Saturday, April 3, 2010

Is religious ed for children a path to greater institutional investment?

In reading Kate Tweedie Erslev's book, Full Circle: Fifteen Ways To Grow Lifelong UUs, she writes in her second chapter that religious education can be an important portal to institutional involvement.

Erslev makes the case that helping and teaching religious education is something that can begin with people as young as 12 or 13 who help with the pre-schoolers.

Her point reminds me of the idea that you learn what you teach.

Erslev writes that people often move on from teaching religious ed to take on other roles of leadership in congregations like helping with the fund drive, being a board member etc.

She is right that there is probably no better way to learn about the faith and to become personally invested in it than by trying to teach it to others, namely, children.

I like her idea here. The only problem I have with it is that not every one is comfortable with children and inspired to teach. So while teaching religious ed is one way to become more institutionally involved for most people it is not going to be the pathway.

Brockport Unitarian Universalist Fellowship is still relatively small at this point (about 25 regular attendees) and while we have a program for the children it offers only a small number of adults a way to get involved. So we have to be creative in finding other ways for people to invest in the community.

Overall, I think Erslev has a good idea but it seems to me to be limited enough to a select group of UUs who are called to this ministry and so I am left wondering what about the rest? I will read on because there are 13 more ways she promises to reveal.

1 comment:

  1. One of the things I've encountered is that many of the people who are "comfortable with children and inspired to teach" are already doing so in their Monday-to-Friday life, and on Sunday they want to do something different.

    And I've wondered about how this relates to other areas of service within our congregations. Do we ask people to use the skills they already have? Or invite them to try new things, and give them the support they need to do so? Or maybe we leave the choice to them.

    Thanks for the thought-prompt.