Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Recruiting Volunteers To Be Catechists

Generating excitement and volunteers for CCD is rather daunting. Finding people that want to be a catechist is sometimes like finding a needle in a haystack. Each year it becomes harder and harder to find CCD teachers because parishioners do not want to be challenged with such an undertaking. Most feel that they are not qualified to teach and do not have the skills for classroom management. Others believe that they do not have the time nor patience to be a catechist.

So how can you find catechists?

• Have posters and announcements in the church bulletin. For example: Help our children be all they can be. Become a CCD teacher and use your talents God has given you to help teach our faith.

• At the end of Mass during announcements let the congregation know that your church is looking for a few good men and woman to be a volunteer and teach CCD. Ask them if they are looking for ways to make meaningful contributions to your church, to maintain their skills (or learn new skills!) and to interact with others.

• Let the prospective volunteers know that assistance and training will be provided before CCD starts so the catechist will be prepared and be an effective teacher. (By providing assistance and training to all perspective volunteers alleviates any worries that they might have by letting them know that they are not alone and that they will have help.)

• Spread the word that catechists are needed and that it is a rewarding experience.

• Flat out ask people to be a catechist. They are more likely to consider being a catechist if someone asks them face to face and will usually not to turn you down.

• One of the best sources of future volunteers is current volunteers. It is likely that if someone is passionate enough to volunteer their time, they are likely to have at least some friends who share those same passions and interests. Also, a person who is already a catechist should not only have a good understanding of the church’s needs, but also what types of personalities would do well there. In other words, a current volunteer can be the perfect volunteer recruiter… but only if they like the church enough and feel appreciated enough to recommend the job to others. Keep volunteers happy, and be sure to let them know about any available volunteer positions.

• Have a catechist recruitment luncheon. An organized get-together will provide a good way to exchange information about being a catechist and how much their help is appreciated and needed.

Can you think of ways of recruiting volunteers to be catechists?


Karen said...

I got into teaching CCD because I was fed up with the bad catechesis my older daughter was (still is, actually) receiving. When I saw that our parish was looking for CCD teachers in the bulletin and then heard the pleas for volunteers week after week, I decided to teach a kindergarten class. Then I responded to their plea for substitutes for the time slot when my older child attend CCD and that lead to me taking on another class (7th graders--Eeek!). So I guess bad catechesis is one way of recruiting new catechists. I wouldn't recommend it, but it certainly got me involved. It's just too bad that I'm not teaching either one of my kids' classes.

Amazing_Grace said...

Wow! You teach 7th graders! That must be hard. How many students do you have?

Our son started CCD in first grade and we were lucky that he had some great teachers. While he was receiving CCD hubby and I stayed around the church because by the time we got home, we would only have around 15 minutes before we would have to leave to pick him up. The following year our church needed a first grade teacher so I taught first grade CCD and hubby was the floating substitute. During this time hubby found out he really enjoyed teaching CCD and became the 6th grade teacher a year later.

Jared Dees, M.Ed. said...

Thanks for posting this - great ideas!

I would start with the parents. CYO sports teams do a great job of recruiting parents to be their kids' coaches. I find that CCD programs do this well already. Focus on the parents first - they have a vested interest in the class receiving a great education (see Karen's comment above). Recruit them as an catechist aid at first (if necessary) then reel them in as the main catechist.

Of course, this brings up another important topic: training new catechists and providing them with quality resources (like the one on this site).

Also, I'm not a DRE, but if I was I would be in contact with all of the other DRE's in the diocese sharing best practices. There is no need to recreate the wheel - find out what works best and steal it!

P.S. Love the poster!

Amazing_Grace said...

I knew you would come up with great ideas!!! Thank you for sharing. :)