Class Leaders :: A Thing of the Past??greenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
Are you still utilizing the Class Leader system in your church? At my church we still have Class Leaders. My Mom and my Great-Auntie are Class Leaders.
I have a AME co-worker. one day at lunch we were discussing the Church. the topic of Class Leaders came up and this what she said, "We don't have class leaders anymore. Our pastor doesn't see the need with all of the technology available for communicating with each other, plus everyone has a phone now." I was shocked. (Note: Her church is one of the fastest growing on this district. they are neo-pentecostal and have dropped the A.M.E. reference on all of their printed/marketing material.)
I attended an IT convention about 2 months ago on the West Coast and met another AME--and of course we started talking about the Church. I brought up the Class Leader System. He gave me the same answers as my co-worker. as a matter of fact, he told me that the Class Leader system was defunct.
What are your thoughts about Class Leaders? Has technology helped to decrease its significance? Do you believe that we need it even more in this age of cyber-communication and very little face to face?
I would love to hear your thoughts?
B Blessed PHIL419 kc
-- Anonymous, July 05, 2003
We have what we, until recently, called Class Leaders, but following a workshop led by someone from out of town (I don't recall who it was),they were renamed as "Circle Leaders". The Circle Leaders seem to be doing about the same as the Class Leaders did.
What was that you ask? Virtually nothing!!!
There was one Circle Leader who made it a point to send cards regularly to all the members who were sick, shut-ins, and in nursing homes an sometimes to family members of those who were sick. But then she became ill and gave it up. Some of the rest of them wear their Circle Leader badges, but don't do much. I've never been contacted by mine in the five or so years since we re-instituted the system. I was one for a year, but resigned because I couldn't figure out what we were to do. It was made clear we would not be collecting money, but it was not clear what we WOULD do.
-- Anonymous, July 06, 2003
I hope we still have the class leader as a function in the ame church for we use the class leader model in my church. 90 percent of my members are either brand new christians or they have not attended church since childhood and we have some who were catholic. For our church it is imperative to have a class leader system.
For example I got a call from a class leader letting me know that he had called one of our members who was out of town, the member received the call when he needed it the most, he was in Atlanta and is diabetic and was having a hard time because of the heat and humidity. My class leader stayed in contact with him the entire week.
One of the responsibilities that I feel that I have as a pastor, is that I should always be training leaders for the church and telling them the opportunities in the church. It should always be a joint enterprise with laity and clergy working together. Our goal is to win more souls for Christ.
One last thing, there are several models of church growth that are being used today, some incorporate a "cell methodology" have small groups led a leader who watches over that group.
We as A.M.E's have been doing that for years and years! It is called the Class leaders.
-- Anonymous, July 06, 2003
We do have the Class Leaders in our church which is very vital for the growth of the church. I was the President of the Class leaders and when I started doing this, it made a big difference for those people for whatever reason could not come to church but would call there class leaders to bring there tithes and offering.
I went out with my Pastor for Communion and in the process we had visited our members. I was so impress by the generousity that the members we visited gave a large donation.
I do want to say, please don't change the name of this enity. We don't collect money for this, because were a large church so the Pastors salary compensate for this. On the other hand it's find for the smaller churhes to do this because that Pastor doesn't get that type of salary.
Class leaders a very pertinent part of the church and let this not die.
Margaret from Kansas City
-- Anonymous, July 06, 2003
The class leader system still works. It has been taken by many other successful non A.M.E. churches and implemented as well. You hear about under shepherds and small group ministry, and cell groups. These are all similar to the class leader system. They help free the pastor up by having someone else watch over some of the members day to day. Also class leaders could help if your congregation comes from a large area. The class leaders could help by running Bible studies out of their homes instead of everyone having to come back to the church for Bible study. They also can assist in hospital visitations, meeting families for prayer, new member orientation, etc. As a congregation grows I can definitely see the need for them. One thing I notice in small churches is that the class leaders 1. Are given the title before they are actually assisted in the duties and responsibilities of the office through proper training. They don't know exactly what they are supposed to do, and the members don't really know that they should first take concerns to the class leader before going to the pastor. 2. The classes are divided in ways that do not encourage openness, confidentiality and accountability to the class leader. For instance family members (parents,children,spouses) may be in the same class or the classes may be organized with people that have nothing in common as far as stages of life. So sharing within class meetings does not occur because the trust within the class is not there.
I am a big proponent of technology in ministry, but the personal touch is still needed. An email or phone call from your pastor is nothing like someone from the congregation coming over and praying with you about some situation that is stressing you. It also helps the congregation minister to each other instead of expecting the pastor to do all the ministry.
So I think that like many things in our church, the structure is very useful, but putting the right people in place and equipping them properly to bring the structure alive is where the class leader system falls down.
-- Anonymous, July 07, 2003
Class leaders are still needed and as mentioned by others training is the key. The organization of the AMEC is being copied by others because it is effective when implemented properly.
I recently read articles regarding the mega churches in the Atlanta area. The use of small groups to maintain contact and give the feeling of the closeness of a smaller church was mentioned.
We had a pastor in the past who did an excellent job of training the class leaders. The classes were small enough to be managed. although our household was active and attended regularly we were still called by the leader to just say hello and let us know he was available if we needed anything. The system when used properly is an effective tool for member retention.The leaders assist the pastor. he 2000 discipline addresses the class leader responsibility on page 78.
-- Anonymous, July 12, 2003