Set Apart To Serve: Director Of Christian Education, Megan Skelton
Event Planner for God describes a Director of Christian Education at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church & School. If you’ve seen Megan Skelton in action, you’d agree she was made for this position. Let’s go and see what she actually does and please share with someone you know!
What is a Director of Christian Education (DCE)? I grew up going to a small church in the middle of nowhere Oklahoma and every summer I went to church camp. I loved it, it was so fun. By the time I was in high school I spent my summers working at the church camp. A lot of the camp staff came from Lutheran colleges and they were in training to be DCE’s. Once they asked me if I had every thought about being a DCE? I didn’t even know what a DCE was! After they explained it to me, a DCE is like being a teacher, instead of teaching about science and math, you teach about Jesus. You teach at a church instead of a school. I said yes, I want to do that!
How old were you when you had that conversation? 16; that’s when the seed was planted. I started looking into the DCE program and when I was a junior my mom took me to look at Concordia University Nebraska. By the time I was a senior I knew that’s where I wanted to go to school and this is what I wanted to do.
How did you end up at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church & School in Oviedo, Florida? When you go through the DCE program, as long as you’re geographically mobile, the program promises to find you a job. DCE’s do different things depending on what type of church you’re at.
Small church DCE’s get to really know the people and do education from what we call “Cradle to Grave” ministry where you help all the groups, adult bible study, Sunday school, youth groups. Large church DCE’s work with large teams and can be more specialized.
“Churches need DCE’s, they’re looking for candidates!”
A DCE degree is four years of school and a fifth year internship. Churches apply for interns and the school matches you up depending on what they think would be the best match. They ask questions like: What kind of ministry are you passionate about? What gifts do you have? Where do you see yourself living?
Enjoy this audio clip of Megan reminiscing on her exit interview from Concordia!
By the time I was doing this interview I was living in Nebraska and engaged to a guy in Missouri. We were getting married in six months! So I’d probably like to live somewhere in the Midwest. They keep asking questions….I really hate to be hot so more North than South. I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma and rode my bike everywhere and thought I’d really like to ride my bike to work and live in a bike friendly community. They said ok, if it’s anything outside these geographical preferences, we’ll have a meeting. Then, the director asked if we can have a meeting. I thought, “Oh no, he lived in Alaska for a little bit.” Once before, we had made eye contact and he said I’d be really great in Alaska. I thought “This is the end! I’m moving to Alaska.” I told him I hate to be hot and now I’m going to go serve a church in Alaska. So we met and he said there’s a church and I think the gifts you have and with your interests for ministry, it’s a great fit, just a little outside of where you wanted to live. He started to describe St. Luke’s: It’s a suburb of Orlando. They have a school so you’ll get to work with a lot of kids, but it’s in Florida. I think, “Internships are only a year, I can live anywhere for a year.” Some people stay at their internship for a year and then move on to another church. I moved from Nebraska to Florida and that was eleven years ago.
What are some of your favorite interests? Now that I’m a mom I really like to read fiction novels because it puts me in a different world. I love to drink sweet tea. I like to be outside when it’s not too hot. I like to camp with my family. We have a camper so I bring the air conditioning with me (and it keeps the bugs out), to see the beauty of God’s creation.
Have you ever been on a mission trip? I have been on a few mission trips. In college I went to Guatemala and in high school I went to Mexico. St Luke’s partners with several different churches. I went to the Latvia English camp and Honduras. Meeting and seeing other people grows our understanding of God’s global church and gave me a big appreciation for where God has planted me. I think the trips helped form me as I was growing up. As I get older, God has changed me in how I share His mission — I don’t need to go far away.
I think God has called me to the places I am specifically, surprisingly Florida, and in particular, to my neighborhood. Now with two small children, rather than going to Mexico, where there’s a big language barrier, I can be spending time getting to know my neighbors. As I build a relationship with them, I have the ability and trust to share my faith with them and I think I’ll have a longer term impact on the people that I see regularly than just going to another country for a week.
So your mission is right here? Yes! I think God calls us to the places we are for a reason.
Which gifts do you use to do your job really well? Self-discipline. You have to figure out what needs to be done, how to do it, and take those steps to do that.
For me specifically, I love people and I love children and families. The fact that I get to lead children and family ministry and worship Jesus with them is really special to me. Relating to people is something that a DCE needs to be able to do especially if you’re doing ministry from “cradle to grave”. If there’s an age group you’re able to connect with, help them grow in their faith towards Jesus. Be creative and brainstorm about what the Bible says and how to make the lesson applicable in fun and memorable ways for the children and families.
What do you actually do as a DCE? What I love about DCE Ministry is that my job is always different. The things that I’m responsible for go through different seasons and I get to figure out how I’m going to accomplish those goals.
I help lead our Generations service on Sunday. In the Fall I have different Milestone classes for parents on Wednesday nights. I lead preschool chapels, fifth and sixth grade youth groups, and Vacation Bible School (VBS) over the summer.
When I come into the office throughout the week I find time to write my lesson plan for Generations, youth group, chapel, and any other classes. I pull and order the supplies, speak with the media and worship teams about what slides and songs we’re going to do. Not only do I plan the events, I get to do the events, which is really fun for me.
I love Wednesdays. I get to do chapel and see all the K-8 kids and worship Jesus with them. I lead the pre-schoolers in chapel and see all the joy they have and tell them how much Jesus loves them. It’s so special.
Other than that I get to connect and spend time with people; pray for them, check in with them, get to know them, and help them further their relationship with Jesus.
What are you looking forward to? I’m looking forward to the day Jesus comes back! He takes away all the sadness and sickness and we get to have one big party with him. I’m really excited for that. I’m looking forward to making more memories. I love the people that God has put around me and getting to know them more and more, especially my kids. I love watching every stage as they grow up and seeing the wonderful new things they do for God in this world.
A lot has happened since Megan’s interview last Fall. Read more about her medical story here and please pray for her full recovery.
If you have a story on your heart or a testimony to tell, we want to hear! Please fill out the form on sllcs.org/stories.