2nd- 5th March the leadership at Central Malawi Conference under Children's Ministry (CHM) held a coordinators in service training which was attended by children's ministry leaders in various churches under the Central Malawi Conference. During the training opening ceremony in the evening of 2nd March, Pastor Mchewere Banda who is the Director for Adventist Youth and Music department at the Central Malawi Coference in absence of the President Pastor John A.G. Phiri opened with a devotion from the book of John chapter 2.
The pastor continued to plead with the leaders present that as leaders that have been entrusted to work with children, they need to nurture children into bringing others closer to JESUS like Philip. He encouraged the leaders to seek God first in everything like David said in psalm 121. The CHM leaders were reminded of the big role they play in the whole entire church. Children are followers, they ought to be taught well and right. Pastor Mchewere Banda further stated that "we as models for children we need the experience Jesus had when he turned water to wine, with Jesus anything can be done, what man cannot do, Jesus can and with Christ all things are possible" He closed with "Let us have a charcter of Jesus and children will always follow us"
The training focused on the following; Programs and activities for Children's Ministry -Understanding Child Development -Positive Discipline -Evangelism (Faith development) -Puppets Creativity -Short telling -How to be a vibrant leader -Communication -Financial Management -Grace link lessons -Team building -How to work hand in hand with other ministries -Child abuse and protection -Challenges CHM leaders face and how to overcome them -Baptism and Guidelines On the second day of training, Pastor Dingani Mfune who is a district pastor under the conference and also a Children's Ministry Patron presented on Communication and Volunteer screening During his presentation he stated that "For us to effectively communicate the gospel to children we need to reduce the "business talk" style and use more of the "heart to heart" style. This will help reduce the downshifting tendencies of the brain thus allowing them develop fully."
During the Volunteer screening presentation Pastor Mfune stressed the importance of knowing who as leaders let to assist with the children. It's important to know who our children are exposed to. The volunteers to be thoroughly screened and he focused on what he called the 7 C's; -Calling to ministry -Character- God's screening - Chemistry- Attitude, willingness - Competency- Training experience - Consistency/Congruence - Commitment - Condition -Mental, Physical and spiritual On day 3 of the training, Shepardess Bowa spoke on Team Building. She encouraged the CHM leaders to work hand in hand, she said "though we are different in physical appearance and emotional strength, We have to work as a team. No one can work alone in this ministry we have to function as a whole body" She further stated that "as leaders we should not take sides when there's conflict amongst fellow leaders. We have to be able to mend the bridges and show love in everything."
Pastor Kanjadza who is Director for Personal Ministries at the Conference presented on successful evangelistic campaigns in our churches through Children's Ministry. He first reminded the leaders of the five year plan. "Total member involvement- Reach out to God, Reach in with God, Reach out with God" He further suggested the following campaigns that can be used; -Friendship evangelism -Using Family events I.e. birthdays and anniversaries -Using Church Devices I.e. Sabbath School, music day,visitors day -Children's Sabbath School -Children Baptismal class -Children's retreat class -Children's Evangelistic Meeting -Children's Church -Children's Nature Camp -Vocational Bible School (VBS) -Neighbourhood bible club -Play groups -Craft club -Welcome Baby program -Children Radio Program Child protection presentation by Mrs Teresa, a church member of Area 25 District in Lilongwe informed the leaders that he church of the Seventh Day Adventist through the General Conference adopted the child protection act in 1989 She emphasized on need for an assessment survey of children of those that don't have parents in the church. "We as leaders need to know what children are exposed to. As CHM coordinators we need to know where the children are coming from and what they are exposed to" she said. During the closing ceremony Pastor Zilinde a District Pastor for the area the training took place thanked the training facilitators for the initiative. The pastor read from the book of Romans chapter 10 (vss 14-15) 15- ".....How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!". In his remarks he urged the CHM leaders to go and spread the gospel and through the training they have completed May they do it willingly all for the glory of the most high God. "CHILDREN FIRST! KIDS FOR ETERNITY".