Lessons Learned from Outside Teachers

This fall, we began a series on Sex and Dating.  It is not the first time we have talked about this topic but it was the first time in over 2 years that we have done that.  One of the reasons we didn’t talk about it for a bit was because I did the teaching the last time and it was a very awkward time.  I know that is a lame excuse, but it definitely caused me to think twice about teaching it again.

So this year, we decided to bring in a local Christian non-profit come in and teach about it.  They came in and taught for 2 weeks (1 group for the high school students and 1 group for the middle school students).  Although I was grateful that they taught about this subject, it did not go exactly as planned.  Because of this, I thought of many things I that I did wrong during this process.  So, I figured I would pass on my lessons learned on in case anyone is getting ready to bring in an outside person to share to your youth.

Lessons Learned:

  1. Meet with the teacher beforehand and share what you hope to accomplish during their teaching time. Although I did meet with our teacher beforehand, I did not let them know the make-up of our youth program.  Not all youth groups are similar in students that attend, so had they been better prepared for the type of students we have, they might have tweeked their overall presentation a bit.
  2. Make sure you know exactly what they are going to share. You don’t want to be thrown any curveballs during the presentation as they may share something completely outlandish.
  3. Be prepared to follow up afterwards.  When you teach on anything, it is always good to have a follow up strategy.  This is even more important when you teach on such an important subject or an outside teacher comes in to share.  One of the best things Katie, my Associate, did after one of our meetings was she grabbed a bunch of girls immediately after the presentation was over and began to process with them what was said and how they were feeling.  You may not need to do something like that, but following up in the next week would be a great start.
  4. Do a thorough evaluation afterwards. Oftentimes organizations will give you an evaluation to fill out.  However, I have found that most of them are pretty generic.  This particular group’s evaluation was very generic.  Therefore, instead of writing out an evaluation, I went and met with the person who presented and gave them a verbal one.  I have found that when you write up something, people may misconstrue your comments.  So, if you have some harder things to say on an evaluation, it is better to talk it over with them rather than write it.  Speak the truth in love, but definitely speak the truth.

In the past we have had a variety of outside teachers come in and share and overall I highly recommend them.  Working at a non-mega Church, it can get overwhelming and you can drain yourself too much doing multiple teachings every single week.  So, if someone else can come and share competently with your youth, why wouldn’t you take the night off?  But, just great as it can be to have a night off, it can be a lot of work as well if not done right.

Have you had similar experiences and learnings?  Post them so we can all know how to do a better job on the front end so that we don’t have as much to do after they share.

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