HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE NATIONAL MISSION TRAINERS’ SUMMIT.
With joy and sincere heart of gratitude, we appreciate and celebrate God for His love and faithfulness to us over the years and for helping us to host the 2nd National Mission Trainers’ Summit. It is unprecedented, and we owe every thanks to Him who strengthened us through the challenging period of preparation/mobilization and indeed during the summit proper. He turned what initially sounds like an illusion and futile venture to a great testimony, not only from us, but from the participants. It was quite challenging but rewarding. To Him be all the glory.
The meeting which commenced on Friday 17th evening and runs through Monday 20th morning saw the arrival and registration of participants, and the eventual allocation of accommodation for all registered participants from NEMA member/potential member agencies in Nigeria, and two representatives from the Ghana Evangelical Missions Association (GEMA), Ghana. The lead facilitators were John Kayser and Paul Strand from the Bethany Global University, USA.
The lectures were intensive and engaging. Other highlight of activities during the meeting was the opening address by the Executive Secretary of NEMA, Uncle Mike Adegbile, and the Principal of NEMI, Mr. Samuel A. Olatunbi; morning devotions by Dr. Joel Oke, the Provost of RCM and Uncle Bayo Famonure of the Agape Missions. Participants were challenged on the need to embrace competence in missions training which involves balance in development of knowledge, character development and skills acquisition. A total of eighty-one persons were in attendant.
HIGH POINTS OF THE MEETING
- The importance of emphasizing and pursuing competence in training missionaries which must involve designing the school’s curriculum to meet it clearly defined vision. This can be achieved through deliberate designing of the curriculum on the three-legged stool of training, which are: Character, Skills, and Knowledge. Care must be taken in maintaining a balance between the three (typical of every balance stool) if the needed goal/aim is to be achieved in line with the schools’ vision. Hence, the vision of any school should be the overriding force of its curriculum formation.
- The two devotions were quite challenging. Dr. Oke’s power point presentation on ‘Asking God for a hard thing’ brought to fore the rich and magnanimous nature of our God, especially for us missionaries who are always confronted by seemingly impossible situations/challenges. In order not to portray our God as feeble and incapacitated in handling the challenges we are being confronted with, we must learn to appropriate His sovereign power for our lives and for the ministry we are called to. No land, people group, or individuals are too big to possess, if only we could ask.
Most challenging of all was Uncle Bayo’s devotion on Sunday morning on ‘One Crucial Missing Factor’. Taking his text from John 12:24-25 and 2 Timothy 2:2, he challenged all participants on the basic requirements for effectiveness as missionaries and missionary trainers.; these qualities, he stated, are the need to endure hardship, to observe regular quiet time, the need to die to self. These are very crucial in missions training and in the whole mission endeavour, the absence of which will spell doom for the whole process.
- We must make changes to our curriculum to meet the required competence that will fit our vision statement in line with the Go North vision of NEMA. Already, machinery has been set in motion to that effect. Becoming competent requires learning on the job, so in the interim, we are looking at changing the duration of field practical from three and a half months to five months. This is to afford trainees more time for language and culture learning, and for acquisition of skills needed to relate across cultures. This then implies shortening the time for classroom learning, dropping or merging some courses, teaching few courses right on the field during the field practical, and increasing the overall length of training by two additional weeks in order to accommodate these changes. Currently, the training duration is only eleven months.
- During the Trainers’ Summit, the Nigeria Mission Trainers’ Network (NMTN) was launched. The network will serve as a forum for Nigerian mission trainers to share their unique experiences with one another, learn from each other and grow together. NEMI seeks to facilitate establishment and effective functioning of the network for the benefit of all stakeholders.
- Consequent upon No. 2 above and considering the strategic importance of mission training to effective missionary engagement, NEMA may want to consider repositioning NEMI to not only be a training center, but a rallying, monitoring and accrediting base for mission training in the country. By this, NEMI will assume a supervisory role, just like ACTIA in Kenya. If we succeeded in organizing the summit, we could as well serve as the watch-dog for competence in mission training in Nigeria. This of course will involve organizing trainings and retraining for mission trainers in Nigeria. It is doable.
- The above implies that NEMA will need to redouble effort at supporting and owning NEMI by selling its vision and goals to member agencies, and beyond.
NEMI sincerely appreciate RCM Ede Osun State under the amiable leadership of Dr. Joel Oke for taking full responsibility of every expenses incurred in hosting the National Mission Trainers’ Summit 2017, hence making it possible for us to host the program at minimal costs. We lack words to express our appreciation. We are indeed grateful. Special thanks also to the Executive Secretary of NEMA, Mr. Mike Adegbile, for his fatherly support and drive in the organizing, supervising, and counseling before and during the Summit. His physical presence made the difference in every way. We also appreciate the sacrifice and love shown by all our facilitators, Dr. John Kayser and Dr. Paul Strand from the USA and Rev. Canon Bayo Famonure from Gana Ropp Barkin Ladi Plateau State Nigeria. Mr. Dotun Adeboye was on ground organizing the event while we were still in Jos and even at the venue. He is indeed a gift to the mission training community in Nigeria. Finally, to all participants, staff and students of NEMI, including all NEMA staff, may the Lord bless you all. We look forward to implementing and replicating the gains of the summit even as we set our eyes to ‘Go North’ in tandem with the vision and drive of NEMA.
Thanks, and God bless.
Samuel A. Olatunbi