant stumbling block in my ability to communicate to the interview panel what sets me apart from every other pastor who is responsible for the Christian Education of their congregation, especially since I set myself in a corner establishing that "every pastor is a Christian Educator, but not every Christian Educator is a pastor".

This became a significant point of frustration for me as it became clear that I could not communicate the "right" words to share why I should be certified in Christian Education. This was especially troubling as I serve on the Design Team for the 2008 Christian Educators' Fellowship Conference in Albuquerque, NM. I need to be able to communicate the veracity of my claim to certification. I stewed on it all night, and wrote a few emails, made some phone calls and had some visits yesterday on my way home, and after getting back.

A few words did come out. I am qualified to be certified in Christian Education and this is different than every other pastor out there for these reasons (I think they are applicable to any certification through GBHEM, and in fact they are the reasons I think I passed my interview for Camp and Retreat Certification because I made them apply to that setting):

A. I have received specialized training. I took special classes in seminary and beyond that were dedicated to the practice of Christian Education in the local church. These were over and above what "every other" pastor has to take.

B. I belong to a National Organization (and a local one) - CEF - that is dedicated to the nurture of Christian Educators, by connection, education, reflection.

C. I have a commitment to being educated in this field. Much of my Continuing Education time in the local church is focused on Christian Education - multiple intelligences, new curriculum, history of learning, refining skills.

D. I have demonstrated leadership in this area. By serving on the National CEF Design Team, assisting in workshops in the Conference and District I have shown my ability to do Christian Education, and to lead.

E. I have done fieldwork in this area. (GBHEM requires this element for 2-4 years of service). I have served as the Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries - Associate Pastor for 5 years in a local congregation. I have written curriculum for national publication. I have written my own curriculum for adults, youth and children for camp and for local church studies.

F. I have a commitment to continuing education in this field. I expect that I am not done learning about how to be a more effective Christian Educator, and intend to take classes, participate in workshops, leading same, and being aware of available resources for Christian Education.

G. I am a viable resource for the Conference to lean on for Christian Education. As evidenced by the various plugs in this blog in the hotlinks, and the overly large library of curriculum materials in my office and home, the multiple catalogs on my shelves and varieties of information buried in my brain for extraction I do know how to resource another person in the field.

Now to find the appropriate ways to communicate these things to the BOOM next time I have the chance for interview. "Words Come Out!!!"



At March 10, 2007, Blogger John Meunier said...

I am glad to hear that you struggled through to find some words.

It seems odd to me that the BOOM process puts an onus on you to justify yourself this way. It sounds like a secular job interview.

I understand there is some obligation to demonstrate certain gifts, but this strikes me as a hurdle you have to leap rather than a path you are being helped to walk properly.


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