On 17 March, around 180 brothers, sisters, and young people gathered in Solihull for the CBM New Generation Day. The aim of the day was to engage and encourage a new generation of CBM workers by providing information about what CBM is, what it does, where it operates, the different work that needs doing and potential opportunities for getting involved. The day included presentations, a quiz, a devotional, workshops and an opportunity to find out about CBM work in different countries.
There was an enthusiastic, positive and energetic atmosphere throughout the day. It brought together the experienced and not so experienced and the young and the not so young. And it brought those who were there to find out more about what CBM does and those who are keen, if the Lord remains away, to be the new generation of CBM workers.
A full report of the day will appear in the next edition of the Bible Missionary magazine. Below are some of the thoughts and observations of some of the younger generation that attended the day:
The Role of the linkman (Bro Jord and Sis Rach Walton)
Prior to this workshop, the thought of being a linkman appears to be a very scary, and unachievable role for a young brother to take on, but on listening to the talk it was clear that the way this role has been set up is focused on the teachings from the Bible, which describe a team working together. Similarly, the role of linkman was explained to always have a good strong team around them helping to pull the projects together and benefitting from all the talents of different members within the team.
The workshop also explained that if being a linkman is something you are interested in but weren’t sure you had the skills or qualities at this moment to take on the whole role, then opportunities to shadow current linkmen, to learn from them and build your confidence are available. Overall a very exciting workshop when looking at the future of CBM.
The role of Sisters (Sis Pippa Baylis)
The role of sisters workshop led by Sis Abi Varley mainly gave an overview on the different ways Sisters can offer a unique skill set to CBM visits. It was suggested that as not preparing bible talks and discussions, visiting sisters are blessed with the opportunity of getting to know the brothers, sisters and young people on a deeper level. This gives scope to offer a more rounded approach to caring for those in need. With more time available to us in this regard, it can be easier to uncover exactly what the welfare needs are for those members in the ecclesia, as well as understand how to most effectively address them.
The workshop emphasised on how having sisters on CBM visits can enable more effective ‘team working’. Whilst the noisy herd of excitable children get taken for a Sunday school lessons outside, Brothers are left with a quieter environment in which to focus when leading talks. The eagerness of members often means they have infinite amounts of questions, so the study sessions are often lengthy and intense. The necessity of rests after leading these cannot be underestimated!
Sisters can step in with other educational workshops such hygiene or first aid, to feed the hungry minds of members, and give the brothers a chance replenish their energy. Practical pointers were voiced on how to overcome language barriers and consider different cultural attitudes. It was stressed that even if a sister feels they are not proactively giving much when on a visit, the message they communicate by being a support to a brother can not be ignored. They demonstrate, just by being there, the richness of what Paul meant by many members in one body. Respectful attitudes towards one another are naturally emulated to those learning, and therefore highlight how to actively apply scriptural principles in an ecclesia encompassing both men and women. Sisters demonstrate that understanding God’s word is not just for men, but for all who want to be saved.
The workshop stressed that sisters can in no way replace the role of a brother, and vice versa.
Having both working in partnership can make CBM trips both efficient and highly beneficial. It was great to explore all these ideas in a safe space at the New Generation Day. I am confident I was one of many who left that session feeling inspired by the wisdom of those Sisters who had dedicated so much of their time in doing this work for God. As a result, I feel all the more
prepared for any future CBM trips I may be blessed to go on, hoping that I too can help bring understanding and clarity to the saving words God has put down for us.
Publicity (Bro Dan Collard)
One of the workshops looked at the publicity side of the CBM. It focused on the reasons for it, the methods of publicity and the information currently available.
The importance of effective publicity is highlighted by the increased support it can bring, whether that is in the form of more donations or volunteers. Publicity also motivates brethren and sisters by showing them that their donations are making a difference and the work of the CBM is being appreciated. Finally, but perhaps most importantly, CBM publicity can be an indirect witness to those who see it. This is because they see that Christadelphians, as a family united in Christ, care for and love one another.
There are differing types of publicity: the Bible Missionary Magazine, the Newsletter (e-mail and hard copy), social media (Facebook and Instagram) and the new and improved website (coming soon!).
These help to spread awareness in our own community of some of the work done through the CBM, this is particularly in the Magazine and the Newsletter. The social media side is growing and reaches out to a broader audience, helping to show more and more people of the diverse work that goes on around the world. Finally, the website brings all of the information you could wish for into one place – how to donate, which countries we support, specifics about project aid and information about who the Christadelphians are.
The aim of all these different types of communication is to raise awareness and, ultimately, to enable more work to be done for our brethren and sisters who need support all over the world.
During the workshop session I was particularly interested in the new website and will look forward to browsing what projects currently need specific aid. This is something that is always great at generating support and an ecclesia could easily select a different project to fund each month/quarter to help focus their collection efforts.
This Is Your Bible (Bro Sam Ridgway)
The [thisisyourbible.com] website is a great for aiding in preaching in this modern age and spreading the Gospel worldwide. The Bible course provides a thorough introduction to this vast subject and is easy to sign up to while not being too pushy.
For me, my favourite part about this website is the personal tutor that gets assigned part-way through the course.
This provides a nice personal touch for any newcomers to the Bible who will appreciate the human contact. Also, I think it will be hugely beneficial for the tutors who will get a lot out of inspiring other people to pick up their Bibles and find that missing piece in their lives, so sign up to be a tutor today!
Welfare (Sis Katie Payne)
In the welfare workshop we were presented with different scenarios which may arise in countries throughout the world, of which money seemed a central issue. The CBM does not have unlimited funds, and so decisions can only be made with prayerful consideration and love from the brothers and sisters.
But we learnt this is no easy task. Each situation is completely different, and only with a huge amount of background research and insight can a decision be made. The work involved in welfare should not be underestimated as brilliant job is being done to help as many brothers and sisters in as many other countries as possible.
Youth Camps (Sis Bronwyn Morgan)
Bro Ali MacDonald introduced us to the other side of CBM. Some of the time we are told about the hardships trips. This really got us thinking, God’s word is joyful, it inspires everyone to try harder and be happy when with each other. He showed us a typical day, full of talks and games and sharing meals together. It was your normal youth weekend, but a lot warmer!! What struck me, was how willing everyone was to join in together.
Young people from opposite sides of the world came together because of God’s word, people that never knew each other before, but had faith they would see each other again in God’s Kingdom. I took away from this workshop that we are there to inspire and encourage each other, to uplift with God’s blessing, and for a few days get that taste of the Kingdom.
Denmark (Sis Abi Coates)
During the ‘speed dating’ session I had the opportunity to speak to James Mundey about CBM work in Denmark.
He explained that the small number of brothers and sisters were from Africa, which meant that the language barrier was different to how I expected. I was surprised to learn that CBM trips can be either visiting homes on a long weekend or helping to run a Bible School. He explained that it was really important to the brothers and sisters to be able to enjoy fellowship together during a Bible School. Having support from UK brothers and sisters was greatly appreciated and beneficial to everyone.
Israel (Sis Emily Bawdon)
In the “speed-dating” session I visited the station for Israel and Bro Luke Foley explained that a lot of the Israeli Christadelphians are from a Russian background, so this is the common language used. However, English is also spoken between some people, especially between girls around my age, so I found this information useful and it would be beneficial for me to get into contact with them.
Ivory Coast and Ghana (Bro Reuben Bilton)
Attending the CBM new generation day was an eye-opening experience and allowed me to see options I hadn’t considered before. In the ‘speed dating’ event I had the opportunity to sit down and speak to Bro Les Shears, the link man for Ivory Coast and Ghana. What was interesting about this was that although Ivory Coast is French speaking they don’t necessarily need people fluent in French to visit to help out. They need all sorts of support and especially from young brothers and sisters. They organise a Bible School once a year in Ghana and this takes place over Easter so that they already have the long weekend so that they don’t have to take more time off work which was something I hadn’t considered.
The brothers and sisters from Ivory Coast travel over to Ghana to be able to attend the Bible School. It’s a concentrated effort to bring brothers and sisters together to enjoy fellowship, and they have both a Sunday school and talks which is why both brothers and sisters are needed. Brother Les said they really benefit from conversations and support from visiting brothers and sisters.
Kazakhstan (Bro Josh Palmer)
The way the day was led, with various different option groups for learning about particular aspects of CBM work helped me to appreciate the work my brothers and sisters have been unified in achieving abroad. There were a great amount of different “countries to visit” one of which I happened to sit in upon being Kazakhstan. Brother David Pearce expressed the way the
yearly operation of what we might call a Bible School, brings almost all of the country’s brothers and sisters to a central location – in Russia! How happy we should be that our country of residence does not consider it illegal to worship or preach like we do; evidently the same is not always paralleled with our international brothers and sisters.
While the lord remains away, I hope I can do something (however small) to engage with and help those from our community who have been strongly associated with the sharing of the love of the gospel in places afar off. The work of the CBM was shown to be vast, exciting and in need of help, which I hope I can contribute to.
Malawi (Bro James Garside)
Brother Darren Storey gave us presentation on Bible Mission work in Malawi. I found it so interesting to learn that within a population of 17.5 million people, Malawi houses 166 Ecclesias mainly in the south, and has a Christadelphian population bigger than that of the UK. The brothers and sisters there undertake their own preaching in Mozambique as well as in Malawi,
and they run two Bible Schools each year, including a youth Bible School. The CBM work that would be carried out would include supporting and encouraging the brothers and sisters in their preaching efforts and pastoral care.
Norway (Sis Sophie Collard)
Brothers John Benson and Paul Tovell gave us a ‘speed dating’ introduction to the work of the CBM in Norway. This is a country with a very small number of isolated brethren and sisters – three in total (Publ.note: CBM Central Christadelphians). Two of them live in Oslo the capital city, but the other lives in the far north-west, two days journey from Oslo! It was particularly interesting to learn that none are of Norwegian origin, two are former refugees. Missionary work in the country largely involves visiting these isolated brethren and sisters too break bread with them and enjoy fellowship.