Thursday, January 26, 2023, Workshop B, 2:00–3:00 p.m.

Workshop 431: Now What?

Marie Couts, Director of Christian Education, Moravian Church, Eastern District

You said “yes” to the call to serve as a Sunday school teacher, but now what? This workshop will explore the call to serve as it takes you beyond preparing the Sunday school lesson. Content will include: teaching broad age groups in one class; creating a learning environment; how to engage the larger congregation with the Sunday school program; classroom management; the importance of ritual; growing support for the Sunday school program; how to make the Scriptures come alive for your students; teaching through the seasons…and more. This workshop will primarily address those who teach K – sixth grade children.

Advocate Ministry Team members reached out to a selection of Annual Event 2023 Workshop Leaders and asked them to tell us more about what they are looking forward to offering in their workshops.
In November and December, the Advocate will highlight both online and in person workshops.


What excites you the most about the workshop you are hosting?

First of all, I was “hooked” on APCE annual events after my first time as a participant! I returned home from that event with many practical ideas to implement in my own role as educator, and I am excited to have the opportunity to provide that for those who attend this workshop. While “theory” is extremely important in Faith Formation, this workshop will focus primarily on practical ideas that will go from the “try this” to the “how to.”

It always excites me to share things that have worked for me, and to challenge leaders to tap into their own creativity as they share faith foundations with our children. I once saw a billboard that said, “God isn’t boring,” and to that I would add, “Sunday School should NEVER be boring!”

What do you hope people who attend this workshop will leave with?

Above all, I hope participants leave with the tools needed to implement whatever ideas they have gleaned from this workshop. Equally important to me is that participants gain an understanding of how critical their role is to the faith development of our children, and that teachers/volunteers see their service in the church as a “calling from God” – not a job to do. “Teaching the faith” and “joy in service” should be synonymous!

For those who will not be attending this workshop, how might they learn more about your topic? (Are there books, articles and/or other resources they might want to check out?)

(Insert laughter) Many of the things I have learned have been acquired from serving for many years and reading everything I could relating to Christian Education!

I remember early on as a DCE, I kept a recipe card holder and every time I read about or heard about a good idea, I wrote it down and put in the card holder. What I didn’t do was write down the source of those ideas! So, my first tip for teachers is to always note your sources – because you never know where God may take you in the future and, like I am facing now, you may need to cite your sources!

My bookshelves are no longer large enough to hold all the books on Christian Education/Faith Formation I own, and I encourage all volunteer teachers/educators to read, read, read, and note what excites you or sparks a new idea. (And never be afraid to tweak an idea to make it fit your setting/need. I don’t think I’ve ever used a program or idea “as is!”)

Additionally, while we must be careful that the content is in keeping with our own denomination’s theology, today’s teachers have the gift of the internet to search for those ideas “beyond the curriculum.” Here are just a few sites that can provide the creative nudge we frequently need:

Treasure Box Tuesday: Traci Smith, subscribers receive weekly email of resources:

Hope4CE: Kathy Dawson, moderator:

Building Faith: Virginia Theological Seminary:



Marie Couts

Since 2004, Marie Couts has served as Director of Christian Education for the Eastern District of the Moravian Church, a staff position covering five states and the District of Columbia. Prior to her current position, she served as Parish Assistant with primary responsibilities in Christian education for a Moravian Church in Ohio, then as an appointed Licensed Lay Pastor for a small rural congregation. Marie and her husband reside in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, and have three children and eight grandchildren.