My Trip to Ethiopia – VLM Conference

Whenever I reminisce my trip to Ethiopia this song pops in my mind:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-dbyaXtnGlU&w=530]

Of course am sure you get the point? Gospel Reggae! Hint hint. That song is by Christafari, a group that reaches mostly the southern Americas and the carribean countries using the reggae genre of music.

The VLM 2011 Conference Participants (Ethiopia)

From the 11th to 16th of February I was in Ethiopia (formerly known as Abyssinia in the olden days; I love history), the only African country that was not colonized; a symbol of hope to African countries; the headquarters of the African Union. So what was this techie/geek/I.T. guru doing in Ethiopia? Well my friends, I was attending a conference on the use of Internet to do ministry. To be exact, the VLM Conference of CCC SEA. It rhymes, right? LOL.

Anyway let me get serious:

The Great Commission Ministry of Ethiopia (Campus Crusade for Christ Ethiopia; that’s where the CCC comes in) organized and facilitated the first ever Virtually Led Movement conference for the SEA region (Southern & Eastern African). The event took place from 12th to 15th February 2011 and saw 11 participants from different countries being involved in the training. Countries represented included South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Mauritius, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The theme Bible verse for the conference came from Isaiah 40:9,

“You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”,

where our high mountain is the internet and we should use it to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Training Session

God always gives us great opportunities to reach out and save lost souls and show the world that there is hope in Jesus Christ. In Mathew 28:18-20, Jesus gave us the mandate to make disciples of all nations and right now we are living at a time when a multitude people can be reached through the internet. At this moment billions of guys are accessing the internet via their laptops, desktops, mobile phones and tablets (I wish I had an i-Pad, hint! Hint!; I wouldn’t mind if you donated one). That’s the world, my friends. What a big opportunity!

  • So what did my fellow class mates and I learn from the conference?
  • To cast VLM Vision and multiply VLM leaders in different countries.
  • To unleash the power of the internet and cell phone in building spiritual movement especially using social networks like Facebook.
  • To use tools like Global Media Outreach and Everystudent.com in Ministry
  • To show how students and staff do ministry marketing online
  • To create a website easily for one’s ministry

The main trainers of the conference included Stefan Dell, Chris Sleath, Keith Seabourn and Miheret Tilahun. However, this was a unique conference in that the trainers were also learning from each other and also from the students. Everyone participated in building each other and most of the students got an opportunity to share portions of their knowledge about the internet and technology. During the conference period, we got an opportunity to share the VLM vision with some of the Ethiopian pastors and church leaders on a Saturday afternoon meeting. They were ecstatic and motivated after the meeting and captured the vision and mission of VLM.

Casting the VLM vision to Ethiopian pastors and church leaders during the Saturday symposium

Apart from just learning, the participants got an opportunity to sample the Ethiopian culture by visiting a museum on Mount Entoto and a traditional Ethiopian restaurant where we were entertained by traditional dancers. Every morning, before the training began, we took time to listen to morning devotions from the different participants as a way to motivate and encourage us before the day began.

At the end of the conference, country representatives came up with strategic plans on how to promote the VLM in their respective countries. Everyone presented great plans and we learnt from each other by picking up ideas where we deemed appropriate.

In between the conference sessions we had the opportunity to be funny. Must have been the claustrophobic effects of the elevetor

The conference was a success as the participants were ready and highly motivated to promote the vision, mission and strategic plans of VLM in their countries. The participants were highly grateful to the Ethiopian team that facilitated the conference and to the trainers who shared their knowledge on how to use the internet to fulfill the great commission. In conclusion, prayers were needed to help the participants fan the flame that was ignited at the conference and for people in their countries to be willing to accept and capture the vision of VLM.

My friend Ronald leading devotion on Team work on Tuesday morning

But the conference wouldn’t be fun and interactive if it weren’t for my fellow class mates and teachers. Thanks guys. And most of all I thank Miheret and his team for facilitating and accommodating us at the SEA Community Center; Thumbs up for your servant leadership guys and God bless you all. (By the way Africa seriously needs servant leaders; ok let me get a little bit political e.g. Ivory Coast, Egypt, Uganda and last but not least my dear beloved country, Kenya; seriously leaders in my country need to style up and emulate JC)

Oh! And check out Miheret’s blog at http://miheret.wordpress.org. Also check out Chris Sleath’s blog titled: “A Brit in Africa”

Some laughter during lunch holds the appetite as I PATIENTLY wait for my order. It seems the others got theirs first ;-( LOL.

So before I end my post for today, am sure you must be wondering what VLM is all about. Let me just sum it up:

A ministry or movement of Campus Crusade for Christ SEA that has seen the following need:

millions of people search the internet for God every day.

Vision: Building spiritual movements so that everyone who has a TV, radio, internet access or cell phone in Southern and Eastern Africa (SEA) knows someone who truly follows Christ.

Mission: Launch Spiritual movements through TV, radio, cell-phones and internet by winning, building and sending Christ-centered multiplying disciples in SEA.

Core Values: Faith, Growth, Fruitfulness.

In the following weeks I’ll post articles on how to do effective internet ministry, basically what I learnt from the conference and of course some ideas that I have come up with or ideas from friends.

Have an awesome time and Amsegenalehu (thank you in Amharic)  🙂

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February 20, 2011

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