EMAIL RECEIVED FROM PASTOR DAVY SICHONE (LMC AFRICA – DEAN OF SOUTHERN AFRICAN SCHOOL)
After returning home from the Rise Missions Conference in Pretoria, South Africa recently, the Lord began to work a passion into my heart as regards a renewed focus on the Childrens’ and Youth Ministries.
The emphasis of the conference was the dearth of effective Mission’s training for youth, where our young people can be trained, discipled and empowered to rise up and fulfill their destiny in reaching the nations with the Gospel (“Good News”) of Jesus Christ. The Church is often too quick to segregate the Children’s Ministry into a glorified baby-sitting service. This may carry over to the Youth Ministry, where young people in their most formative years are being entertained by games, movies and music (something that the world does as well or better than the church).
There is a saying in Islam, “Give us your 4-year old son and by the time he is 8-years old, we will have made him into a true Moslem.” Islam has long ago recognized the power of disciplining and raising up the next generation of leaders and ‘jihadists’, while Christianity mollycoddles its youth by providing them their every material and educational need, often neglecting the most important component of life, the spiritual. Here in Africa we are even seeing Christian families sending their children to Moslem schools because the standard of education is so much better there. What a shame!
The Jehovah Witness sect has also done a more credible job of training and discipling their young people than the Church. This fact can be attested to by the difficulty that one experiences trying to witness to them. They are well-grounded in their “doctrine of demons”.
The world, too, is having a more powerful influence on our young people through movies, television, music, video games, sports and the like. Most young people, even within the Christian influence, idolize movie stars, rap artists, social icons or sports figures.
Frankly, we are losing the battle for the hearts, minds and spirits of our young people. As the Rise Conference emphasized, the Church needs to be revived from its slumber as regards the training, discipling, mentoring and empowering of our children and youth. Let us as a Church, rise up, review and revamp completely our Childrens’ and Youth Ministries, and as leadership take up a much more active role, not only in the formulation of a new vision for these ministries, but also in their implementation.
For us at LMC Africa, I believe this means identifying children and young people within our sphere of influence and pouring out the vision of Jesus Christ into them through mentoring, encouragement and steadfast love and acceptance.
Let us repent of the sin of neglect and work together to see the next generation of powerfully anointed missionaries, evangelists and church-planters launched into the uttermost parts of the earth.