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How to Prepare for a Literacy Missions Workshop

  1. Determine which literacy missions workshop you need.

    • The training for each literacy missions ministry is different. The ministries are:

      English as a Second Language (ESL)

      Classes primarily for foreign-born, non-English-speaking
      16-hour workshop for certification – manual cost $18.95

      Adult Reading and Writing (ARW)

      For low level readers or non-readers who can speak English
      16-hour workshop for certification – manual cost $18.95

      Tutoring Children and Youth (TCY)

      Tutoring help for children and youth currently enrolled in school
      14-hour workshop for certification – manual cost $12.99

      Chronological Bible Storying (CBS)

      For those who are oral communicators or who have oral preferences
      8-hour workshop - materials cost - $18.95

      English as a Foreign Language (EFL)

      For those who live in other countries wanting to learn English
      (Workshop is for those preparing for foreign mission trips, etc.)
      8-hour workshop – manual cost $18.95

    • If you are uncertain of the specific need in your community, use the “Local Church Literacy Missions Needs Survey” included in the informational packet for Literacy Missions Ministry in Mississippi.

      Important Note: The basic workshops do not equip participants to teach teachers or to lead workshops. They do prepare participants to work with literacy students and to begin ministries.

  2. Obtain church or associational approval.

    • Meet with the appropriate church or associational staff and tell them about your desire to begin the ministry. Make certain you have their approval before you begin the ministry.
    • Determine which church or associational organization the literacy missions ministry will relate to (Missions Development Council, WMU, education ministry).
    • Meet with the appropriate leaders to tell them about your desire to begin a literacy missions ministry through their organizations. Obtain their approval.
    • Get a vote of approval from the church or association. This helps the church or association view the ministry as part of its work.
  3. Select a contact person to be in touch with the workshop leader and state office.

    This person should handle the details of:

    • setting date and promoting workshop
    • receiving registration
    • ordering materials
    • making room arrangement and gathering equipment for workshop leader
    • arranging for snacks and meals at workshop
    • working with State office to make arrangement for travel, lodging, meals for workshop leader
    • sending to State office after the workshop names and contact information of those certified and those who participated
  4. Select a literacy missions program director or literacy missions committee.

    This person or committee should organize and direct the ministry and enlist the teachers and students. Selecting leaders before the workshop greatly increases the possibility of follow-through after training. Guidelines for organization will be discussed in the workshop.

  5. Enlist prayer support.

    Prayer is vital. Small groups of concerned individuals should meet to pray for teachers and other leaders, for students, and for the total ministry.

  6. Select dates and location for the workshop.

    • These dates should be planned three to six months ahead to allow time for promotion and delivery of materials. A workshop should not be planned in two or three weeks. A minimum of 16 hours of classroom instruction is required for North American Mission Board (NAMB) certification in ARW, ESL and 14 hours for TCY.
    • Select at least three possible dates for the workshop to increase the possibility of a workshop leader being available.

    Here are some of the most widely used schedules depending on availability of workshop leader:

    Night and/or weekend workshop:

    2 weekends – Friday, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
    Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., each weekend

    2 nights and 1 weekend – Thursday and Friday, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
    Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

  7. Make arrangements with the literacy missions workshop leader.

    • Contact your state office for names of Literacy Missions Workshop Leaders (LMWL) in your area. A LMWL is a volunteer who has completed the NAMB-sponsored Literacy Missions Leadership Workshop and requirements.
    • The LMWL’s expenses should be paid by the sponsoring church, association, or state convention. It is customary to give an honorarium to a volunteer LMWL.
    • Set a firm date and location for the workshop.
    • Ask the LMWL which materials to order. The Contact person, not the LMWL, should order them (See #8).
    • Have the LMWL send handouts to be copied.
    • Have the LMWL determine what equipment will be needed for the workshop (overhead projector, VCR/TV, blackboard or whiteboard, tables, etc.)
    • Discuss travel and housing arrangements.
  8. Order the necessary books and materials.

    • The LMWL will tell you what is needed and provide addresses of publishers. Allow five to six weeks for delivery of materials. Workshop participants usually pay for their materials.
    • Determine the cost for each workshop participant.

    NOTE: Some who sponsor workshops have asked participants to pay $25 to cover cost of manual and cost of food. Others have asked the WMU or Sunday School classes to provide food and just charged for the manual.

  9. Enlist people for the workshop.

    • Enlist as many people as possible for the workshop. Pre-registration is recommended. 12 people are needed to have a workshop and no more than 30. If more than 30 register, you will need to divide and have two workshops.

      NOTE: Enlisting a minimum of 12 people increases the possibility of having an effective workshop. Experience has shown that workshops with only a few people often lack the interaction and enthusiasm necessary to begin a ministry. Experience has also shown that not all who say they will come to a workshop will actually attend, and not all who receive training will teach.

    • Personally contact those who have expressed interest in the ministry or those who would be suitable. This is your best source of volunteers. People usually have questions and contacting them gives them a chance to ask these questions. Ask others to help you with contacts.
    • Speak to women’s and men’s groups, Sunday School classes, senior adults, and other church/associational groups. Always have a sign-up sheet or registration form when you speak about the workshop.
    • Make the workshop a weekly prayer request at Wednesday night prayer meeting. Have a sign-up sheet available.
    • Include in your workshop publicity:
      • dates, times, place, cost
      • telephone number of contact person (If the church or associational telephone number is given, be sure office personnel have complete information about the workshop. Many potential workers and students have lost interest because they did not receive adequate information.)
      • sign-up sheet or tear-off registration form
    • Send or give fliers to church members, pastors, and key leaders of the church and association.
    • Promote the workshop in church and associational newsletters. However, do not limit your publicity to this form of advertising.
    • In the churches, place posters where people often pass. An excellent location is where the line forms for the Wednesday night supper.
  10. Begin to enlist potential literacy students.

    A workshop participant is more likely to use the training if there are students available soon after the workshop. The longer the time between the workshop and the opportunity to teach, the less likely the volunteer is to follow through. Use “Local Church Literacy Missions Needs Survey” to locate students, especially ARW. (This form is included in the Literacy Missions Information Packet).

    The month before the workshop:

    • About four weeks before the workshop, arrange with the host church for child care, if needed, and break and lunch refreshments. Usually the sponsor provides drinks, and the participants bring sack lunches.
    • About two weeks before the workshop, make final arrangements with the LMWL. Ask how to arrange the room. Give the LMWL the address and telephone number where he or she will stay.

    A week before the workshop:

    • Send a reminder to those who have enrolled.
    • Verify that audiovisual equipment needed by the LMWL will be available.
    • Arrange for the building where the workshop will be held to be open for setup at least an hour and a half before the workshop begins.

    After the workshop:

    Organize to begin the ministry. Within the week following the workshop, hold an organizational meeting. Organizational guidelines will be presented in the workshop. Plan to begin the ministry within two or three weeks. It is best to start the ministry while workshop skills are still familiar to participants.

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