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FrontlineSMS opens church communication in Malawi

By Kelly Ngwira

A simple exercise demonstrates the importance of mass communication through FrontlineSMS.

A simple exercise demonstrates the importance of mass communicaiton through FrontlineSMS.

Good communication brings oneness, and oneness brings victory and success in everything people do. Effective communication is essential for the growth of our United Methodist Church. It helps people from different parts of the world, despite separation by long distances, to be on the same page in terms of information flow.

Communication has always been a big problem here in Africa, and especially in Malawi. However, with the direction in which the world is heading, advancement in communication technology will be a key to achieving development in the church, the country and the world.

People can use various types of software for mass communication. The Malawi United Methodist Church was privileged to learn to use FrontlineSMS. The Rev. Neelley Hicks and her colleagues provided training during the June 2013 Malawi annual conference. Everyone was welcome and free to participate in the training. In order to see this new development grow from one stage to another, Rev. Neelley taught a few people who could follow the progress of FrontlineSMS, and I was among the selected individuals.

As part of the follow-up program, I received the mandate to organize simple training with different groups of people in the church. I started by teaching the very active youth group from Galilea United Methodist Church.

FrontlineSMS training at Galilea United Methodist Church

FrontlineSMS training at Galilea United Methodist Church.

The training was divide into three phases:

  1. A review of the training by Rev. Neelley and her team
  2. Brainstorming on the importance of FrontlineSMS
  3. Practical application of Frontline to daily life

Eighteen youth participated in the training. We did an experiment to illustrate the importance of effective mass communication. One person created a very short story and whispered it to his or her neighbor person. That person whispered to his or her neighbor. That continued until the last person heard the story. When the last person told the story aloud, we discovered that the context of the story had changed. We concluded that mass communication through FrontlineSMS is more effective than other means.

When using FrontlineSMS, people receive the same information at the same time and are likely to respond uniformly and on time. FrontlineSMS also saves time because instead of passing the information from one person to another, users can send a message to many at once, and if the message is urgent, people are able to respond to it on time. FrontlineSMS is also easy for people of all age groups to use.

The Galilea youth manage many church programs, and they often have difficulty communicating to the entire group effectively due to other challenges. They were excited to know FrontlineSMS is one of the best means to achieve mass communication. Therefore, effective communication through FrontlineSMS is a step toward church growth. Some of the youth who participated in the training work with the church's publication committee. They were extremely happy, and they confessed that FrontlineSMS would be of great help.

I am grateful to Rev. Neelley and her team for coming to Malawi. They shared knowledge that will not only help the church, but also individuals. May God bless every program of the church's communication department, so that God's glory will be revealed through effective communication in the church, the society and the world.