The New and Improved

Trip Start Aug 28, 2012
Trip End Jun 06, 2013

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Flag of South Africa  , Eastern Cape,
Monday, January 28, 2013

After we had a nice month off from Life Teen over the Christmas Season, especially coming back refreshed from my trip to the States, the Core Team and I have really stepped up our game with Life Teen!

Before kicking off on January 20th, we had a few orders of business to get through. For example, we had a Core Recruitment and Training meeting for any church members who felt called to become a youth leader or anyone interested in learning more about the programme in general. We had nine new youth leaders join! Then, as a Core we also held a Parent/Core Meeting for all parents of teens at the church to meet the leaders and learn what Life Teen was all about. Although it was such a busy start, all the meetings, announcements, and handouts paid off.

So what was new this year?

I am excited to say that instead of meeting in a small room on Sunday morning after 8 a.m. Mass, Life Teen is now from 4-5:30 p.m. on a Sunday afternoon (before the evening Mass at 5:30 p.m.). Although it took a Parent Meeting, many phone calls and explanations to convince the parents this would be best, we did it! Among many reasons were: the teens would be more awake, this would allow all teens to sit together at the 5:30 p.m. Mass after sessions, we could offer a Life Teen Band who would open our sessions each week in Praise & Worship, and the campus was all ours! Meaning, we could do games, have songs, and overall... just have a ton more fun. Not to mention, this gave the Core Team time to set up on Sundays instead of having to get up at 6 a.m.; especially if parents and teens alike wanted more young youth leaders, they needed to realize that hardly any 18-25 year old wants to get up at 6 a.m. on a Sunday. In addition, many teens traveled on weekends for athletics, by having Life Teen on a Sunday afternoon meant more would be able to get home in time. It just made more sense to have it on a Sunday afternoon then in the morning.

Sure enough, it all has been going so much more smoothly this year. We have had so many teens come back and so many new teens join us. It is such a pleasure to see them enjoying themselves and building relationships with one-another and their youth leaders.

Life Teen has really became a supportive community not only for the the teens, but it has brought so many young adults who are serving as Core Members together as well. They are learning and growing not only in their leadership and organizational skills, but they are growing stronger in their faith together. They never had a youth group while growing up, so it is a complete learning process. However, I think the fact that they did not have a youth group is what also makes them so passionate and dedicated; they want the  youth to experience what they didn't have the opportunity to when they were in high school.

This year, I have really grown close to the young adults. We really have many devoted and lively Core Members who are there to get to know the teens, lead them in small groups, and get to know them on a personal level. They come on Thursdays and split up into different committees: Social (one per month), Volunteer (one per month), Praise & Worship, a Core Team Prayer Team and so on.

It has been an incredible year with some exciting changes!

Photos in this blog are from:
A Core Team training trip in Cape Town (February 21st- February 25th). Eight of us were able to make the eight-hour trip to Cape Town to experience one of the most informational and inspiring conferences ever. It was led by Life Teen International (American) Speakers: Randy Raus (President of Life Teen) and Stephen Lanahan (Youth Minister from Texas). Each core member came back ready to take action and really make our Life Teen a success. We attended sessions such as: The Art of Discipling Youth, Source and Summit of a Vibrant Youth Ministry, Recruiting and Empowering Your Core Team, Raising your Parents: How to work effectively with the parents of teens, other music sessions, and so on.

It was so wonderful to see the core members moved by their own experiences at this training. It was also such a great experience for all of us to bond together in our down time as we cooked and lived together for a few days in a rented home in Pinelands. We also were able to explore the waterfront for a few hours one evening.

All in all, God has big plans for Youth Ministry in South Africa. It was basically non-existant for many years; however, slowly but surely more churches are realizing the great need for youth ministry.
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