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The Lake Union Club Ministries offered 50 Pathfinder honor classes, including Cultural Diversity (pictured above).

June 28, 2020

Lake Union Club Ministries Academy draws 15,000 participants

Shortly after states began their lock-downs, two youth leaders realized they had a unique opportunity to provide a seamless transition from a face-to-face to online Pathfinder Club Ministry.

Lake Region Conference Youth Director, Abraham Henry and Lake Region Pathfinder Coordinator, Eric Jean-Baptiste created the Club Ministries Academy (CMA) with the intention of teaching honors to 50 Pathfinders. But by the first week they noticed that they were on to something. “We started seeing the numbers and how many people were in the webinars,” Jean-Baptiste remembers.

Since CMA’s launch on March 28, they have hosted 60 classes for more than 15,000 participants in 28 countries; including Antigua, Mexico, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Haiti, Indonesia, Australia, and more.

“What we’ve provided is literally being able to bless people around the world because there are some people who can’t do certain activities in certain countries,” says Henry. “Now because of the online education that we’ve provided instead of them coming to visit a specific location we now bring it to their living room.”

For the first several months, classes were taught five days a week. The top three classes were Social Media with 486 participants, followed by Artificial Intelligence attracting 429, and Brain and Behavior with 427 people.

Among the other honors taught were: Tents, Quilt-making, Knot-tying, Microscopic Life, Weather, Flags, Disciples and Apostles, Food-freezing, Journalism, Pizza-making.

Surprisingly, Henry has noticed a steady number of non-Pathfinders taking advantage of the free classes. “We do have some youth that are not part of Club Ministries who simply just come and watch, come and learn the life skills because we don’t like to turn young people away,” Henry says.

There’s a mixture of Pathfinders and professionals teaching the online classes including college professors, nurses, doctors, pastors, podcasters, social media influencers, journalists, and more.

One of Henry’s biggest concern was to not make the class easier because it’s online. “There’s a myth that often goes on, and this is the same thing with online education – that online makes it easier,” says Henry. “I always say it is Club Ministries Academy’s goal that we don’t make Pathfinders easier. We just want to make Pathfinders ministry more accessible.”

Henry and Jean-Baptiste plan to continue operating CMA after the pandemic. “It will not replace the club; it is just another resource that can help clubs that are maybe struggling to find honor professors or aren’t sure how to teach an honor class. They can come to us for that. Nothing will replace the hands-on experience and hands-on meeting of being in-person at a Pathfinder club,” Jean-Baptiste is quick to point out.

Since the launch, the first online Pathfinder classes in North America, the pair approached the Lake Union Youth leadership and the concept was embraced by other youth directors. “It was initially started by the Lake Region Conference, but now it’s a ministry that’s under the Lake Union Conference,” explains Henry.

Master Guide workshops are also available through CMA. In addition, Adventurer honor classes are offered to children ages 9 and below. In order to receive a badge from a class, participants must be an active member in their local club.

Visit the CMA website to see how to support Club Ministries Academy or sign-up for a class.

Freelance writer Malissa Henry is a member of Detroit’s City Temple Church.