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“Learning to Listen:  Roadmaps for Effective Leadership”

 

 

 

 

People within our churches and communities are hurting.  Their hurt may relate to physical, emotional, or spiritual pain.  People experience loss due to death, divorce, unemployment, or health problems.  Church members may have conflict with one another and may cause stress and even divisions within the church family.  Christians may become so frustrated and discouraged that they choose to stop attending church services. Church leaders themselves may experience similar struggles. Pain is all around us.   

When people hurt, they become opportunities for congregational leaders to practice the church’s mission to love them and to minister to their needs.  Yet, how can we as church leaders help them until we understand their hurt? How can we understand their hurt until we listen?  Effective listening opens the door to compassionate people-helping. Ministers, elders, deacons, ministry leaders, administrators—every church leader needs to be a compassionate and effective listener.
 
Unfortunately, most of us are not naturally good listeners. Typically, we focus more upon talking than upon listening. To become effective listeners we may need to change our focus and learn new skills.  Effective listening skills do not develop accidentally; they must be learned.  We learn to listen.
 
In this workshop Dr. Baker uses a variety of approaches to help the participants explore and learn effective listening skills. The personal experience he has gained by serving on the staff of several churches has given him important insights into congregational needs. That experience plus his work as a professional therapist qualify him in a unique way to teach these critically needed skills to church leaders. (Length: 3 hours)  
 

 “Volunteerism:  Roadmaps for Better Membership Involvement”
 
Is our church growing?  Are we developing relevant ministries designed to involve members in meaningful personal service to God?  Membership involvement is vital to congregational growth and development.  Individual spiritual growth is usually correlated to the extent of one’s involvement in a personal ministry.  As church leaders, how effective are we in this important work of involvement through volunteerism?
 
Working with volunteers may be similar to working with people in a job or business setting, yet there are many unique differences.  Many ministry leaders find themselves quite frustrated when they try to recruit, train, motivate, supervise, and communicate with volunteer workers. Strategies which work in business may not work as well with volunteers.  Developing an effective ministry based upon the use of volunteers is indeed a challenge.
 
We need to learn how to use volunteers more effectively within a church ministry setting. As we grow in our ability to involve members in meaningful service, the church will grow both spiritually and numerically.
 
In this workshop Dr. Baker utilizes a variety of didactic, discussion, and interactive approaches to help participants explore and learn important concepts and skills related to the use of volunteers in church settings.  The material highlighted in the workshop will further equip church leaders to recruit, coordinate, and support members to serve in volunteer capacities.  The workshop is spiritually oriented and based upon Biblical principles.
 
This workshop will focus upon the following concepts and skills:
 
*Considering Biblical teachings related to volunteer ministry
*Understanding the importance of personal involvement
*Exploring key concepts vital to involvement  
(Personal Gifts, Ministry, Servanthood)
*Discovering our Gifts, Defining our Ministry, and 
 Developing our Servanthood
*Principles for recruiting and motivating volunteers
*Learning to delegate effectively
*Understanding volunteer frustration
*Battling with burnout
*Overcoming resistance to change
*Encouraging growth through personal involvement
(Length:  3-6 hours, depending upon the needs of the host church)
 

“Adult Education:  Roadmaps for Teaching Adults Effectively”
 
As church leaders, we want to see our members grow toward spiritual maturity.  For them to grow, they must learn what God expects of them and how He wants to work in and through them to fulfill his mission on earth. We want them to become personally involved in some service ministry which is relevant and meaningful to them. Their growth requires learning, and learning usually involves teaching.
 
Church members and visitors from the community need adult Bible classes which stimulate spiritual growth.  Such classes require teachers who understand the unique needs of adult learners and who are skilled in teaching adults effectively.  
 
While a few Christians may appear to be “natural teachers,” most of us must learn how to teach effectively.  Developing knowledge of the Bible is vital, yet that knowledge by itself does not guarantee that we will automatically be able to teach adult classes effectively.
 
In addition to knowing the content of what we’re teaching, we also need to understand the adult learner and what teaching styles and techniques will work best in various learning situations.  As teachers, we try to learn as much as we can about Adult Education with application to church settings.
 
In this workshop Dr. Baker utilizes a variety of didactic, discussion, and interactive approaches to help participants explore and learn important concepts and skills related to teaching adults.  The material highlighted in the workshop will equip church leaders and members to increase their effectiveness in teaching adults to change and grow. The workshop is spiritually oriented and based upon Biblical principles.
 
This workshop will focus upon the following concepts and skills:
 
*Considering Biblical references related to teaching adults about spirituality and effective living
*Understanding the unique needs of adult learners
*Exploring individual learning styles of adults
*Using a four-dimensional teaching process
*Developing meaningful tools for effective teaching
*Examining myths and realities of adult Bible classes
*Finding helpful resources to increase our effectiveness
*Learning from other effective teachers
*Working with Needs Assessment and Curriculum Development 
(Length: 3 hours)

 

“Lifting the Bereaved:  Roadmaps for Helping People in Grief”
 
People hurt when they are in grief.  As church leaders and concerned Christians, we may be acutely aware of their pain.  Members of our churches and people within our communities all experience loss:  loved ones die, special relationships end, personal resources disappear.  As a result of such losses, particularly death and divorce, people find themselves in great pain.  They hurt.  They need help. 
 
When people hurt, they become opportunities for the church to practice our mission to love them and to minister to their needs.  It is often true that a person in pain is perhaps more aware of spiritual needs than at other times in life.  Unfortunately, many people in grief who need help do not reach out to us, perhaps out of an independent spirit or due to a fear that we would not respond in a helpful way. 
 
We may be aware of the hurt people experience when they are grieving their losses. We may even want to reach out to them.  However, most of us feel untrained and therefore inadequate for this important mission.  We may struggle deeply with our own grief.  We may be afraid of saying or doing the wrong thing. So, we often choose to let these service opportunities pass without reaching out to help.  Our challenge is to learn how to help and to provide that help with Christian love. 
 
In this workshop Dr. Baker utilizes a variety of didactic, discussion, and interactive approaches to help participants explore concepts and skills which are important tools in helping people in grief.  The information highlighted in the workshop will equip church leaders and members to reach out and help bereaved individuals and families within their congregation and community.  Dr. Baker has set up and led several types of grief support groups in a congregational setting. Further, he has conducted many seminars on grief issues and has worked with thousands of grieving people in his professional therapy practice. His experience will make this workshop relevant and beneficial to those who attend. The workshop is spiritually oriented and based upon Biblical principles.
 
This 3-hour workshop will focus upon the following concepts and skills:
 
*Biblical references about the grief process
*Recognizing the need (types of grief and opportunities for ministry)
*Understanding grief (the grief process and complicated bereavement)
*Exploring hindrances to effective grief work
*Improving our tools (the L.I.F.T. model)
*Considering relevant issues (confidentiality, referrals, self-caring)
*Establishing a grief ministry (support groups, resource library, etc.)
 

“Family Life Ministry:  Roadmaps for Strengthening Families”
 
Families are struggling, both within our churches and throughout our local communities.  These struggles may relate to a variety of issues:  marital, parenting, financial, chemical dependency, grief, depression, anxiety, etc.  Our family struggles are often intensified due to increased mobility/relocation, greater distance from extended family, role changes, economic instability, and a number of other factors.
 
When they hurt, how often do these families reach out for help?  When they do ask for help, to whom do they turn?  To what extent do they view the church as a significant resource for appropriate assistance?
 
While the church’s primary mission is spiritual in nature, the church faces unlimited opportunities by helping families within the church and community.  People in the community may be attracted to the church initially because they see a demonstration of sincere interest in their family life.  That connection can lead to Biblical teaching and spiritual conversion.  Strong families help create strong congregations. The church can pursue these opportunities by providing a relevant, Bible-centered Family Life Ministry. 
 
In this workshop Dr. Baker uses a variety of didactic, discussion, and interactive approaches to help participants explore potential benefits of a Family Life Ministry.  The material highlighted in the workshop will further equip church leaders and members to develop a ministry which will strengthen families within the local congregation and community.  Dr. Baker’s personal experience as the director for a Family Services ministry in a large congregation and his work as a professional therapist have given him a unique understanding about this area of church ministry. The workshop is spiritually oriented and based upon Biblical principles.
This 3-hour workshop will focus upon the following topics and activities:
 
*Exploring the church’s role in helping families
*Examining models of Family Life Ministry
*Assessing needs within the church and community
*Providing Marriage and Family Enrichment activities
*Encouraging counseling for families in stress
*Developing a Family Life Library for public use
*Protecting the family from the “church calendar”
*Working with families during times of crisis and change
*Using Support Groups to assist people in crisis/stress
  (Grief, Divorce Recovery, Parenting, etc.)

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