When I was 18 years old, I moved to the UK to join OM. I had never lived overseas before, and to be honest, I really did not have a clue what I was doing. I had a passion to serve Jesus but lacked knowledge and skills on how to do so, especially in mission. Thankfully, OM readily accepted newbies like me. Not only that, but they also provided an excellent training and hands-on ministry programme to equip us while serving local churches and communities in multicultural teams. I gained valuable knowledge and skills throughout that time, both from the training and the people around me. It changed my life.
After that, I left OM briefly to complete a bachelor’s degree in youth leadership, with the idea of using it to work with teenagers in Europe. I re-joined OM a few years later to do that and train others to do so. While training others, I also had the privilege of participating in organisational trainings on a variety of topics, such as leadership, training, culture, personality, mentoring, youth counselling, managing a virtual team and more. I have also been given time to pursue external qualifications, such as a bachelor’s and master’s in education, a certification in training and development and more. These opportunities continued to build my knowledge and skills, helping me to be more effective in what God called me to do.
Today, it is still the ‘OM way’ to welcome people who want to love God and love others around the world, equipping them with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to thrive in mission. For many roles, no additional qualifications are required – just show up with a willingness to learn.
Now, things have come full circle and it is my job is to understand the training needs of people in the organisation, then work with others to design, develop and facilitate it in ways that are accessible and engaging around the world. It makes me smile to think I am helping others who might be just like I was, and, of course, I keep on as a learner, too.
One training I helped put together a few years ago was on basic leadership knowledge, skills and attitudes. In the course, participants discover more about their identity in Christ as a leader, biblical principles of team dynamics, how to lead an intercultural team, ways to disciple and develop team members, how to steward resources sustainably and more. It is available online or face-to-face, in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian, with more languages in process. It is encouraging to hear participant feedback on how it has empowered them to use their gifts and skills for God. People around the world take this course to equip them to lead for the first time. From there, they can participate in additional leadership trainings to be equipped to take on more responsibilities.
Not too long after that, I worked with spiritual formation experts across the organisation to develop 16 different trainings on topics such as Bible study, community, hospitality, Sabbath, service and more. These are also available online or face-to-face. Participants often share how it was encouraging in their own relationship with God, and how it will help them be more effective in reaching others with the love of Jesus.
Just over a year ago, my team and I launched a new online learning platform for OM – EquipMe Online. It has over 100 courses available, covering topics such as leadership, culture, spiritual formation, ministry skills and online training. More are being added on a regular basis. The platform makes it easy for anyone to find essential resources – even if they need it in Spanish, Arabic or Russian on their mobile phone while sitting under a tree, and even if they don’t have an OM email address. I love being a part of equipping people committed to our mission to be effective, fruitful and multiply.
Other excellent training programmes are available as well. REACH is an intensive training programme and internship that equips you to find your place in world missions. Incarnate is designed specifically for artists to learn more about God, their role in God’s story, and how they can use art in mission. These are just a few examples of what OM offers in terms of training. The opportunities are abundant, because everyone is unique, and we all need something different to empower us to use the gifts and skills God has given us to share God’s love with others.
Perhaps you are like me at 18 years old, wanting to start in mission but feeling unequipped. Perhaps you have knowledge and skills in a specific area, but you’re not sure how they connect with mission. Whatever the case, you will find learning opportunities to help you use your gifts and skills for mission. It is not a matter of “I can’t do that” but “I haven’t learnt how to do that yet.” OM can help. Check out our opportunities today.
Tami Zacharias leads OM in developing online learning courses and platforms as the International Leadership Development Associate, Digital Learning Manager.