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Appreciating 2012

It’s hard to believe that 2012 is coming to a close! We are grateful to God for all the good things He has done during this year of ministry. This newsletter is dedicated to appreciating 2012 and anticipating the future of youth ministry training in Latin America.

A Few of the Stories We Appreciate From 2012

  • Juan, who graduated in 2011, and returned to his home state of Oaxaca, took the initiative to begin 2 certificate in youth ministry programs. He has walked with and trained more than 30 other youth worker and seen God double the size of his own local church youth group.
  • Josue and Kareny graduated in June 2012 and went to their hometown of Monterrey in the north of Mexico. They started a group to train youth leaders in their region and have seen it grow to around 80 people. They held their first training conference in November and are negotiating with a local Seminary to begin a certificate program in January.
  • The Mexican Baptist Theological Seminary has agreed to host a professorial program similar to the ministry we did in Cuba and will train youth ministry professors at the Master’s level in order to open as many as 5 Centers for Youth Ministry in Mexico in the next 3 years. We are moving forward with these plans for 2013.
  • We have also seen God add to our team of trainers, bringing us Chris and Hannah Bond (who are raising support) and Maykel who is helping part time from Miami.
  • Other things we appreciate are: FBC Ozona and their mission house to stay in while stateside, our faithful team of prayer supporters who especially joined with us while Nathan was in the hospital, and those who have sustained the ministry financially during the last year.

Thank you for being part of our life and ministry in 2012. We are anticipating 2013.

Workshop in Monterrey

Besides training at the formal level at Seminaries and Bible colleges, we also do informal conferences and seminars in order to train local church youth workers with a Biblical philosophy of youth ministry that they can apply to their ministries. In Mexico, we have branded this one or two-day conference as “El Gran Viaje”, which means, The Great Journey.

We talk about how on any great journey, or road trip, you have to know where you are, where you want to go, and how you are going to get there. Then we talk about youth culture, the goal of youth ministry and how to help young people move towards spiritual maturity.

This weekend, in Monterrey, two of our graduates (Josue and Kareny) taught “The Great Journey” to 44 youth leaders from 20 local churches. They went all out and did an incredible job. Here are some pictures from their Saturday workshop.
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The Past and Future of Youth Ministry International

One of our colleagues wrote this update earlier this year, and I think it’s helpful to understand the direction of our organization, Youth Ministry International, throughout the world.

The man often called “The Father of Modern Missions” inspired people with these words: “Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.” (“for God” and “from God” was added later, but appropriate). Here are some of the great things that YMI is attempting:

Our President, Dr. Randy Smith, began taking youth groups on missions trips decades ago. As those missions trips experienced blessings and fruit from local outreach, he quickly began to see a huge issue that needed to be addressed. It was great to see young people come to Christ, but what happens after the American youth ministry leaves? Who is left to follow up with discipleship and continue the evangelism? Local leaders obviously needed to be developed among the national adult Christians. So he started YMI over twenty years ago.

As YMI began sending missionaries and other short-term workers to train national leaders to lead youth ministries in local churches, the focus was completely on informal training (i.e. not through formal courses in a Bible school or seminary). As YMI trained leaders in the cross-cultural principles of youth ministry, it immediately had an impact. However, there was still a major issue. As Randy wrote in his dissertation,

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Youth Specialties Convention in Orlando

This weekend I’ll be at the Youth Leadership Convention in Orlando. It is a yearly gathering of youth workers from all over Latin America hosted by Especialidades Juveniles, the Spanish arm of Youth Specialties.

We have been working together with team from Especialidades Juveniles in Mexico for the last 2 years. I’ve spoken at some of their events, written for their magazine, and they have helped organize youth leaders’ networking events throughout the country. They also asked me to contribute to a new study Bible for youth workers that is coming out this January.

I’m looking forward to going to the event and networking with leaders from all over Latin America. It will be good to meet up with people who I have met through our website ministeriojuvenil.com. I’m also hoping to make contacts with key people who will be able to help carry out the vision for future of Youth Ministry International in Latin America.

I’m hoping to tell you all about my adventures on Monday (and even as they happen, if possible). Stay tuned…

Youth Ministry Workshop this Weekend

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing at a youth ministry workshop in Mexico City.

I was invited by some youth workers I met at a Youth Specialties conference here, and I’m looking forward to being with them.

They asked me to come to their church and do a 2 hour conference on youth ministry. So, I’ll head over to the other side of the city and teach some youth ministry basics. I’ll be teaching on some topics I’ve been blogging about over at ministeriojuvenil.com.

It should be lots of fun.

I’d appreciate it if you’d pray for me.

It’s Labor Day and I’ve Already Finished Teaching One Course

The last week I was quiet on Facebook, Twitter, and here mostly because we were extremely busy.

Earlier this year, the Mexican Baptist Theological Seminary made an agreement with the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in California which, among other things, brings in visiting professors to Mexico every once in a while to teach intensive courses.

Last week was the first time we had some professors visit, and guess who got to be the host? That’s right: yours truly. It was great to have the two visiting professors here, and it was nice to meet them both. The students had a great week with them, too.

I was also teaching a youth ministry course last week. Each day from 8 AM until 2 PM I had “Principles of Youth Ministry” class with the freshmen and a few visiting (hopefully soon to be freshmen) students.

We had a great, yet exhausting week.

This week we start the official course schedules at the Seminary. I’ll be teaching “Ministry to Troubled Youth” and “Youth Culture.

YMI Summit Presentation

We just had our bi-annual Youth Ministry International Summit. This year it was in South Dakota. The Summit is a time for all of the YMI missionaries from all over the world to get together and share what God is doing in their respective regions.

Here’s my report for Latin America.

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