Youth Ministry International trains youth workers formally and informally around the world. We just finished a Master’s program in Mexico in June. Two new programs are starting the final months of this year in countries with huge potential, one program will finish in Africa next January, and a few other programs are likely to start in the next year or two.
Today, as I was thinking about the newest programs and reflecting on the time that I spent in Mexico training youth workers in the classroom, a passage in Philippians 4 jumped off the page of my Bible and really challenged me to pray specifically for practical application of the principles we work so hard to get into the minds of these youth pastors around the world.
In Philippians 4:9 Paul exhorts the readers, “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
We don’t travel to these countries to impart knowledge that will stick only in the minds of the students. We don’t tirelessly prepare syllabi and class notes so they can rotely memorize principles and facts about adolescents and their families. All of the effort of studying, preparing, memorization, and teaching is done so that our students will “put into practice” those things that have been taught to them.
That they may DO what they have been trained to do.
The Biblical principles we impart in the classroom are to be practiced—lived out among young people, their families, and congregations so that “the next generation might know them (God’s works), the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Psalm 78:6-7).
If the training stays in the classroom, the work is not done.
My prayer is that our students will be able to walk out of the classroom and immediately put into practice those things they have learned and received and heard and seen in each of our professors who go and teach—whether that be in Africa, Asia, Latin America—wherever YMI’s training reaches across the globe.