DR Congo (MNN) — You don't find "Sunday School" topping many Christmas lists, but it's a big request this year for Every Child Ministries.
ECM's Lorella Rouster says, "We are bringing it up at this time because we are now celebrating 2,800 Sunday Schools that have been established in DR Congo since the inception of ECM."
She considers the schools a small step toward progress in helping Congolese churches accommodate their growing congregations.
"The church is growing much faster than anybody really is prepared to nurture adequately," Rouster says. "We have to just keep doing what we can and pray that God raises up laborers."
By teaching local church leaders how to reach kids for Christ through Sunday School, ECM helps about 200,000 children in Central Africa receive weekly Bible training.
"We're trying to give them the vision to reach not only the children of their own congregation, but to reach out to the children of the surrounding community, realizing that whole families can be reached through the children," she says.
Not only does ECM train local believers, they also encourage new teachers and help with curriculum development.
But, "Curriculum can't possibly reach every village in Congo," Rouster states. That's why ECM shows Sunday School leaders how to teach children using only a Bible. They use a four-step pattern: Reading, Questioning, Acting, and Singing and Dancing.
First, a small section of the lesson Scripture is read aloud slowly by the teacher or a helper. The teacher then asks questions about the passage, encouraging students to look carefully at what it really says. Children act out what happened in that portion of Scripture, and then comes singing and dancing. Students dance, sing, clap, or do some other rhythmic activity to a line that summarizes what happened in that section.
This pattern is repeated over and over until the class reaches the end of the Scripture passage. Students also memorize a Bible verse and discuss how the portion of God's Word they studied can be applied to their lives.
ECM offers training to the Congolese churches for free, but help is needed to cover the program's costs. Rouster says transporting trainers within DR Congo is especially expensive.
"We work on a shoestring, really, with funding," Rouster explains. "Help is always needed."
Elsewhere in DR Congo, a rebel fighting has displaced approximately 767,000 people in the eastern provinces of North and South Kivu. About 2.5 million people are displaced across the entire country; rampant rebel combat hasn't affected ECM's work…yet.
"However, we understand that the rebels have set their sights on taking over the whole country," says Rouster. "If an effort were made in that direction, [it] would dramatically impact our work."
Ask God to protect His children from the violence.
Would you be willing to help train African teachers? Click here to learn more about ECM's one-week training seminar.