A congregation exists to provide more than worship opportunities. Seventh-day Adventist churches are there to help meet the needs of entire families. Towards that end, family ministry leaders from all over the Trans-European Division come together annually for a Family Ministry Leaders’ Training event (formerly CFLE) to learn, discover new ideas, share their experiences, and form lifelong friendships. Various modules are covered during several years of training events. This year the training was held in Montenegro’s Hotel Splendid, immediately after TED Year End Meetings.
Karen Holford, TED Family Ministries director, organized the training event and taught the module in Christian Parenting. She covered topics such as meeting children’s relational needs, helping them to manage their emotions, nurturing their character, setting loving limits, family spirituality, and intergenerational church worship.
He covered sex education for children of all ages, helping teens navigate relational challenges
Dr. Gabor Mihalec, a pastor and couple’s counselor from Hungary, taught about Human Sexuality. He covered sex education for children of all ages, helping teens navigate relational challenges, intimacy in marriage, and protecting marriages from infidelity. His teaching involved a range of methods, including group discussions, debates, video clips, and planning an appropriate sermon series on sexuality.
Dr. Mike Pearson shared ideas in Family Ethics in a warm and engaging way that kept everyone interested and inspired. He challenged traditional ideas and values, offered useful guidelines for ethical thinking, and helped the group to reflect on some of the ethical dilemmas faced by Christian families and pastors.
One of the ideas that the group found particularly inspiring was a quote by Irenaeus that ‘the glory of God is a human being fully alive’. From then on being ‘fully alive’ was the group motto, and each person found their own unique way to express their aliveness. Some ran to the local town of Budva and back before breakfast. Some climbed the hill opposite the hotel to discover an old olive tree that was still fully alive after 2000 years. Some paddled in waterfalls and swam in the ocean, and others simply enjoyed the spa!
On the closing evening the group celebrated with a mini graduation ceremony. Pastor Aster Bruce from the North England Conference was the only person to complete the course series this year. He started his training in 2008 but had missed one of the modules and had to wait until 2016 to complete the course. He has already put his learning into practice by running effective family evangelism programs in his local church.