Thursday, January 30, 2014

We Take For Granted Our Youth Pastors

No Youth Pastors = Teens Absent In Church.

While visiting Haiti, the cultural norm of lacking a youth pastor in churches was the local's explanation for why 13-20 year olds ("jr. youth") were lacking in the Wesleyan churches.

Haitian church roles often include a Lead pastor for the church and a Kid's Pastor/Leader  for ages 13 and under.

Those over 20 years old (who are considered still youth) are taking initiative and responsibility in creating a place in church for themselves and their peers, but they're lacking an intentionality in reaching down to the next generation.

So the 13-20 year old teens just aren't coming.

I know there are 13-20 year olds who can lead the charge in our churches (but that is the rare exception without an adult point figure).  I never noticed this before.

I've never said thank you to youth pastors simply because their choice to live beyond their same aged friends and peers and intentionally reach out to the next generation, is most certainly a huge reason why we don't have a much larger problem of no teens in our churches.

Thank you youth pastors for your selfless investment.  You go beyond your comfort to help lead those who need spiritual leaders.  You are one of the biggest proponents for the gospel by engaging humanity when we're younger and most open to receiving the gospel.  We need you in the church.

Thank you from the bottoms of my heart.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Haiti Youth on The Move

The Youth Leaders Convention is done and the Haiti Youth Leaders Are On The Move.
This Youth Leader's Convention was Ground Breaking from the perspective of many leaders involved.  165 Youth Leaders of all ages and levels of education from all over Haiti coming to Port-au-Prince and then being sent out to focus their youth groups on reaching the 13-20 year olds (jr. youth) being lost in their churches. 
  This is Number 1 of 4 Trainings that will happen every 6 months for the next 2 years.   Carl and Maya Gilles with Global Partners are coming alongside of the youth board (sitting below) who are the solid local leaders making it happen on the ground. 

 This was the closest thing to a large youth camp/convention that many of these leaders have experienced.  Their feedback sheets ooze with people making spiritual commitments, being challenged, and this revolutionizing the way they'll begin to lead in their church/ youth groups in the future.
The Projected Aftermath (in my opinion):
  1. A New wave of youth ages 13-20 being saved (where it's been people after 20 years old being saved and taking leadership more seriously here.
  2. There were multiple people who received Christ, and an even greater number of leaders committing to full-time life of ministry.
  3. For many this gave a New Confidence and Clarity to revolutionize their youth groups from a Sunday afternoon social time for all ages to a focused ministry to save the missing next generation with a healthy balance of outreach events and smaller accountability groups.
  4. A Huge New wave of Youth Leaders stepping up in their 20's or 30's who have not felt empowered in their churches and simply still attend because their considered youth.  This 4 part training really will be the base of training up the next generation of lay leaders and many lead pastors concerning youth ministry (many don't have access to resources or biblical training anywhere in Haiti or online yet).
John Vermilya from KBM (who grew up in Haiti speaking Creol) was the night speaker.  He absolutely tore it up!
The camp was held at Global Outreach's Camp Barnabas in Haiti
(Below) The Haiti Youth Leaders waited in line for 30-45 minutes simply to receive an optional printed Bible reading plan.

 The Caton's Island team (below) run the Wesleyan church's only summer camp on an island that I'm aware of.  They left yesterday after leading the outdoor camp activities and breakout sessions. 
Last but not Least, Hanging Out With Cute Kids Overseas is always a necessity.  These are two of Carl and Maya's girls:

Saturday, January 04, 2014

One Interesting Fact about Haiti's Youth Ministry

The Youth ministry here ranges from the ages of 13-30 years old! (at least in the Wesleyan church).
"Jr. Youth" are roughly from 13-19 and "Sr. Youth" are roughly 20-30 years old.
 Plane in to Port-au-Prince
This group seems to have the reverse problem of North American churches.  They have stronger sr. youth ministries for 20-30 year olds but are hurting for jr. youth ministries from 13-19 year olds.
 Missionary Carl Gilles Praying Over a Commitment Time

Cool God Moment: There was a huge break through "a-ha" moment across the crowd this morning when Carl challenged the 20-30 year olds to act as though they've "graduated" from youth and realize it's time to step up as responsible leaders for the 13-19 year olds.
 The Night Meeting Space
I've just finished up my second day of teaching, and just caught up on sleep.  
(2 sessions per day for 5 days, an hour & a half each session)
I'm loving being with the Gilles family, John Vermilya from KBM, and the Caton's Island team.
 This is The Teaching Space Where I'm Training Leaders on the Purpose Driven Youth Ministry
Internet is limited here, so there will only be a few posts over the week.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

My Quick Haiti Overlook

Here's The Basic Haiti Information I Found Important As I'm Preparing To Fly Into Port-Au-Prince, Haiti
(please be aware: all statistics are just approximates used as a reference point based off web searches)

Since Life Expectancy is Lower…
63 years old is Life Expectancy (compared to US-79 & CA-82)
This Means A Younger Population Which Means Younger Leaders.
Median age is 22 (US-37 & Canada-40)

The Feel Is…
95% Black (Ethnicity)
Speak French/Creole (only other country in North America besides Canada) (Language)
80% Roman Catholic (Religion)
Voodoo culture still has prominent effects.

Haiti’s Poverty…
Haiti’s poverty is considered among the most severe in the Western Hemisphere with potentially over half of the people living below the poverty line.
$1,000 is an estimate yearly per capita international income (US/Canada closer to $50,000)
This Affects Sanitation, Safety, Education, And A Variety Of Other Living Issues.

Haiti shares the main island beside the Dominican Republic.
Port-Au-Prince is the capital and main airport.
Just Saying...
Mangos are a main fruit.
Soccer is the main sport.
Bouki & Malis are a local folktale that compare the "Smartie" Malis & "Dummie" Bouki.
The 7.0 Earthquake in 2010 was huge devastation for buildings and people killing over 300,000.
Cholera outbreak started in 2010 
2012 Hurricane(s) & rain mixed with poverty limitations cause sickness & difficulties.

Yesterdays Facebook Post from Missionary Maya Gilles Describes the main purpose of this trip where I'm leading 10 Seminars in 5 days: