In part 1 of this series, I talked about a little part of the graduation last week. It was the result of 3 long, hard years of work.
Today, I wanted to write about some of the results that we’ve seen because of the Master’s in Youth Ministry program that we completed (in part) last week. All of this is what is happening in youth ministry in the country of Cuba and beyond.
It’s just a small slice of what is happening, but I hope it gives you an idea of what this incredible team is doing.
What can you do with a Master’s degree in youth ministry?
- One student has seen his youth group triple in size since he started taking the courses in the program.
- One student says that the training from the program is the backbone of what they are doing in youth ministry for his entire denomination.
- One student has seen his youth group grow at a record pace, both in numbers and in depth.
- One student is using the principles he learned to begin a ministry to university students.
- One student feels that God wants him to be a full time youth pastor and plans to seek a youth ministry position as soon as he fulfills his obligations as a senior pastor.
What can you do as a youth ministry trainer?
- There is a Center for Youth Ministry in 3 different seminaries throughout the country. There’s another one that will be started in another seminary this year.
- There is talk about starting a program at another Bible institute in Pinar del Rio in the western part of the country.
- In the Eastern Baptist Convention, they have begun to train trainers. There are 22 students preparing to be professors of youth ministry.
- Many of the students have expressed interest in carrying the vision to other nations by training in other countries, using the same modular format that was used with them.
- One of the students has begun a “national network of youth workers,” uniting youth workers throughout the country.
There are many other things that have happened to all of us on a personal level. In the next part of this series, I hope to write about how I have changed as a result of being a part of this incredible journey.
Picture: The team on top of the seminary
The last three years of my life have been invested in a project that has grown very dear to my heart. Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to see thirteen of my favorite people in the world graduate with a Master’s Degree in youth ministry.
It has been a long journey. Personally, it has been an exhausting three years, traveling each January and June, arranging for visas, charter tickets, domestic tickets, raising awareness, translating, planning, preparing, and teaching classes. I personally taught 6 and a half of the 12 courses for the Master’s program in youth ministry.
For the students, it was 3 years of reading, pre-class assignments, post-class assignments, weeks away from family, amidst personal and professional struggles. Every student involved in the program is also involved in full time ministry, leaving little time for anything else.
But the culminating moment came on Wednesday, June 11, 2008, when they called the name of 13 of my friends, associates, and students to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas from the Santa Clara Seminary, or the Baptist Seminary of Havana, or the Baptist Seminary in Santiago, or from New Pines Seminary. To see the look of accomplishment and joy on their faces gave me an overwhelming sense of accomplishment and joy.
The investment of three years has more than paid off. We are seeing a mighty work of God in Latin America, and I’m humbled to be part of it.
In part 2 of this series, I’ll write about what these students are doing with their degrees. It’s amazing.
Click a thumbnail to see a larger version.
I’m writing this from a hotel room in Miami, waiting my trip to Cuba for one last class in the youth ministry program.
Tomorrow morning, I take off for Cienfuegos and then to Santa Clara. I’ll be co-teaching the last class in the three year youth ministry program with Randy Smith, the President of Youth Ministry International.
Next week, we’ll have a graduation. I’ll take tons of pics and video, and I’ll put it up when I get back.
Here’s a video of the 2008 graduation at the Mexican Baptist Theological Seminary, which included the graduation of the first student from the Center for Youth Ministry with a bachelor’s degree in youth ministry.
You can read my thoughts about the day here.
(Here’s a larger version on Vimeo)
The last few days, I’ve been working pretty hard on a new design for our Spanish youth ministry website, ministeriojuvenil.com.
I haven’t dedicated as much time to it as I would like, but it is a part of our ministry that has an impact all over the world. For example:
- People from 28 different countries visited the site last month.
- 21 of those countries are in Latin America (that makes sense, it’s a Spanish website)
- The average visitor visits more than 3 pages when they visit, meaning they are reading more than just the home page. They are getting into the articles.
- The social network for youth workers has 67 members signed up, creating a space for youth workers to interact with each other and support each other.
I’m looking forward to seeing this part of the ministry grow as our ministry grows. Keep praying for us as we train youth workers in Latin America.