How the ConneXions Model Influenced our Children’s Ministry in India
Lenin and Jothi Elijah, a husband and wife ministry team, were searching for something profound for their lives and ministry. They attended a LeaderSource ConneXions Intensive training program in January, 2013. Since then they have seen their ministry transformed through their application of the ConneXions Model. The following story was told to us by Jothi:
We attended the ConneXions Intensive in January, 2013. Both of us were no longer satisfied with the existing religious and superficial system and we had always longed for someone that could answer our thirst. At the time, our newborn niece had been admitted to the hospital for a heart operation but we still felt led to attend the Intensive even though our presence was needed at the hospital. This training was so different than any other spiritual program we had ever attended. Our facilitators, (LeaderSource India Director, Raj Chelvaraj and LeaderSource East India Coordinator, Bal Bahadur), said that all of the participants had been hand-picked by God and are very unique. We could see God moving among us and working deeply, pruning us and removing things which were hindrances so that God could use us and bless us.
Experiencing Transformation of Life in the Intensive
Even though we had a heavy heart about our newborn niece, God started to encourage our hearts when the participants began to introduce themselves and started sharing their testimonies. I remember going through the Knowing God course which helped us see how great and wonderful God is. His creation of the entire universe, Milky Way, several galaxies, and even the size of the earth was presented to me in such a way that I was amazed by His majesty. One afternoon, we were told to go outside, find a place to ourselves, and worship God. I cannot forget this moment in my life. I spent the time weeping, thinking about how small I was before Him but that He loved me anyway.
After years of ministry activities, it became apparent that we were drained and burnt out. The experience in the Intensive was so refreshing and we spent so much time in the love and presence of God. When Raj and Bal presented the ConneXions Model, we were asked to write about leadership crises that we saw in others’ lives. In our small group, we wrote so many down! After presenting these to the entire group, Raj and Bal asked us, “Did Jesus’ disciples experience the same problems? Do we also deal with these kinds of issues?” This struck us so profoundly as we realized how judgmental we were towards others. This made us think, “Who are we to judge these other leaders?” It was as if someone was holding a mirror up to my life. In that moment, we rededicated our lives to Christ and to caring for others. The model was so different than anything we had learned in the past. The whole model brought us back to truly loving and experiencing God daily. It taught us key things about healthy leader development and, most importantly, it transformed our inward lives. One of the LeaderSource team contacted us after the Intensive and invited us to participate in several other Building Healthy Leaders (BHL) courses that he was conducting, which we did.
Deciding Our Next Steps
After the Intensive, we began to think about how we could use the model in our ministries. Every time we attended a BHL, the question was asked of us, “Who are you building?” This helped us think and act effectively. Before we participated in the Intensive, we were overseeing three Sunday School programs. We had noticed that the children kept attending week after week without much change in their lives. We started praying about what could be done to bring transformation to their lives. We began to see how many bad influences surrounded their lives. Some of the parents were not good role models. Many of the fathers were alcoholics and the mothers held immoral occupations. The young teenagers had very bad role models in their own older sisters and brothers.
In order to have a constant interaction with the children, we decided to start a Study Center, where children would come to us every evening from 5-8 PM to study various subjects from their school classes. Both Lenin and I sat down together and created a plan based on the 5C/4D ConneXions Model for the academic year of 2014-2015. We had a goal of building them in the 5C’s so that they would be healthy little leaders. The 5C’s (Christ, Community, Character, Calling, Competencies) is the goal we are aiming for. We want every leader to be strong in those five areas. The 4D’s (Four Dynamics of Transformation ‒ Spiritual, Experiential, Relational, and Instructional) are the process of how we are built and how we cause transformation to happen in the lives of those we are building. Below is the design we created and the activities we came up with to transform the children’s lives, based on the ConneXions Model of the 5C’s and 4D’s.