Latin American Youth Focus on Discipleship, Leadership

Post a Comment » Written on July 31st, 2009     
Filed under: News
MEDELLIN, COLOMBIA (July 31, 2009) – Seventeen young adults between the ages of 18-25 concluded a six-week school of discipleship and leadership for Covenant youth in Latin America on Sunday.

The students (top photo) came from Colombia and Ecuador to attend the Colegio Biblico Confederation of Latin American Covenant Churches (CBCIPE). A dozen schools have been held since they were first started in 2001. Other CBCIPES have been held in Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile and Spain. This was the first in Colombia.

Class“The Colegio Bíblico is a unique experience for young adults to live a strong personal relationship with God, put into practice what they have learned in the community and local churches, and share with students from different countries,” says Evangelical Covenant Church Missionary Mary Lou Sander, who serves with her husband, Gary, in Medellin.

The schools are especially important because the percentage of youth in Hispanic countries and churches is high. “These youth are very dynamic and active in church activities, becoming a primary resource of fulfilling the mission of the church,” Sander says.

To prepare them for that mission, the school covers themes that include spiritual formation, Bible and theology, personal development, ministry, worship, and Christian service.

The Sanders and Colombia Missionary Cathy Campobello taught several classes. Other professors came from the Covenant leadership in Colombia and Ecuador, as well as representatives from the Department of Christian Formation.

StudentThe classes are more than theoretical, the missionaries noted. For example, says Sander, “The goal of the missions class was to dialog with the students and come to know what they had ‘seen’ and ‘heard’ and move with them as they worked to define where they saw themselves in mission.” The lower photo shows one of the students during a personal study time.

Katie Isaza, who works with the Department of Christian Formation, was impressed with the students she taught in the children’s ministry course.  “I was overwhelmed by the needs the students expressed in reaching the children in their neighborhoods and churches,” she says. “At the same time I was encouraged by their heart for ministry and their desire to implement new and innovative strategies for ministry.”

Living in community and sharing one another’s stories is an integral part of the school. “As they shared difficult past experiences, each one confirmed the ways they had experienced the hand of God in their lives,” says Sander. “It was amazing to see the unity between them despite the many differences that would tend to separate them.”

She adds, “God healed hearts and brought restoration to many. What was most encouraging was to see the special giftedness of each one of the 17 youth and how they are feeling challenged by God to involve – and expand – their giftedness in reaching out to the world around them.”

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