Thursday, June 11, 2009

Homeschool Support Group Leaders - It's a Ministry

Homeschool support group leadership seems to be my area of ministry during this season of my life, and I am the new president of Lighthouse, the support group I helped start 13 years ago. This is a 2 year term - I have been president of the support group twice before, and am returning for another term. So either God called has called me to serve in this area, or I am a hanger-on- control-freak who cannot let go...boy, I pray that's not the case!

The Board is having a Planning Retreat this weekend, which I have been preparing for all week. We aren't going away anywhere, but just meeting together for 10 hours over Friday and Saturday. So it's not a "retreat" in the restful sense of the word! But we will hopefully get a good working relationship going and talk about what we are doing in this support group and why!

The Lighthouse Board is made up of seven members - a President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Coordinator, Field Trips & Events Coordinator, and Member-at-large. ( the members filling this last position request a name change - females have issue with "that word" ) Board members serve for 2 year terms, with either 3 or 4 positions being filled with new members every year. Our By Laws set the qualifications for a Board Member as someone who has homeschooled a child for at least the two previous years and has been a member in good standing of Lighthouse for two consecutive years. In filling positions, the Board looks for support group members who are active in the group, committed to homeschooling, and show a willingness to serve others. They are asked to consider filling certain positions on the Board, and if they accept, their names are then presented to the group for approval.

As the support group has grown in size over the years, the responsibilities of Board Members has increased significantly as well. We are now a group of about 200 families, so processing membership applications, coordinating field trips & events, and dealing with questions and issues have become major tasks. Several years ago we filed for non-profit status with the IRS, and more recently filed the paperwork with the state to become Incorporated, so that means our Treasurer has to be on top of her game! We are very blessed to have a CPA serving in that role right now, and I don't think she realizes that the rest of us are conspiring to make her Treasurer-for-life! Leading a large support group is not a little job... it is a big commitment and it is a ministry to other families. And as Christian sisters we have to hold one another accountable to keep our priorities in line - we are wives first, then moms - who have the huge job of homeschooling our kids - , and then support group leaders.

So, we are having this "retreat". Our husbands have been asked to join us for two reasons - they should know what their wives have committed to(!), and they offer a male perspective that I think provides balance in our discussions. In addition to discussing the policies and operations of Lighthouse, setting the calendar for next year, and planning the upcoming parent meeting, we will be discussing our purpose and vision for the support group, how to balance leadership with responsibilities at home, raising up new leaders, generating enthusiasm and creating unity in the group, and dealing with conflict. All of this will be brought first before the Lord, so that our hearts and minds will be focused on the true priority, and that is pleasing him with our words, our actions, and our lives. I'm hoping for a very productive meeting.

1 comment:

Sylvia Goode Basham said...

Just got back into town last night, but thought about the team at the retreat. I pray everything went well and that God gave clear direction. Thanks for all you do!