The work of a minister of education is significant to the development of and ministry in any New Testament Church. Churches employ a minister of education to aid the pastor in meeting educational needs; to improve the standard of teaching; to lead in evangelistic outreach and train leaders within the congregation.
The minister of education must respect the position and leadership of the pastor. He must develop a mature, productive, supportive relationship with the pastor based on mutual respect. He must also see that other educational staff ministers and lay leaders feel secure, successful, and productive in their work. He accomplishes this task by being knowledgeable, supportive, and appreciative of their position and work.
Qualifications for a minister of education include a sense of divine call, a desire to lead people to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, a deep abiding love for and ability to get along with all people, a growing faith characterized by personal Bible study and prayer, commitment to Bible-teaching organizations, attention to detail, ability to enlist volunteer leaders and delegate authority, and a knowledge of church organization.
The work of a minister of education is multifaceted. The work of the Minister of Education identifies four areas of work: administrator, growth agent, educator, and minister.
As administrator the minister of education is responsible for overseeing almost all church ministry organizations. This includes the following tasks: working with staff; surveying church members’ skills; recruiting volunteer workers; requesting and managing budget funds; leading in setting goals; and evaluating programs and organizational effectiveness.
As growth agent the minister of education is usually responsible for leading the church in evangelistic outreach and numerical increase. This includes the following tasks: creating new small groups, directing prospect and new-member visitation, projecting needed physical facilities, and leading short-term and long-range planning processes.
As educator, the minister of education is responsible for the development and success of the teaching/learning program of the church. This includes the following tasks: anticipating learners’ needs, selecting and evaluating curriculum materials, training leaders, securing teaching equipment and resources, knowing age-group teaching/learning processes, and evaluating the progress of learners.
As minister the minister of education takes on the role of a ministering servant. This includes the following tasks: counseling, visiting hospitals, aiding in worship services, and preforming other services as delegated by the pastor.
Preparation for ministry is a lifelong process. While education is not confined to the classroom, a minister of education’s ministry skills can be enhanced through formal education. A high-school diploma is essential. Studies in sociology, psychology, Bible, computer, time management, and educational philosophy are beneficial. A liberal arts degree provides a broad base of education that will be useful in meeting the challenge of the variety of responsibilities assigned to a minister of education. Additional study at a Southern Baptist seminary develops needed discipline through arduous study, refines problem-solving skills, provides a broad base of Bible knowledge that engenders confidence in a minister, exposes new fields of ministry, provides opportunities for fellowship and affirmation, and acquaints the minister of education with Southern Baptist polity and resources.
As Southern Baptists continue to emphasize evangelism and missions and remain committed to establishing new churches, the demand for ministers of education is increasing. History has taught us that where there is a vibrant, alive, growing, maturing religious movement, an educational organization will be created and maintained to teach that religion. As churches grow numerically, the need for an individual to oversee the administrative and educational aspects of a church’s ministry becomes more apparent. Increasing demands on the pastor’s time for counseling, sermon preparation, and ministry service will also magnify the need.
Persons are selected for the position of minister of education by pastoral recommendation independent of or in conjunction with the recommendation of a personnel or staff search committee. Search committees often-learn of prospects by requesting names from church members, college and seminary placement offices, and association and state convention offices.
The skills and qualities required of a minister of education may also qualify them to serve as a consultant in associational, state convention, and denomination education departments; as a church business administrator; and as a staff coordinator in larger, metropolitan churches. As a church’s ministries growing number and scope, additional educational ministries emerge and require additional staff such as age-group ministers specializing in ministry to preschoolers, children, youth, young adults, senior adults, single adults, and college students. These leaders become “ministers of education” to a particular segment of a church’s population. Many churches are addressing the work of ministers of education with other functional positions such as “executive pastor”, “Small groups Pastor”, “Discipleship Pastor”, or Family Pastor. Other congregations are adopting alternative titles to describe the foundational work of the Minister of Education.