YM Quotes:

YM Quotes:

Youth ministry is always a challenge. Youth ministry is consistently changing. Youth ministry is regularly surprising. Youth ministry is fresh all the time. (Mark Oestreicher)

Although students need guidance from good leaders, we often take on too much of the responsibility for their knowledge about God. We want them to blindly adopt our opinions rather than work out their own understanding. Instead we must help young people learn how to think for themselves with God’s perspective as their foundation and the Word of God as their rule. (Sean Dunn)

(You'll find more YM Quotes below the posts)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Missions Part 2

2. Missions - a practical example

Even though God called us to reach out to the whole world, how does one do that practically? You should definitely be all the time aware to”…always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” (1 Peter 3:15).
There are some many ways to get involved in Missions work (in a foreign country or at your door-step), one wonderful and powerful way is to get involved in or to start a social ministry with the aim to meet peoples daily needs and through living out God’s love to share the gospel with them.

As I am involved in Soccer Ministry (in Mamelodi) for over 8 years now I thought I could best describe how to get involved or start a social ministry by telling my story:

2.1. Vision or calling
When I came to South Africa as a missionary I first did (together with my family) a half-year training course and then got involved in local youth ministry. I still had some time left and so I tried to find out in what other ministry I could get involved, but found no answer. Then one night I had a strange dream: “I was in a township playing soccer with kids, sharing the gospel with them and giving them food”. When I woke up the next morning I shared the dream with my wife and my colleague, we agreed to pray that God would guide me as we all believe that God had a clear plan. Nothing happened. Two weeks later I facilitated a youth leadership course, after we finished a guy came up to me and simply said: “Hi I am Trevor and I am still looking for somebody who can join me to establish a soccer-ministry in Mamelodi”, stunned I responded “I am Alex, and I was waiting for you!”. He did not know about my dream!
God gives you a clear calling about something - you need to be patient, aware and willing!

2.2. Crafting a plan
After I received the vision and found someone to work with we sat down, planned and asked questions:
What are the needs and the interests of young people in that area?
What exactly do we want to do?
Where do we want to do it?
How should the programme look like in order to be interesting and effective?
What and how much resources do we need to make it happen?
How often and what is the best day/time in the week to do it?
What possible difficulties could we face?
What are some of the goals we want to achieve?
You need to be able to answer these (and many more) questions. Be prepared as good as possible, but then also be brave and start (don’t waist time by over-planning). It will be a journey (learning process) as you continue with the project.

2.3. Finding resources
When we first started we had basically transport, 3 soccer balls, 2-3 volunteers and a 20 Litre bucket for water. Finding enough and the right resources is difficult and challenging, but possible. What we did is to pass on our passion about this ministry to as many others as possible, over time we found several churches and individuals who either gave us once-off donations or started to give a small amount regularly. Others donate material resources and others give their time and knowledge (like our sports-volunteers).

2.4. Facing challenges (endurance)
Ministry (like life) is not a smooth ride and challenges cannot quickly be fixed.
Here are two (of many) examples:
Right in the beginning we planned to work together with a primary school in Mamelodi. The principal promised us to help, but when arrived with a full program he denied us to work there. So we went to a park nearby and started the work there (this is where we still conduct our training today!). Some years later we had a volunteer who was a great coach (in terms of his soccer skills and knowledge), but he had very bad people-skills (he was often rude to the children). I tried to address this many times, but eventually it was so bad that it threatened the existence of the ministry. It was very difficult for me to loose an extra pair of hands and his expertise, but I had to ask him to leave (as he was not willing to change his attitude).
Be willing to be in there for the long run, no short cuts. You will face hard times, as you work through them with God, you will become stronger and more efficient.

2.5. Establish the work
Many people asked us, why we have not yet established a proper team, organized tournaments, found bigger sponsors… One oft our key factors is to keep it simple, our vision is to takes children off the streets and to reach them for Christ, we as well want to invest in their soccer skills, but it is not our main priority.
You need to evaluate your work and find out what are the key factors to be able to continue with it (for us it is basically faithful long-term Christian volunteers, an available sports-ground, simple soccer-gear…).
I am not saying that it is wrong to dream big, but I rather do something which has a long-lasting live-changing impact on peoples lives, than a huge dream/ vision which will never become reality.

2.6. Pray always
Last but not least, imbed everything always in prayer. Have a prayer-support group, ask your volunteers and your church to pray, and pray yourself. Remember: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil. 4:6)
Prayer expresses our dependence to and trust in God. HE can do the impossible!

2.7. Handing over
Even if the timeline defers from project to project, as everything is constantly changing the leadership will sooner or later change as well. New workers will emerge and old ones might retire or move to other places.
Be aware of change - don’t expect that it will always stay the same .
See the signs - look for young people within your program with potential or for new people who want to help (nurture them).
Be willing to hand over – it is not about you, but God’s work (maybe you stand in the way for further growth).

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