The Writing Team Training Initiative
In 2019, Rotation.org began a major new initiative to provide special training to our volunteer writers and create a body of writer & teacher training materials for future writing teams and supporting members. This extra-effort is made possible by a grant from First Presbyterian Church of Birmingham Michigan.* If you are interested in being considered for this training, email Neil at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team Background ~ How we got from there to here
Many years ago, the Writing Team was an informal and rather loose process. Volunteers simply suggested lesson ideas to one another, and then went their separate ways to write and post their lesson plans with some modest formatting applied afterward. As you can imagine, the results were uneven.
In 2015 the Board commissioned the rewriting of all 34 original WT lesson sets to make them worthy of our members' support and our creative standards. The Lead Writer of this three-year effort was Neil MacQueen and our chief Editor was Luanne Payne. Their work was supervised and energized by members from our Board of Directors (each a creative writer in their own right).
During the three-year "renovation," we learned a lot about the importance of working together, having creative standards, exploring new ideas and techniques, welcoming feedback, and the importance of creative direction and leadership.
Being a "sharing community," the Board wanted to involve more people in the process and the creative habits of our renovation team, and document them for future writers. Knowing these ambitious goals would take time and money, we reached out to FPC Birmingham* to help fund the start-up of this initiative.
New Writing Team Goals
Learning from our past experiences, the New Writing Team aspires to:
- Greater teamwork and accountability.
- New levels of creativity.
- Training and leadership for writers.
- Create and Share lesson plans that inspire teachers and their students.
- Document the creative habits, insights, and expertise of creative writers so that future writers and our members can learn from them.
"Writers in Training"
One of the things we learned from past teams was that many volunteer writers feel unsure about their creative skills and lesson writing ability and want to learn -- not just write. We also learned that some creative teachers didn't know how to share their teaching expertise with others, or were missing certain insights that could make their gifts bloom and be shareable.
Working with our Lead Writer and Editor, each writer...
- Learns how to discover and develop creative ideas for teaching Bible stories.
- Improves their ability to write for others, as well as improves their teaching skills.
- Is challenged with new ideas about lessons and learning in Sunday School.
- Produces creative, peer-reviewed lessons that will be used by thousands of teachers over many years to come.
- And shares their gifts with writers on their team and with future writers through the improvement of our training materials and the lessons they have written.
In addition to helping creative people expand their skills and writing ability, we are also creating a body of writer-training AND teacher-training articles that will eventually be shared with the entire Rotation.org community. Unlike most other curriculums and their publishers, we want to share our experience and expertise rather than keep it hidden.
In part, these documents share the insights of creative writers regarding various techniques and workshops. But they also share the various techniques of how creative writers brainstorm, where they come up with their ideas, what they try to avoid, and how they make SURE their ideas teach the story's meaning.
These documents will be posted to our Supporting Members Fall 2019.
This project is made possible by our Supporting Members and churches like First Birmingham MI. If you would like to support the Writing Team and get access to its lessons, become a supporting member. If you would like to join a team, post a 'reply' below or email us.
*First Presbyterian Church Birmingham is one of Rotation.org's oldest supporters and has been a champion of the Rotation Model since it first burst on the C.E. scene in the mid-1990's. In the early 2000's FPC was instrumental in funding Rotation.org's evolution from a project led by a few committed individuals to the international non-profit community it has become. Learn more about the Rotation.org Board and our mission.