Ghana (MNN) — Christian professionals from all across Africa are walking away empowered by a recent conference.
An HCJB Global partner, Theovision International, and the Moody Bible Institute held a four-day radio training conference in Accra, Ghana. Over 200 Christian media professionals representing 13 African countries, as well as the U.S. and the U.K., attended the conference and gained valuable skills.
On-air presenters, journalists, radio pastors, and other media practitioners attended classes covering a variety of subjects: leadership, fundraising, production, on-air presentation, web integration, emerging technology, even video production and social media.
“As much as possible, we tried not to go in there and tell them how to do their jobs,” said Stephen Asare, project coordinator of Moody Radio's donor development department. “We really wanted to learn from attendees as well."
Each afternoon, conference-goers had the opportunity to give feedback about what they were learning, in what Asare calls "lightning talks."
“I was surprised to see the students' hunger for training firsthand–seeing the excitement on their faces," he says. "They felt they would learn something that applies to their work.”
Asare says the conference trainers and teachers got a fresh look at the challenges faced by Christian broadcasters in Africa–especially those in Muslim areas. They also realized the need for a great global focus and perspective in the U.S.
Jon Fugler, HCJB Global vice president of advancement, taught sessions on fundraising and marketing. While multiple cultures were represented at the conference, he found that they all face similar challenges to those confronted by their Western counterparts.
“The principles I shared are much the same in the U.S. as they are in Africa–building relationships,” explained Fugler. "I was pleasantly surprised at how well the training was received, and cross-cultural problems never really emerged.
“We stopped several times so they could take steps of action–things they can do when they go back home,” he continues. "At one point we stopped to thank God that He is in control despite the obstacles. One lady actually broke into a song of praise. What I heard from the students was, ‘I’m glad you’re not just teaching principles. There’s a spiritual aspect to all we do.’”
Evening Bible studies helped underline that spiritual aspect. Dr. Winfred Neely, who serves as professor of preaching and pastoral studies at Moody, went through the Old Testament book of Ruth.
He admonished the crowd to stay faithful to God in their daily routine, ultimately fulfilling His bigger picture for their lives.
The four-day event culminated with the presentations of certificates on the final night.
“To me, that was the biggest highlight,” says Asare. “Everyone had gone through the sessions, and when their names were called to get their certificates, the people made a lot of noise, clapping and shaking of hands.”
In evaluations handed out after every class, participants gave high praise and suggestions for next year's conference.
“The inevitable truth is: God is using people to bless people,” said a student named Justice. “How on earth could I be blessed like this? They ended up giving us resources to make our work easier.”
Another student wrote, “I promise you that the opportunity you have given me, the talent you have shared, will bear fruit, and you will not be disappointed to have made an investment in me. Thanks to this training, my mission now has a clear strategy and expertise to achieve its objectives.”
Suggestions included making the sessions available online or putting them on the air, and to “skip coffee breaks and give more time for lectures.”
While Moody spearheaded the conference, Theovision hosted it and handled all of the logistics. In addition, HCJB Global and Africa by Radio helped sponsor the event and provided three facilitators.
Click here to read the full report on HCJB Global's Web site. Pray that participants' new skills will help further the Gospel in Africa.