This summer we were able to use Zoom to open up our Advisor Training to a worldwide audience! We were thrilled to have an international group representing Bangladesh, Central Asia, Turkey, Philippines, Korea, Middle East and the UK. It was so exciting to hear their plans to use Come Follow Me in their different contexts.
We believe that it’s important for those using the Come Follow Me course to understand how to use the materials and the discussion methodology. An important part of our calling and work is equipping churches and individuals to use well the resources we develop. Advisor training demonstrates how to guide the student through personal study and group discussion into a practical outworking of each lesson.
In spring 2020 we were ready to launch an online video-based Advisor Training course for small group use in a context where no trained facilitator was available. The training leader could gather 4 to 6 people together, arrange for access to the online material and print off any documents required. The online training package is easy to use and self-explanatory to run, with 4 sessions and clear prompts for discussion, practice and learning together.
We expected to be able to offer this resource where there is no possibility of access to a live Advisor Training workshop; when someone has experience as a teacher/trainer in a different sector but is not familiar with the CFM course and teaching method; or when a person has done a live Advisor Training Workshop but is not yet an accredited CFM facilitator, and has an opportunity to train up a small group of advisors.
However, the arrival of lockdown restrictions across the world created an opportunity to use the video training course in a different way. Instead of leading a small group seated together in one room, we quickly realised that the video content could be used by an accredited facilitator to train people in different places over Zoom.
In June we piloted this with a group of contacts who already had some familiarity with CFM, and after some tweaks offered the training to a public group in August.
We were delighted to receive bookings from people working in a variety of contexts and countries. It was a real joy to pray together for our new believer friends and contacts, learn how to deliver the course effectively and plan together how we could increase the use of CFM in our different regions.
There were challenges to delivering an English language training over the internet into different time zones, of course, and it was a valuable learning experience for our trainers too.
"It was a privilege to be able to connect with and serve a variety of people from across Europe and Asia and help them understand the Come Follow Me course. Seeing the participants grasp the training and then apply it into a short 'experience' of leading a study always encourages me. It's my hope that this good practice will go on to bear much fruit in all the different countries, and that more people will follow Jesus."
Despite the challenges, there was a low dropout rate and everyone was able to contribute. The participants commented:
“Instructions in how to run a group meeting were helpful.”
“Great that we all had to lead a section and try out what we learned.”
“Before the course I did not know that there is an Advisor guide... that was the biggest thing.”
“Videos contrasting good and bad practice and observing differences between them was helpful.”
“The facilitators themselves modelled how to be advisors.”
Praise God for the technology
which allows us to train people even when we can't be in the same room as them.
Pray for the God will use this training in 2021 to equip many more CFM course advisors across the world.
Pray for those attending the groups to encounter Jesus and walk more closely with him as they study the CFM material together.