International (MNN) — Children's outreach seems to be a part of nearly every Christian ministry around, and with good reason. Not only are children more willing to put their "childlike faith" in Christ if they're reached early on, but unbelieving parents will frequently come to the Lord as they see their children grow.
Thousands of churches and organizations are dedicated to discipling children worldwide, but even with all of that effort, the numbers are still overwhelming. Bible Centered Ministries International, or BCM, had been doing children's ministry for years when they realized they were barely scratching the surface.
"We had ministry in over 50 countries. We've seen a lot of children reached. But we became convinced that with 2.2 billion children in the world, we were never going to be able to reach enough children just by teaching children directly," says BCM's Esther Zimmerman.
Yet BCM also knew that the leaders that worked with them were far above average in their children's ministry abilities. As they pondered ways to more effectively reach more children, they decided to use the resources they had.
Reaching more kids means training more leaders. Since BCM had high quality leaders, those leaders could be used to train other leaders, who would also become effective, high quality teachers. Those trainees could continue to pay it forward when they finished learning by going on to train more leaders. Thus was born BCM's In Step with the Master Teacher program.
Although they planned to use their leaders as trainers, they based the ISMT training material on a much greater expert in ministry.
"We looked at Jesus and we said, ‘Jesus modeled God's truth. He built relationships with His students. He taught truth effectively, and He always challenged his students to put what they had learned into practice.'"
Zimmerman adds, "Taking those basic principles, we filled a series of 22 [hour-long] modules on how to disciple children. And that's really what the course is about: it's not just teaching teachers how to teach, but it's really equipping teachers to be disciple makers."
BCM has seen huge strides in the training program over the last few months. One BCM teacher, Olga, from Russia, was hesitant to be a trainer at first. But after her first group, she gained confidence and began training others across the globe. She has now built up children's Sunday school teachers, Bible club leaders, and others passionate to share Christ with kids in four continents.
The ISMT program is in 10 languages currently but will be translated into 10 more by the close of 2012. By the time 2013 is over, BCM plans to have materials in 26 or 27 languages.
To learn more about the training BCM provides, visit www.InStepMasterTeacher.com.