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,
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…
We spent last Sunday at two services at Grace Bible Church. Grace has a special place in our hearts. I went to school there from second grade to graduation. I played basketball, soccer, and volleyball there. It’s where I learned most of what I know. We have some very good friends there.
One summer while I was in college I did an internship at Grace. Janell and I worked with the youth group during the summer, and it’s where we got one of our first chances to do ministry.
Janell and I also got married at Grace. I remember staring down the aisle from the front of the church to see my bride meet me at the altar.
Our oldest son went to Kindergarten at Grace, too. As we got out of the van this Sunday, he whispered in my ear, “It’s weird to go back to where you used to go to school.” I replied, “I know exactly how you feel.”
Grace has also been a supporting church for many years. It is great to have them as part of our team.
It’s fun to go back and relive memories while sharing about what we are trusting God for in the future. God has used the people of Grace for many years to influence our lives, and we are happy to have had the chance to see many of them this past week.
Since we’re in Florida for a few months, Janell’s dad got Shiloh and her cousin Kinsley a Barbie Jeep. It’s pretty stinking cool, and she loves it.
Check out the video on Youtube
Although our normal life is in Mexico City, we will be spending the rest of 2012 in Florida.
The purpose of our trip is to share about the ministry with people who don’t know what we do and to share the vision for the future with our current support team.
We’ll be sharing in churches all throughout Florida, and we’ll also be taking time to talk with people on an individual basis. We are going to be busy!