Sustainability is one of the pillars of Edify’s global mission. One of our targets is to help school proprietors run their schools as sustainable businesses by training them in best practices, bookkeeping, accounting practices, and more. Christian Transformation activities, however, aren’t always thought of when encouraging sustainability. But if last year has taught us anything, sustainable discipleship activities are essential if we want to see children continue their faith beyond the classroom.
Training Young Leaders for Sustainable Discipleship
Discipleship Clubs were one of the most affected Christian Transformation activities in Edify partner schools during school closures. Since most were dependent on teachers helping to facilitate in-person Clubs, many had stopped meeting. In Liberia, Edify decided to train students to lead their own Clubs.
Fifty students from 10 schools gathered for a Student Leadership Training so “they could take charge of the program if teachers would leave or schools would close,” tells Leo Mayson (Christian Transformation and Training Officer). Each of the 10 schools nominated five students to attend the leadership training. They were trained how to facilitate, multiply, encourage fellow students to join, and how to share the Gospel. Now they’re taking hold of their discipleship through learning to lead others.
“Because Discipleship Club mentors we were working with had begun to phase out, we started looking into student leadership activities even before the pandemic. Our desire was for schools to be self-sufficient in their discipleship activities. So we wanted students to be raised up as leaders,” Leo shares.
And there’s no shortage of passionate students around Liberia who desire greater discipleship.
An annual Student Conference was held in the capital city of Monrovia for 500 students and their teachers from Edify Core Schools and newly joined schools. Leo says, “At the Conference, we had a time of prayer for our nation of Liberia and all of the partner schools. Students could learn more about Christian Transformation activities and be trained on how to make them engaging and vibrant. We also had a time of re-dedications where students could re-dedicate their walk with Jesus. But the best testimony is that 18 people gave their lives to Jesus, four of which were teachers.”
Building Committees to Foster Growth
Alongside training and conferences, what is integral to the sustainability of student discipleship are School Transformation Committees. Part of Edify’s Christian Transformation training program helps schools develop and establish these Committees. The Committee is formed of school leaders, non-teaching staff, students, student-parent chairman, and a community chairman. They help oversee and direct Christ-centered activities both in and outside of school. Since last October, 45 new School Transformation Committees were established in Liberia, tallying 600 Committees across Liberia.
Encouraging schools to build Committees helps foster spiritual growth, makes the needs of students and faculty known, and allows outside voices to help guide alongside them and vice versa. In addition, community and parent investment are pillars to what makes these Committees impactful and sustainable. “If you want your child to benefit from education, you have to support the school. If you want to transform your community, you need to invest in the parents,” says Leo.
Edify supports each school’s School Transformation Committee by attending meetings, providing mentorship, and continued training.
Quality education can open up the door to untold opportunities. Yet, it’s the power of the Gospel that can transform neighborhoods, cities, and nations. As students around Liberia continue to be discipled, disciple others, and share their faith, it’s not hard to imagine what a flourishing Liberia looks like. By encouraging sustainable Christ-centered activities, students are growing to become the next leaders, ushering in a new story for their generation.