Bishop Rubin is on sabbattical. Dean Ndabezinhle Sibisi writes in his capacity as Vicar General of the Diocese of Natal for the Izindaba (No. 30). He writes about the importance of Youth Ministry. Read further:
Young people are often assigned as leaders to lead other young yet very little is done to make sure they do it in a manner that is relevant to the ministry they are called to. Most of the time we find that these leaders often do not fully understand the task at hand and as such later on end up not carrying them successfully till the end of their term or that the people they lead end up losing confidence in them. Now when that happens those earlier assigned as leaders are left with the stigma that they have collapsed in their leadership due to their lack of leadership skills. That is where the Church fits in as it serves as an anchor and mentor to these young individuals taking up the baton of leading other young people in Christ.
Jesus spent most of His time with His disciples, whether it was leisure time, routine living, or work. He monitored their development and had visions for their future ministry. He spent hours in prayer for them. He challenged them. He gave them jobs to do, pushing them out into more activity and responsibility – giving them freedom to fail. He allowed them to see him weak and troubled. He continued even to attend to them as He was dying on the Cross. This ought to be our approach to the young people. For a successful youth ministry these are the ingredients.
Young leaders in Church should be trained and equipped in making sure they carry out their tasks.
1. Understanding God’s Will:
A youth leader needs to understand and know who God is and the purpose they are sent to do in this world. We cannot over emphasize the importance of having young people leading other young people to Christ. It is important that they are nurtured in a manner that will help them grow spiritually in order for them to pass the message clearly to those they lead.
This is one of the primary callings of leaders in youth ministry that of servant-hood, serving God first then the people put before them. They are to understand that they are called to be of good use to others and therefore need to serve with diligence and integrity.
Mission and evangelism is important as it strengthens the bonds of fellowship, grows one spiritually and otherwise. This characteristic takes more than just the leaders but mentoring by lay persons and clergy as young leaders still need help and intervention in this regard.
4. Big Shouldered:
A leader must clothe him/herself with compassion so as to be there for all the people he/she leads at levels needed by those vulnerable, at times they will be faced with situations that are draining emotionally and spiritually but they need to be able to be hands on and involved in resolutions (or help).
This can never be over emphasized as responsibilities are what are assigned to these leaders and therefore being a responsible person is no exception at all. They need to have a firm voice which will make them heard and noticed however they should not abuse such powers because many a times young leaders turn and allow their ‘egos’ to cloud their judgement.
Motivation even though can sometimes depend on the response of the people leading since they at times determine the level at which the ministry will go, it is very important to keep in check how motivated leaders are or still remain to be.
At times young people will have disputes against each other and perhaps other congregants, a good leader needs to know and be equipped in handling such cases with much care and understanding.
8. Role Model:
Leaders are to at all times be role models to those they lead, they are under a lot of scrutiny and whatever mistakes or behaviour they carry might have a huge impact on their ministry.
Youth is an integral part of the Church. Our youth are our future. Think of a jig-saw-puzzle, if one part is missing, the whole thing is incomplete. So the Church needs to invest more on young people.
My heartfelt thanks to Bishop Rubin for appointing Ms Pearl Nzuza – the Diocesan Youth Coordinator. She has already made her presence felt in the Diocese. I happily commend her Report which appeared in last week’s edition of Izindaba on her recent visit to the North West Episcopal Area.
We certainly have in this Diocese of Natal a very vibrant youth ministry. Our young people are ALIVE. However I am concerned that our objective of building a non-racial youth is not realized yet. Nevertheless I am hopeful that through God’s grace this dream shall be achieved in the not so distant future.