For the third year, the Church of God of Prophecy (COGOP) in the state of Tennessee has raised the necessary funds to conduct an Institute of Children’s Ministry training event in Western Africa. This ICM will equip men and women to serve their churches and communities through twenty practical workshops covering the essentials of ministry to children with topics in leadership, ministry foundations, evangelism, discipleship, and ministry skill. Workshops will be presented by International Children’s Ministries Director Shaun McKinley, Tennessee State Children’s Ministries Director Kim Batson, and Tennessee Missions Coordinator Michelle Brooks-Young.
This year’s institute will host leaders from eleven nations including Benin; Burkina Faso; Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; Guinea Bissau; Guinea; Ivory Coast; Mali; Nager; Senegal; and Togo. The United Nations (UN) reports that in many of these nations over half the current population is under the age of 15.
Eighty-five participants have been selected by their national overseers to represent their nation, with the potential of taking what they’ve learned back to their respective areas for implementation and training of additional workers. More than $30,000.00 was required to fund the travel, lodging, and meals for these participants.
On January 8, 2019, Tennessee Missions launched “Adopt Me,” a fundraising campaign asking individuals and local ministries to sponsor one or more participants at the cost of $353.00/each. The response was overwhelming as pastors, local children’s churches, and individuals immediately began sponsoring participants. As the initiative became more public through social media, the state office began to receive commitments and funds from other states including Washington, Mississippi, Florida, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania.
Funds continue to be received, but as of today, the state office has received contributions totaling $33,288.02, more than $3,000.00 above the targeted goal. Additional funds raised will be applied to the fourth (of five) institutes for Western Africa, coming in 2020.
Many children in Africa live under the most challenging of circumstances. The UN estimates that more than 400 million children are currently living on the continent. In many parts children are plagued by hunger, poverty, disease, and violence, with seemingly no prospect for a better future. What tremendous soil for the Gospel than the children of Africa, where children’s ministries are rising to serve the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs?
In her announcement of the fundraising total, Brooks-Young said “What a privilege it will be to stand before the participants and to look in their faces and their eyes and know because of your generosity and heart for missions this is not just a dream, it’s a reality! For men and women who could not otherwise go to this training, you said, ‘it was important’ and invested in them with your money and your sacrifice.”
“Praise God for the generosity and faithfulness of those who contributed to Adopt Me,” said McKinley. “This initiative took a step of faith on the part of the state leadership, but they did it as a part of their continued vision for and value of ministry to children.”
There are multiple opportunities for nations, states, and local churches to partner with International Children’s Ministries to bring training and development to leader throughout North America and the world. To find out how, contact International Children’s Ministries by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.