The 2021 BCC Africa Church Operations Workshop hosted by BCCSA at the Stephanopark Conference Centre, in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa, took place from the 11 to 16 June. It was attended by approximately 80 members of Brunstad Christian Church (BCC) fellowships throughout Africa, namely Cameroon, The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Due to Coronavirus restrictions only 23 participants from outside South Africa were able to travel to attend the workshop in person and the remainder took part online.
The purpose of the workshop was to equip members of BCC fellowships in Africa with the practical organisational skills related to church organisation. The main focus was on specific topics such as finance and budgeting, compliance, church centre management and maintenance, project management, voluntary work; as well as training on the Teamwork project management computer application. All participants took part in these sessions.
Assisting church members to travel to Christian conferences has long been a priority within BCC fellowships, in addition with the impact of the Coronavirus, developing churches’ technical capabilities so that they can be part of ‘online church’ during lockdowns is more important than ever before. Therefore smaller workshops were also offered for more practical and detailed training on bookkeeping, music and audio, computer skills, media filming and editing, photography, visa applications and international relations; depending on the needs of individual participants.
One of the goals that was discussed at the general session is for local fellowships in each country to move away from being recipients of missionary assistance to becoming supporters of missionary work, thereby building a culture of giving instead of receiving. Participants were in support of this and agreed that by equipping young people with the necessary tools, skills and training, they would be enabled to take responsibility to achieve this goal. Ultimately the financial objective for all BCC fellowships in Africa is to become self-sustaining – able to cover all operational and maintenance costs without needing financial assistance.
The session on voluntary work in BCC Africa gave clarity on how work should be organised and conducted. Members should be invited to participate in work projects voluntarily and nobody should ever feel forced to work or feel left out. The responsibility of the organisers is to create work opportunities for members and inform them of what they are contributing to by doing the voluntary work. Essentially, the aim of voluntary work and fundraising is to maintain church property and to fund church activities.
Judging from the feedback below, the workshop was a great success with many participants expressing how much they benefitted from it!
Thompson Mwase: (Malawi)
I attended the filming and video production workshop as I wanted to learn how to film and do productions properly. Sometimes we are asked to record music videos of songs being sung from our song book ‘Ways of the Lord’, but our videos have been very poor. Now with the knowledge I have gained from this workshop, I believe we will improve the video productions in our local church.
Romeo Kalachi: (Cameroon)\
I manage events in our local fellowship in Douala, Cameroon. I learned a lot in the workshop and got help to manage events better. I also got training in different areas like multimedia and finances which will help us as well. We participated in the workshop online.
Peter Nyangoto: (Kenya)
The workshop was an eye opener! It will help to develop team work among us and make sure that the tasks given to us are finished on time. Each member can serve according to his or her God given gifts. We will go through the notes we have from the workshop and make sure that we understand various tasks given to us.
Moses Kepha: (Tanzania)
It has been a very helpful training for me. I learned and understand more how the church operates on the practical side and how to organise youth and children’s activities. I joined the “visa application” workshop and learned how to process visa applications and update the visa database when a visa is granted. I also learned how to make flight bookings. I definitely learned a lot more than what I expected and this will help us in our local fellowship.
Millicent Anditi: (Kenya)
This workshop helped me to understand more on how the church operates and I was also spiritually edified through fellowship during break times and times in between training sessions. I am a bookkeeper in our local fellowship and in this workshop, I have learned even more the importance of being accurate with records and keeping the deadlines for reporting.
Fabrice Tsakou: (DRC)
The workshop was really helpful for me and it also helped me to take it really seriously that I must remain humble and serve others. It is not easy for people to travel and gather together in these times. I wanted to help get the members of our fellowship to be part of many international events like the online BUK Camps, conferences and meetings, that’s why I attended the media workshop.