The world has changed. The Church has changed. Our understanding of how to engage in “effective mission” has changed, thus if Operation Classroom is going to be engaged in ministry that does change lives, it must change. What hasn’t changed in the fundamental mission of Operation Classroom – that remains the same, because it is based on needs in West Africa that have not changed.
The mission of Operation Classroom
The mission of Operation Classroom is to partner with The United Methodist Church in Liberia and Sierra Leone to improve education.
However, how we do this work is evolving – possibly dramatically. Beginning with a challenge by Bishop Yambasu of Sierra Leone some time ago to “help put this country to work,” we’ve been engaged in an on-going dialogue with our West African partners about what that could and should look like - resulting in some exciting and innovative ideas. As a result of those conversations and in response to them, the Operation Classroom Board of Directors adopted the following Vision Statement to guide us as we move forward:
“The Vision of Operation Classroom is to see lives empowered; careers developed, leaders prepared, and hope realized; for the advancement of God's Kingdom in the world.”
But there is one critical caveat – this vision needs to be part of Operation Classroom’s mission not only in West Africa but here in Indiana as well. If our partnership with the UM Church in Liberia and Sierra Leone is not helping make disciples of Jesus Christ here in Indiana, then it’s not really the kind of partnership that we think God is leading us to.
Thus, a fact-finding team of three new and former Operation Classroom Board members left Oct. 14, 2015, to go to West Africa to engage in a series of “collaboration meetings” to consider specifics regarding implementation of those ideas. Upon their return, the OC Board will be engaging to “give legs” to that vision, both in West Africa and here in Indiana.
You can expect to hear about how this will look in early 2016. The Operation Classroom Board of Directors is excited, engaged and passionate about what this can and will look like, and what it will mean for the mission of Jesus Christ in United Methodist churches in Indiana, in Liberia and Sierra Leone.