Providing youth — and the adults who work with them — with basic skills to ensure effective, prophetic and transforming leadership for the church and the community was the goal of two training workshops offered here. More than 45 youth leaders participated in the event.
The first session centered on the training manual for United Methodist youth leaders in Africa. The second emphasized the importance of training youth leaders for the Congo church.
East Congo Conference youth coordinator Alexis Selemani outlined the purpose of the April workshops and expressed confidence in young people who strive to practice the guidelines outlined in the youth leadership manual.
Reflecting Wesley’s mandate to “do no harm,” Selemani said the training is intended to help youth leaders “so they can continue to teach others and practice the methods contained in the manual.”
He noted that participants in the training “believe they will be able to evangelize other young people and lead them to Jesus Christ.”
Roger Kasongo of the Kindu North District agreed. Because of the training, he hopes to influence others by being a good role model and, in the process, lead others to Jesus Christ. He invited participants to read the manual. It “can enable young leaders to develop new strategies to advance the work of God,” he said, “and facilitate the development of our community.”
Representing the Kindu South District, Herve Tshoso recently attended a youth-leadership meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. Youth in today’s world, he stressed, must make life-changing choices. He said young leaders have a major role to play in urging their peers to adopt positive lifestyles and avoid negative influences.
By modeling good behavior, Tshoso said, “we teach others by our actions.” He cited the apostle Paul’s words in his first letter to Timothy (4:12, NRSV): “Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
Participant John Losolo said, “Leaders must know and identify real needs of the community and seek solutions” that result in changes for the better. “Good leaders in the church,” he added, “must be proactive, visionary, helpful and humble.”
“Youth are not just the church of tomorrow, but also today,” said Germain Mupasa, a representative of the Central Conference of Congo in the Division of Youth Ministries of the General Office for Discipleship. “In Africa, young people are the majority in our churches. They occupy responsible positions. That is why we must train youth to win more and more souls to Jesus Christ.” He said the Bible, the United Methodist Book of Discipline and the training manual for youth leaders in Africa are essential tools for youth ministry.
Tambwe Londe is a communicator for the East Congo Conference.