The India Youth Ministry Mobilization Forum took place November 8-11 in Pune, India. Organizers called it an unprecedented gathering of 30 top youth leaders representing numerous denominations and Christian ministries. More importantly, it was the official launch of the India Youth Commission, sponsored under the auspices of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI). World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Youth Commission leaders came from Finland, Jamaica, the Philippines and the U.S. to help conduct the training.
1. Quality Training for Delegates. As experienced in the five other International Consultation Trainings led by the WEA Youth Commission over the past 4 years, delegates greatly desired the training and traveled as much as 25 hours to learn the foundational principles of forming and leading youth ministry networks that maximize the reaching and disciplng of youth. PowerPoint presentations and materials were utilized and then left with them for duplication and use in their locales.
2. India Youth Commissions Established. Part of the training included how to design a strategic plan to implement the principles of starting an area Youth Commission (network). The result was that three Indian states established Youth Commissions and left with with plans and leadership in place. The Indian Youth Commission Coordinator will follow-up to help them as needed to launch these plans.
3. Permanent Steering Committee Chosen. A team of six highly qualified and diverse youth ministry leaders were chosen and commissioned to work with the India Youth Commission Coordinator. Collectively they represent many years of youth ministry expertise, good ethnic mix and experience in networking.
4. Leadership Accountability and Resourcing. The Youth Commission Coordinator is salaried by the EFI and will be accountable to their Executive team. In addition, the Asian Youth Commission leader(Ef Tendero) and the Int’l Youth Commission office (in San Diego) will also serve as resources and advisors.
5. Discoveries about the State of Youth Ministry. Despite the fact that there are over 415 million under the age of 18 in India, there is evidence that the majority of the work with youth is with college age. While still a vital age group, those under 18 are likely the most responsive to the gospel, and yet the cultural and family conditions bring distinct challenges for India. Further investigation reveals virtually no professional courses on youth ministry at the seminary level and very little if any research about Indian Christian youth.
1. India Youth Commission Coordinator Hired. Last year India did not have a national Youth Commission. The purpose of the training was to establish enough leadership in order to launch it. But before the training even began, God raised up Rev. Shavez Williams, a pastor of a youth church in Delhi who will spend half his time developing the Youth Commission, under the direction of the EFI.
2. Administrative Assistant to be Hired. At the completion of the conference there was a positive balance – with enough funds to hire a part-time administrative assistant for the Youth Commission Coordinator!
3. Travel Funds for Area Trainings. Part of the strategic follow-up to the conference required repeating the training in the various states. Funds are available to cover those expenses for several months.
4. Top Notch Leadership Team. It’s hard to imagine a more quality group of leaders to make up the Steering Committee which will guide the Indian Youth Commission: two respected national youth ministry leaders, a gifted administrator working for EFI, a veteran school administrator, a seminary professor and a church women’s ministry leader.
5. First Priorities. The Steering Committee set the first tasks to be to circulate the addresses of those currently involved in the India Youth Commission and to form and activate a Prayer Commission that will concern itself with urgent needs and issues needing prayer. A website, provided by the Youth Commission (www.globalyouthworkers.net), gives India its own web pages and makes email communication easy.
6. Additional Attention. Providentially, this Leadership Forum coincided with the annual meeting of the International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry. As a result there was overlap of attendees, an exposure to each other and an opportunity to present three papers on their program. In addition, the offices of the Evangelical Fellowship of Asia is taking initiative to multiply and follow-through on what happened in India, seeking to insure a good result for the long term and a growing impact throughout Asia.