As some of you may know. I went to Grenada a couple weeks ago. It’s a small island in the southern carribbean. Paul Borthwick invited me to go and his orgnization, Development Assoiciates International(DAI) generously paid for my expenses. Paul is one of the wordlwide leaders in global missions and a Gordon College professor. While in Grenada, I preached in a school and a church, met with some youthworkers and did some seminars for some students.
Personally, it was an enriching experience and opened my eyes to what God is doing throughout the world. It was an honor to partner with DAI. I had always admired DAI from a distance, but witnessed its equipping work first hand throughout the trip. I have to say the best part of the trip was traveling through Miami International Airport, not having to worry about counting kids and their passports. Believe it or not, traveling with Paul is way easier! Below I discuss a highlight, principles learned, what surprised me and what I believe God is stirring my heart.
The biggest highlight for me personally was spending time with Paul. He is the constant cultural observer, strategic, spiritually wise and fun to be around. He allowed me to ask any question I wanted. I learn best in the context of relationships and dialogue. So, spending time with Paul was the perfect classroom for me. I gained a friend and someone to look up too. It’s not every day an accomplished leader pours his life into a younger leader like me.I came back rejuvenated, and ready to return to youth ministry because of that relationship.
I also had the opportunity to preach cross-culturally. This was a new experience for me, yet I walked away with some practical principles. Paul helped me craft, edit and adjust my sermons along the way. He encouraged me to observe the culture, be myself, tell stories and stick to the big idea. I won’t forget those principles; I know they come from years of experience.
One evening we had a special conversation with some millennial generation youth workers. I was surprised to see them working through the same challenge the American church is facing: passing the baton of leadership. They articulated their frustration with the boomer generation not allowing them to teach and lead in their churches. I didn’t realize the global implications of this issue. The next ten years will prove to be integral as the church learns to pass the baton of leadership worldwide.
After getting home from the trip, God continued to stir in my heart one specific discontent. That is this, most youth ministry training such as curriculum, conferences and education are found in the United States, yet most of the global youth population is not American. This poses a resourcing problem. Most countries are underserved with youth ministry training. The questions I ask myself are these. Do I have a global responsibility as a trained youth pastor to train other youth workers? Are there principles in youth ministry that are universally transferrable to other cultures? Do people in different cultures even desire training in youth ministry? Does adolescence exist in other cultures? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I will continue to process and prayerfully consider what God might be leading me too.