Global Missionaries Continue to Lead Effective Ministries Throughout the Pandemic
by Ginny McCabe
From the start of the COVID-19 lockdown to looking ahead to a post-pandemic world, scenes from all over the world demonstrate that the pandemic has had an economic, social, and spiritual impact on missionaries across the globe.
Yet, global missionaries have continued to minister in a variety of creative and innovative ways, such as through Zoom interaction or tuning in to online Sunday school. We checked in with BCM International, (bcmintl.org) who shared a few of the experiences from missionaries all over the world.
Worldwide Impact of COVID-19
“Pat Govender, BCM Africa director for children’s ministry training, was on faculty at the Global Children’s Forum Leadership Experience training course when her nation of South Africa went on COVID-19 lockdown mid-March 2020. The following week was filled with adventures of cancelled flights and delegates trying to get back to their home countries. Pat made it home to East London, South Africa, on March 21, only to find herself in long-term quarantine. With ministry events canceled, she began praying for God’s leading as to the future,” wrote Jeanette Windle in an interview with Pat Govender for BCM International.
With Zoom as a platform, Govender began teaching through the core sessions of ISMT (In Step with the Master Teacher) with the group, which chose the quarantine-appropriate name of “Locking Down ISMT”!
“This led to additional online satellite sessions of ISMT with ISMT graduates in South Africa who’d already finished core training, then videoing sessions to put online for ministry leaders whose internet connection didn’t allow for Zoom interaction, including in Rwanda and other countries,” Govender said.
“Zoom has also allowed Pat to interact with already existing Lead Trainers from Kenya, Uganda, South Africa, and South Sudan to plan for the future after quarantine. So many requests are pouring in for online training that plans are to make this a permanent resource. With Zoom and other online platforms, regional Lead Trainers can work interactively with a small group of ISMT students in their area and follow up with them long-term. Also planned are to create online videos for each core and satellite teaching session,” Windle reported for BCM International in talking with Govender.
According to Gerlyn de Jesus, National Director of BCM Philippines, news concerning the outbreak of coronavirus popularly known as COVID-19 went viral during the early months of 2020.
“Little did we here in the Philippines discern that it would progress from an epidemic to a more serious pandemic. We carried on our lives as usual until the middle of March when the entire nation slammed to a sudden halt. Halt from schools. Jobs. Worship celebrations. Meetings and day-to-day activities. As schedules were cancelled, only time remained ticking,” de Jesus cited in an article for BCM International.
“So what now? Panic and fear engulfed most people. But how was the Church of Jesus Christ responding amidst COVID? For BCM Philippines, initial responses varied from local church initiatives like live-streaming worship services to the greater scope of BCM leaders carrying on their responsibilities according to mandated quarantine restrictions by sub-district, district, and region,” de Jesus wrote.
This eventually progressed to a national effort among the hundred-plus churches of the BCFi (BCM church association) to keep connected virtually. Weekly nationwide unified Sunday worship celebrations have been live streamed so families throughout all the BCFi churches can worship together at home Additional online children’s Bible clubs, youth groups, and adult discipleship and leadership training classes are being streamed during the week, according to de Jesus for BCM Philippines.
Serving and Attending Church Online
“This uncertain situation has led Christian leaders to rethink the way church is usually carried out. Many pastors in Peru and around the world have found a way to broadcast church services, sermons, do online devotion times, and more. But there was a void when it came to children’s ministry. BCM Peru missionaries immediately began brainstorming possibilities of online tools and programs so that children could continue growing spiritually in the midst of this pandemic. Bible lessons were created, and a guest bedroom in the home of BCM Peru director Jonatan Odicio was turned into a small video studio,” said Shantal Artieda in an article for BCM International that was published in July 2020.
She said, schools suspended classes, and on March 16, 2020 a state of emergency was declared for the entire country. Peru has enacted some of the strictest quarantine measures of any country. People can leave home only to buy groceries, medicine, and other essentials. Peru was another country that turned to the internet for education, broadcasting and furthering the country’s ministry opportunities.
“The internet proves to have nearly no limitations as to how far this outreach can go. Children across Spanish-speaking countries are tuning in to the BCM Peru Sunday school programs every Sunday. Responses and messages of thanks have come from Costa Rica, Honduras, Ecuador, Colombia, United States, and other countries. A local TV station in northern Peru has requested permission to broadcast the Online Sunday School every Sunday at 3 p.m. for children in that region with no access to the internet,” Artieda said in an article for BCM International.
“Just through Facebook and YouTube, almost four thousand homes every week are tuning in to the Online Sunday School. With Peru’s quarantine restrictions extended at least until the end of June (2020), the BCM Peru team is continuing to produce the Online Sunday School for children and now also for pre-teens. But there is more! A Saturday Online Bible Club is in production as BCM Peru missionaries continue to seek out new ways for helping churches reach children and teach them God’s Word during these uncertain times,” she said.
Bible Centered Ministries International (BCM) is a global non-denominational ministry dedicated to reaching children and developing churches worldwide. BCM has more than 850 missionaries serving in over 50 countries across five continents as well as Pacific and Caribbean islands.
BCM is committed to making disciples of all age groups for the Lord Jesus Christ through evangelism, teaching and training so that churches are established, and the Church strengthened.
BCM ministers through evangelism, church planting, discipleship, leadership training and publishing Bible curriculum and teaching materials. For more about BCM and the latest on what’s happening with missionaries across the globe, go to bcmintl.org. Give to the BCM COVID Relief Fund here: https://bcmintl.org/covid-19-relief-fund/.
Ginny McCabe is an award-winning journalist, bestselling author, media professional, speaker, and teacher. Her work may be seen in Journal-News and Reuters. Her books have been published by Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins and Standard Publishing. Ginny serves as the president of Cincinnati SPJ and acts as a SPJ Freelance Community board member. As Region 4 Coordinator for SPJ, she works with professional and student chapters in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Ginny also serves as secretary on the Christian Authors Network Board. She was named “Best Freelance Writer” in 2018 and is a Kiplinger Fellow, Class of 2019. Connect with Ginny at www.ginnymccabe.com and on Twitter @ginnymccabe.
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