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Brent Carl visits Mexico

We’ve had a pretty crazy week. Brent Carl, the Vice President of Training Operations for Youth Ministry International visited this week to teach an intensive course to the youth ministry majors at the seminary. I’d tell you more about it, but I’ll let him (click here to go to his site).

President Calderon and Youth Ministry

The Mexican President, Felipe Calderon, at a recent meeting of heads of state in Latin America, said, “Hope must be offered to young people who don’t believe in anything.”

Even the President of Mexico realizes that young people need help. The interesting thing is that there are many people in the church (even in our Seminary) who think that youth ministry is a waste of time.

My students have to deal day in and day out with people telling them that they are wasting their time studying to minister to young people.

I tell them that there is a great need out there for people who really care about young people and who want to invest their lives influencing the next generation. It’s an ongoing struggle for them, but I know that they are committed to offering to these young people something to believe in.

It’s been a great week. I can’t wait to hear what my students say on Monday when they come back from their churches where they work. I know that they will be used this weekend as they offer hope to the hopeless generation here in Mexico.

(Photo of Mexican President and the President of San Salvador at a recent conference)

My Saturdays Just Got Busier

We just announced over on our Spanish website that we’ll be starting up a certificate program in youth ministry (see the announcement – Diplomado en Ministerio Juvenil – in Spanish) in January.

The idea is to offer an informal youth ministry training for those who cannot study at the seminary full time. This program will meet on Saturday mornings for four hours starting January 10, 2009. We’ll have two locations – one at the Seminary and the other at a church in the south of the city.

The entire certificate program lasts for a year, with nine courses overall that each last a month. We’ll be taking June, July, and December off each year.

I’m praying for 30-40 students in the entire program, which will benefit many churches.

So, if you read this and know someone in Mexico City who would be interested, pass them the link with more information. If you don’t live in Mexico City or know anyone in Mexico City, pleas pray with me for this new way to train youth workers here.

Seminary Anniversary

This week we’re celebrating the Seminary’s anniversary. So, I went to “La Iglesia Bautista Koinonia” today with two of the youth ministry students.

I was sick, and I told Juan to be prepared to preach for me this morning. But, I was able to preach, and I felt the message that I had was one that needed to be preached.

I preached on the need to proclaim the message and to be an example as the messengers. It was out of 2 Timothy 4:1-8. The Seminary’s motto is: “Preach the Word,” and comes from the same passage.

In a city of 25 million people, where less than 2% are evangelical Christian, the church needs to be ready to preach the Word, “in season and out of season” (a lot of it came from this experience) I believe that if we are to make a dent in this city, it’s going to take every Christian sharing with everyone they know.

It was a long but fruitful day. After the service we stayed for lunch and ate “mole,” which, surprisingly, is growing on me (a little). The church was super friendly, and we felt very welcome there. It was a good day.

(Photo by: Vilhelm Sjostrom)

First Days of School

Don’t you love the first few days of school? When I was a kid, I liked going back to school. It meant new clothes, new books (yeah, I’m weird), new smelling classrooms (even though I went to the same school from 2nd-12th grade, they always smelled like fresh paint), and new opportunities.

Now, as a professor, I like the first day of school because it means new thoughts on new subjects. It means new opportunities to share with a new group of students and to hear fresh ideas about the topics that will one day help them minister to young people in their communities.

It’s killing me not being in Mexico for the first classes this year. Huberto is teaching Principles of Youth Ministry to the freshman, and I got a report from him about the first day of classes. He tells me that the group is very involved in the class. I’m not sure what that means, but I’m hoping it turns out to be a good thing.

Well, in order to get by without being there this first week of school I’ve been watching this hilarious video that I saw. Maybe it will help you get through the first week of school, too.

Billy Joe McGuffery

(video via: Gman)

Youth Ministry Freshmen 2008

Today is the first day of classes at the Mexican Baptist Theological Seminary. The Center for Youth Ministry has the largest incoming freshman class that we’ve had in the five years of our existence. There are (at least) five new youth ministry students entering this year out of a freshman class of 13.

I’m excited because we really worked hard the last year to promote the youth ministry training program at various events throughout the country. Our students are spreading the word about one of the only bachelor’s degree programs for youth ministry in Latin America (link to Spanish website).

Below you’ll find the list of names of the freshmen youth ministry students. Please pray for them by name.

2008 Youth Ministry Freshmen Class

  • Victoria Castro Vázquez from Teziutlan, Puebla
  • Gerson Hernandez Vázquez from Teziutlan, Puebla
  • Josue Misael Lara Vázquez from Monterrey
  • Kareni Sadai Méndez Galván from Monterrey
  • Débora Osobampo Martinez from Sinaloa

Also be praying for the other youth ministry students who are beginning classes this week at the seminary. I’ll post more about each of them in the future. It’s going to be a great year of ministry.

Youth Ministry Certification

Youth Ministry International offers certification for youth workers who have demonstrated certain qualifications for ministry. In fact, there are 52 essential qualities for a certified youth worker. We basically see these qualities as our goals for the students in the Centers for Youth Ministry throughout the world.

The essential qualities fall under 5 categories: skills, character, knowledge, programming, and academic and experiential training. Receiving the certification also allows the youth worker to conduct training and seminars on behalf of Youth Ministry International.

Almost one year ago, on May 27, 2007, YMI certified the first youth worker in the Ukraine. Today, we gave Huberto his youth ministry certification. He is the first Latin American youth worker that Youth Ministry International has certified, and it was an honor to be able to give him his certificate at his church this morning.

I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in his church and community now that he’s finished his seminary degree (of course, I am encouraging him to continue his education, but he’s finished for now). He should have more time to dedicate to the ministry, and he’s already doing a great job.

I could see today how great of a relationship he has with his students, and I could tell that they were looking for him for counsel. It was great to see him in action.

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