Monday 11 June 2007

Training for Member Care

What types of training and continuing education
are available for member care?

Member care is a broad field with a wide range of practitioners. In spite of the diversity, all member care workers (MCWs) are encouraged to pursue opportunities for additional training and personal growth (i.e., competency and character development). MCWs are committed to:
  • Ongoing training, personal growth, and self-care.
  • Ongoing accountability for personal areas and member care ministry.
  • “Doing no harm” and having high standards in one’s services.
  • Recognizing the strengths/limits in one’s self/skills/services.
    (excerpts from “15 Commitments for Member Care Workers”)

For many MCWs (including leaders with member care responsibility), training comes through life experience and modular education (e.g., seminars and workshops). Their main services may be via encouragement, listening, pastoral support, connecting people with resources, and/or hospitality, in addition to any special skills that they have acquired (e.g., peer debriefing).

Others have studied in a specific member care-related field (counselling, human resource management, psychology, medicine, etc.) and linked with their life experiences, are often considered to be “professionals.” “Professional” is a term that can be misunderstood. It simply refers to those who: a) “profess” competency in an area and are b) “recognised” as being able to offer services skilfully and ethically. Such recognition usually comes in the form of some type of certification/academic degree and organisational position.

Currently some of the main member care-related training is offered via:

  • Member care conferences (workshops at regional member care consultations)
  • One to four week general courses (within an organisation or open to those from many organisations)
  • Specialised courses, usually one-week long (interpersonal skills, leadership development, coaching, peer debriefing, crisis management)
  • Academic courses and degrees in related fields
  • Academic and degree courses in member care (e.g., Columbia International University, USA)
  • On-line modules (e.g., Headington Institute)
  • Self-directed reading and research (informal, as needed)
  • Informal and formal mentoring/supervision/peer consultation
  • Continuing education requirements for professionals (e.g., courses/materials on substance abuse, marital mediation, vaccinations)
  • Other?

Currently there is no ongoing, comprehensive listing of some of the main member care training opportunities around the world. Such a listing is very much needed. In the coming weeks we will list some of the main training opportunities including examples of member care courses, and explore some ideas for developing additional training opportunities.

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