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Sports movies always have the same climax. The home team is down, but not by much. Seconds remain on the clock. The crowd is screaming in pandemonium. The coach calls a timeout and pulls the team into a huddle. It’s time for a pep talk, and the message is clear. This is our moment to shine. This is what we’ve practiced for. This is what we’ve sacrificed for. This is what we came here to do. We are seconds away from a win.

As the game resumes, the speed turns to slow motion. The crowd is standing now, in stunned silence. All eyes are on the ball . . . waiting . . . waiting. SCORE! The underdogs take the victory! The crowd erupts! We watch, and tears roll down our cheeks (or maybe that’s just me).

Moments like these occur in real life because coaches know the strengths and weaknesses of each member of their team. They assign players to the right positions so that all the weaknesses are covered and the strengths are able to shine through. They make sure that the players are ready for each game, and they know how to inspire and motivate the athletes to give it their all.

This is a helpful analogy for coordinators like us—we too are called to draft a team and provide structure, training, encouragement, and support for them. We call them to the ministry of faith formation and coach them just as Paul coached young Timothy as he led the church in Ephesus. We invest in leaders to help them shine the light of Christ in the lives of kids.

Equipping and Encouraging
Your role as the coach is twofold—you first equip your team by making sure they have the essentials:
• The leader’s guide (in time for them to prepare)
• Access to a well stocked supply closet
• Access to a photocopier on Sunday morning and throughout the week
• Clean, temperature-controlled rooms that are the right size for their group.

You also encourage them by making sure they know how to use these essentials! Lesson preparation might be a breeze for some, but others won’t know where to begin. Teachers burn out quickly when they think they have to memorize the whole lesson, or that they have to try to squeeze in every additional option the curriculum offers . . . and kids miss out if leaders ignore the creative portions of the material or arrive to class without preparing well.

Start the season out by empowering your leaders to use the curriculum for all it’s worth. Walk them through the material offering suggestions for planning and leading lessons, and answering questions as they come up. Enlist experienced teachers to help lead a training session for first-time leaders. Consider pairing the rookies with leaders who have been serving for some time, so that they can watch and learn before taking on more responsibility over a class.

For more ideas on equipping your team check out this article on setting up a supply closet. Faith Alive’s curriculum and topical teacher training materials can be found at Grow, under “free workshops,” or if you’re not using Faith Alive’s material, check with your publisher to see what they offer. Then send your leaders the link to this network so that they can keep growing throughout the year!

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