When one BCM missionary, an ISMT trainer in Papua, Indonesia, returned to her homeland, the United States, for furlough in 2013, she discovered MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). These are free online courses offered by universities such as Stanford, MIT, and Harvard. They are typically comprised of video lectures, reading assignments, students assessments, and discussion forums. Since there are no admissions requirements, enrollment in any given class can run into the thousands.
In 2013, internet was still almost non-existent in Indonesia, so she was amazed that she could be participating in a virtual classroom with 1700-plus other students. With her experience in leadership training, her immediate thought was, “Why can’t we do this with our BCM training courses?”
Having completed her training ministry in Indonesia, she brought the idea to BCM leadership. The immediate response was “Go for it!”
That was the beginning of BCM’s program to train teachers globally through eLearning. A small team is now creating online lessons from BCM materials. Along with numerous ISMT sessions, the entire “Sharing Christ With Kids” course is now online in English and Indonesian, with more languages slated for development. Students have participated from all around the globe. But with COVID-19 restrictions on every continent preventing in-person participation, enrollment has grown exponentially. Russia, Ecuador, South Africa, the UK, Canada, Poland, Peru, Philippines, United States, Malaysia, Bolivia, Suriname, Netherlands, Indonesia, and India are just some of the countries from which students are logging in.
When asked about the impact of global lockdown, the missionary whose brainstorm sparked the program is confident about the future. “What a joy and privilege to see that while our in-person training is on hold, we can still be helping children’s ministry teachers and leaders improve their effectiveness around the globe. It is amazing to see how God went before us, preparing us in advance to still be effective during COVID-19 and beyond!”