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Beyond Words 2007 conference   PDF  Print  E-mail 

First ever Children's Ministry Training Conference in the Gulf

UAE November 2007: 240 participants from 4 different Arab Gulf States came together for the first ever children's ministry training conference in the Arabian Peninsula. In October the Bible Society in the Gulf facilitated the first Beyond Words 2007 conference organized by the Grain of Wheat Foundation from Lebanon. The highly innovative training conference was held over three days in October at the Dubai Evangelical Church Centre in Jebel Ali Dubai, UAE. The Sunday School teachers, children’s ministry workers and catechists who attended were from several mainline traditions such as the Catholic, Episcopalian, Marthoma, Orthodox, Evangelical, Baptist and Pentecostal churches . Workshops in 9 different skills and theatricals were conducted and the conference delegates received training in story-telling, drama, clowning, puppetry, ventriloquism, tricks and illusion, children’s worship, technology and keep fit. Each of these different areas presented the delegates with unique, fun and interesting techniques to deliver the Gospel message and Biblical values to children. Shahab said, "My attitude to teaching the Bible to children will never be the same, my classes will never be the same." Maria from one of the local churches said: "This conference has inspired our creativity and rekindled our commitment to children’s ministry.” Elizabeth said: “Now I have learned three new forms through which I can open up God's Word to children. Using fun techniques such as these will remove the boring element from my classes." John said, "I didn’t realize that leading children’s worship is a lot more demanding than adult worship. This workshop also helped me see the importance of conveying correctly, basic theological concepts based on an accurate interpretation of God’s Word."
Besides training exposure conference participants could also appreciate the diversity and unity in the church. Eustachia said “thanks to the Bible Society, I was able to meet people from different church backgrounds. People I wouldn’t have normally met.” For many of the delegates attending it was their first time visit to the Jebel Ali Bible Centre also located in DECC. Hala, Annie and Shibu said “We are amazed at the variety of Children’s Bibles and materials available here in the UAE. Cyril, Raji, Anthony and many others asked, "When is the Bible Society organizing another conference like this? We want all our friends to attend and not miss a special opportunity like this one."

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