August 18-20, 2023, International Children’s Ministries partnered with the Church of God of Prophecy National Office in Nicaragua to offer its Level II Leadership Certificate training. Over 400 students gathered on the national Tabernacle campus for this intense time of advanced training, worship, and fellowship. This is the largest training event hosted by International Children’s Ministries in the past five years.
For three days, the participants received instruction in nine areas of leadership development with specific application for those serving in ministries to children. Sessions included topics such as planning, organizing, directing, and staffing the children’s ministry—with practical application given through activities such as developing a mission and vision statement, setting goals/objectives, preparing a budget, designing a ministry calendar, and screening volunteers. Additional sessions were taught on ways children’s ministry leaders can support their pastors and how to improve their communication skills. The Value and Spiritual Life of Children, the Church of God of Prophecy Assembly-approved statement on children was presented, as well as an opening session on ministry calling.
“Our team was impressed by the organization of this event and the level of engagement of the students of Nicaragua,” said Dr. Shaun McKinley, international director of Children’s Ministries. “Their excitement for this ministry and commitment to growing as leaders is evident. Our Nicaraguan church is passionate, growing, and on fire for Jesus. Our team is honored to be a part of what God is doing here.”
National Director Yolanda Reyes Taleno, along with the support of her husband and national team, lead this energetic ministry equipping over 1,100 churches that are organized in 13 regions. Over 11,000 children are served weekly through the ministries of the Church of God of Prophecy in Nicaragua. In 2022, outreach events reached over 3,000 children, with an additional 1,180 attending Bible Clubs weekly. National Bishop Jose Esteban Somoza called the meeting “a historic gathering of the largest number of young leaders in the nation’s history.” In his closing comments, he cast a vision to see 1,000 children’s ministers trained in 2023.
The training team for the Nicaragua Institute included Bishop McKinley, Abigahil Avila (International Children’s Ministries Spanish-language trainer), Theri Santos (child evangelist and founder/president of New Generation Foundation), and Bishop Ernesto Velasco (North Carolina). Throughout the training special music and worship were provided by local leaders and children. A number of spirit-filled, spontaneous sessions of prayer occurred throughout the training with participants worshipping, praising, and weeping.
Tentative plans are to return to Nicaragua in the coming year to provide additional training such as the Level I Certification program, as well as International Children’s Ministries’ Train the Trainers.