Last week I received a call from a woman in her 50s. She was keen to teach high school SRE but didn’t know where to start. All she knew was that she wanted to sell her business and teach the gospel to high school students. As a Youthworks high school SRE advisor, I love these moments! But they’re definitely the exception.
Every church leader prays for a self-starter like this woman but most SRE teachers don’t just pop out of thin air. If they do, these people are often characterised by their mature relationship with Christ. This is the result of their own spiritual disciplines of Bible reading and prayer, their passion to pass on the knowledge and wisdom of God, and others investing in them for years of discipleship.
High school SRE is a ministry where so many opportunities exist for Christians to serve and glorify God in their local community. In the past few years, high school SRE has grown exponentially around NSW, yet most schools do not have 100% coverage of SRE for all grades and all year. This means that many high school students who want to attend SRE miss out.
If the local church were able to fulfil the 40 hours of SRE per year across all Years 7 - 12, students would receive 240 hours Bible teaching during high school! That is six weeks’ full-time study. Probably as much teaching time as an effective youth group!
Therefore, it is so important for ministers and SRE coordinators to communicate clearly to potential teachers the need for SRE teachers in their local high schools. This will take planning, intentional invitations, and prayer. Here are some ideas to get your high school SRE recruitment started:
Share the need and the vision
Think about this: How do people hear about high school SRE at your church?
A great first step to recruiting SRE Teachers is sharing the vision and the need. People cannot act on what they do not know, so these need to be clearly communicated, giving people inspiration to act. This can be done from up the front with an interview (of a teacher or student) or a short video with more information. Follow this up with personal face to face invitations with people you have prayed about inviting.
Another tip is to encourage people by inviting them to Youthworks’ SRE Conference at the start of each year. They will be warmly welcomed into the SRE community and have an opportunity to be encouraged, inspired and begin their training towards becoming a high school SRE teacher at the same time. So invite people to join you and your team.
Many Christians may hear the need for high school SRE teachers, catch the vision for SRE, but fear prevents their personal involvement. We need to alleviate those fears. Some common fears and responses are:
Fear of not knowing the Bible well enough There is no SRE teacher who knows the Bible perfectly or can answer every question. This is normal, and these moments create opportunities for everyone to grow in understanding. Students enjoy seeing teachers learning new things too. See it as an opportunity to grow.
Fear of poor student behaviour Every SRE teacher receives training prior to beginning to teach SRE, and this includes classroom management techniques. Once in the classroom, teachers are encouraged to consult with their SRE coordinator if they’re constantly facing challenging behaviours. Schools also want orderly classes and are willing to offer support. In addition, if teachers need more support with classroom management, the Youthworks Ministry Support can help develop skills.
Fear of not knowing where to start The wonderful thing about SRE ministry is that you don’t need to jump in the deep end. Start as an SRE helper in a class with another SRE teacher, which will give you the opportunity to watch and learn how Scripture is taught. The authorised curriculum also means new teachers have clear direction on what to teach and how to teach.
Describe the qualities of a high school SRE teacher
It’s important to remember that high school SRE teachers are ordinary Christians like you and me. The requirements for becoming an SRE teacher are not beyond reach, so if you describe the qualities of an SRE teacher, ordinary Christians may think to themselves: ‘That’s me!’
Someone who loves Jesus and wants point young people to him The teenage years are hugely influential as youth find their identity and often shape the general direction of their lives. These formative years are shaped by those around them, therefore Christian models and leadership will point them to Jesus.
Someone who enjoys deep conversations about faith At the core of every SRE lesson is digging into the Bible, and discussing its meaning for students’ lives.
Someone who is committed to the ministry of the Word Not only do SRE teachers enjoy seeing minds engaged and lives forever changed and transformed for the glory of Christ Jesus, they also understand that this can be a slow process, but it is worth every effort.
Recruiting high school SRE teachers has never been easy, so pray! Share the need and the vision with your church, alleviate fears and describe a typical high school SRE teacher. Ask our glorious God to fill the gap in high school SRE, so students who want to attend can.