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A training class in the Philippines hosted by United Methodist Communications in 2015. Photo courtesy of United Methodist Communications.

A training class in the Philippines hosted by United Methodist Communications in 2015. Photo courtesy of United Methodist Communications.

Sybille Fleischmann introduces Daniel Garba to give a day-end report on the work on their training session. Sybille led the training track on information and communication technology for development (ICT4D), and Daniel participated in the class in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo courtesy of United Methodist Communications, 2015.

Sybille Fleischmann introduces Daniel Garba to give a day-end report on the work on their training session. Sybille led the training track on information and communication technology for development (ICT4D), and Daniel participated in the class in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo courtesy of United Methodist Communications, 2015.

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Training equips United Methodist leaders worldwide

By Laura Buchanan*

Loida Nacionales of the Philippines received inspiration and more from a recent United Methodist Communications workshop that focused on telling faith stories, using technology and empowering others in her community.

“I am excited to share all the things that I learned from this seminar,” said Nacionales. “I will present this to the church councils and immediately hold a training for them.”

Leaders in United Methodist churches worldwide are benefiting from United Methodist Communications’ training programs. In 2015, more than 530 church leaders outside of the U.S. experienced in-person training, supporting outreach and communication efforts in a wide range of diverse communities.

The United Methodist Church now has 5.5 million members in the central conferences, a number that continues to grow. This expanding international membership has led to an increased need for training programs – something that United Methodist Communications seeks to fulfill via its training team.

Where we’ve gone

In the Philippines, United Methodist Communications offered a pair of three-day workshops this year. “Communicating Faith in the 21st Century” taught effective communication skills, social media strategies, marketing and branding. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Côte d'Ivoire, the training also included expanded information about technology and content writing.

Technological ties

The Game Changers Summit, held in Nashville, Tennessee, brought together global experts, church leaders and nonprofit entrepreneurs to explore ways to use information and communications technology for the developing world.

The United Methodist Communications training team took a leading role in equipping participants with tools and resources to take back to their communities. The summit welcomed attendees from the DRC, the Philippines, Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Liberia, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States

What next?

The training team is developing key events that will aid the United Methodist worldwide connection:

  • A train-the-trainer program will enable Filipino trainers to cultivate and empower leaders, increasing the reach of workshops across the Philippines.
  • Each central conference delegate at the 2016 General Conference will receive an e-tablet to simplify and streamline his or her role. In preparation, United Methodist Communications will offer tablet trainings in four countries to ensure that delegates have the technology skills to use their tablets fully and to communicate effectively with their constituents about their conference experience.
  • Online training programs will undergo developments in the coming year so that they are multilingual and more accessible to the diverse churchwide membership.
  • In 2016, the training team will add a global training and development specialist to expand programs.

Your turn!

Ensuring that United Methodists are equipped with up-to-date knowledge and information is vital to the growth and strength of the church. United Methodist Communications offers a wide variety of training programs that will expand knowledge and understanding of the church and teach new strategies that can help congregations grow.

*Laura Buchanan is a PR Specialist for United Methodist Communications. She may be reached at LBuchanan@umcom.org.