CM Expands Training Offerings: Four New Experiences Launched in 2022

International Children’s Ministries exist to develop leaders who impact kids. This mission is accomplished in three ways—by providing quality and accessible training experiences and resources, producing relevant resources for local church ministry, and cultivating a community for support and encouragement.

In the first half of 2022, the ministry has piloted four new learning experiences that target ministry leaders at various stages of development to enable effective local church ministry to children.

A New Day One-Day Training Intensive—On Saturday, February 19, 2022, International Children’s Ministries offered “A NEW DAY: Strategies for Moving Children’s Ministries Forward in the New Normal.” This One-Day Training Intensive was offered in Hempstead, New York, for the first time. This event was also the first such organized in-person training held for the Northeast Region since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Given the theme and purpose, how fitting that this One-Day would launch in a location so significantly impacted by the disease.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all our ministries to children—the way we teach kids, serve families, and connect with volunteers has changed. While our day’s “new normal” has its unique challenges, it also positions us to reevaluate our ministries and adjust them for more significant influence. This one day presents six foundational elements to emerge from the difficulties of the pandemic and serve children and families with renewed passion, commitment, and effectiveness.

One participant from the pilot evaluated the training saying, “This was an exceptional workshop that inspired us with a path forward as we restart our ministry.” Since its piloted offering, “A New Day” has also been presented in Virginia, with future dates scheduled for Tennessee, Puerto Rico, and the Heartland Region.

CM Certification Level II Live and Online—For more than a decade, the Children’s Ministries certification program has provided more than 8,000 individuals with competency-based training in ten areas of practical ministry. This training, offered in online and correspondence formats, leads to an endorsement in Children’s Ministry and is actively being offered worldwide. However, those who completed the program asked, “what’s next?”

This Winter, International Children’s Ministries released CM Certification Level II, a leadership level of training. The program consists of nine elevated modules that cover the essentials of leading an effective children’s ministry while also presenting core teaching on leadership styles, principles, and techniques. Children’s Ministries initially released the training online; however, in response to an outcry from national, regional, and state leaders, it has expanded to include an in-person option.

April 25-27, 2022, Children’s Ministries offered our first CM Certification Level II LIVE training in Peru. This intense weekend provided in-person instruction on all nine certification modules and assessments. By the end of the weekend, 64 individuals had completed the training and received their Children’s Ministry Leadership certificate.

Through an agreement with Accredited Ministry Development and Spirit and Life Seminary, students completing all Level I certification courses may be awarded three credit hours with Spirit and Life Seminary (SLS) toward the Seminary’s course Essentials of Children’s Ministry (CM 200). CM 200 is part of the Certificate in Ministry and Theological Studies program at SLS. Students completing all Level II certification courses may be awarded three elective credit hours with SLS. Eligibility for credit is dependent upon application to and acceptance by SLS.

Train the Trainers—May 11-15, 2022, International Children’s Ministries offered a fourth training event in West Africa in 6 years. Unlike the previous events, this training was by invitation only. Individuals who showed promise as potential trainers were selected by their respective national overseers to be in attendance. The nations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Conakry, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, Mali, Niger, and Senegal were represented.

For three days, individuals participated in an intense training experience that introduced instructional design systems, taught them to conduct needs assessments, modeled various training methods when teaching adults, and enhanced their skills and presentation techniques. Participants were also taught effective training design, including using icebreakers, alternatives to lectures, and developing quality visual aids. They also identified their preferred learning styles, learned the basics of a positive learning environment, discussed dynamic delivery techniques, and learned how to address challenges when training others. This was the first time this course of training was ever presented.

Each trainee presented a 10-minute class to the entire group on the final day. They were critiqued by the training team and their peers based on seven categories of effective training that were presented throughout the week. Trainers conducted additional seminars on asking good questions, evaluation, and provided an overview of the steps for transitioning training from being driven by the international ministry to being organized by their nations.

At the conclusion of the final day, a spontaneous time of prayer and worship erupted. The Holy Spirit directed the participants to Isaiah 43:19, “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

The goal of this training and the 30-course trainer’s manual available to those completing it is that they will return to their countries and begin confidently, thoughtfully, and skillfully training others.

In May 2023, a final West Africa Institute of Children’s Ministry in this series will be conducted in Benin. Those trainers who excel at implementing training in their areas between this training and then will be invited back to serve as trainers for the event. A team from International Children’s Ministries will join as monitors and coaches to these trainers. This fifth institute will serve as the official transition for these national ministries to implement local, district, and national training throughout their areas.

The Train the Trainers module will be available soon for additional areas and serves as a fourth component of the International Children’s Ministries training cycle.

Starting Point Mentoring Cohort—In January 2022, International Children’s Ministries launched “Starting Point,” an initiative to support young adults who sense a call or a desire to serve in ministries to children. Participants selected for the inaugural program were assigned a mentor based on their background, calling, or skills. This mentoring relationship lasts for the calendar year 2022. Participants commit to two monthly meetings, a one-on-one meeting of mentees/mentors and a meeting of all mentoring groups. In the large gathering, International Children’s Ministries offers a topic on an area of training for discussions, such as children’s ministry administration, creative teaching, and program planning. The Starting Point Initiative will be available for nations, regions, and states to replicate in their areas in 2023.

If you are interested in learning more about these or any of our other training programs, please contact the International Children’s Ministries Office by emailing cgpkids@cogop.org. You may also find additional information on our website cogop.org/children.