August 1, 2012
by Stan Nickel
First Mennonite Church

FMC ‘cyber Sunday school’ connects with mission workers abroad

For the month of May, the youth of First Mennonite Church of Richmond participated in a cyber Sunday school class, in which the Internet served as a classroom resource and as a global window to visit Mennonite missionaries and young people, worldwide.

The first Sunday we familiarized ourselves with use of the Internet in the classroom. The next three Sundays the class visited with various people overseas via Skype. On May 13, we became acquainted with Caleb Benner and three students at Lezha Academic Center in Albania. On May 20, we visited with “cradle Mennonites” in Taiwan, who are cousins of Judy Yoder from First Mennonite Church. On May 27, we visited with the Chris and Melody Riddle family in Italy.

Considering the fact that his students were of Catholic and Muslim background, Caleb had this to say about his experience, “I thought it was a cool idea and it was interesting to see how the students reacted very shy at first. But they got more comfortable and curious about each other as the time went on.”

Chris also made the comment that, “I thought that this was a good idea and can be a good thing for missionaries and churches alike…We can fill people in on what is happening and get feedback from the church communities at the same time. For the churches in the US, you get to see and hear about what is happening in the field.”

Ideas for the future might include:

    • Organizing an international Bible contest with multiple internet connections
    • providing a method for shut-ins to participate in regular Sunday school classes
    • playing Kinect-style Bible games
    • designing cyber Sunday School study materials and how-to handbooks
    • introducing a cyber missionary effort.

Conclusions: Networking with one another, transcending borders and physical barriers is relatively easy for us today. Consequently, Christian churches can use today’s technology to expand their horizons in ways never before possible. For details, visit the class website.

Filed in: All posts, Connections