Liz Encinia says this past year she’s seen videos spark conversations and changes she never would’ve imagined, but, to be honest, she never would’ve imagined the videos existing in the first place.
“We didn’t do anything digital before COVID-19,” said Liz, who serves as executive director-treasurer for Kentucky WMU. But like it did for many other people, the pandemic pushed Liz and her team into figuring out how to navigate a world where no one could meet in person.
“It really challenged our program staff to do things a little different,” she said.
Support from the Second Century Fund helped make that happen. The Second Century Fund has been helping to provide women’s leadership training domestically and internationally ever since the first four grants were given at WMU’s Centennial Celebration in Richmond, Virginia, in 1988.
“As soon as the pandemic hit, we began hosting online group meetings and things like that,” Liz said.
She said the funds allowed them to upgrade their subscriptions to Vimeo, Zoom, and Movavi “to create videos so that we could host a larger bandwidth of online resources.”
Movavi gave them the ability to create and edit their own training videos and post them on Vimeo, and the Zoom subscription allowed them to host as many leadership gatherings as they could dream up.
So they started dreaming.
Wanda Walker, Kentucky WMU’s missions consultant for adults and church wide, started hosting a Tuesday night gathering on Zoom for Women on Mission leaders. Stacy Nall, missions consultant for preschool and children, began hosting online workshops for Mission Friends and Girls in Action leaders and led an online missions camp in summer 2020. She also created a training event called Missions Out of the Box, which helps children’s missions leaders get new ideas.
Other staff members began contributing resources, too, including Jon Auten, missions consultant for boys and Kentucky Changers, who began a YouTube channel for Kentucky Royal Ambassadors. On that channel, he goes through the camp craft video and teaches leaders how to engage their RA participants with it.
All that together has built a fantastic new resource for Kentucky missions leaders. “We now have a page on our website that is missions leader training, and we have videos on there that our leaders can go back to,” Liz said.
They’ve seen it spread in ways they didn’t expect. Some of their associational WMU groups started Facebook pages for the first time so that they could share and use the missions leader training videos offered by Kentucky WMU, along with resources like prayer calendars. Through that new avenue of outreach, they’ve seen women get more deeply involved in WMU or even involved for the first time.
“Some of the people who interacted with those Facebook pages had never even heard of Missions Mosaic,” Liz said. “It was one of those kind of organic growths—it just stemmed from one person sharing a video, but it made a lot of difference.”
The Second Century Fund gave Kentucky WMU “an opportunity to meet people where they were without meeting people where they were,” she said.
Written by Grace Thornton.