A proposal for the training of indigenous youth workers for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention
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SubjectSouthern Baptist Convention. International Mission Board
Church work with youth
Church youth workers--Training of
This dissertation examines the current state of global youth ministry leadership, with a focus on the training of indigenous youth workers. The goal of this work is to encourage the International Mission Board and other missions organizations to consider the need for a global strategy to train youth workers for every people group. Chapter 1 introduces and defines the subjects of youth ministry and youth missions. Attention is given to the emergence of the North American Youth Culture in the twentieth century, as well as the church and parachurch organizations that developed concurrently with the American Youth Culture. Chapter 2 examines the strategies for global youth ministry that are currently being implemented by ReachOut, Youth Ministry International, Youth Builders, and SonLife. In addition to presenting a brief history along with the guiding vision of each organization, this chapter sets forth the similarities and differences among the various organizations, and identifies indigenous youth worker training as a key component of each strategy. Chapter 3 analyzes and evaluates the effectiveness of the strategies of each of the aforementioned missions organizations. Strengths and weaknesses of each organization are presented, with special attention to their respective strategies for training indigenous youth workers. Chapter 4 describes the current state of Southern Baptist mission work among the youth of the world. The results of surveys from IMB missionaries from every region, as well as feedback from interviews with IMB missionaries, are set forth. Data from the surveys and interviews is used to assess the current situation and priority of global youth ministry among Southern Baptists. In Chapter 5, IMB youth work is evaluated and critiqued. Chapter 6 offers a proposal for the IMB of the SBC to train indigenous youth workers for the people groups of the world. A brief concluding chapter offers suggestions for further study in the area of global youth ministry. This study suggests that youth ministry ought to be playing a key role in the world of missions in the twenty-first century. The fact that the majority of the world's population is under age 25, accompanied by evidence that youth are the most receptive age group for the Christian gospel, serves as an indictment against missiologists and missions organizations that fail to incorporate youth into their world missions strategies. In spite of the evidence, it appears that only a handful of missions "experts" and organizations are strategizing to reach the young people of the world. This dissertation seeks to perform an assessment of youth work done by IMB personnel. The research revealed that many IMB missionaries are focusing on young people. This study concludes that although the IMB is involved in youth work around the world, its involvement is generally not strategic, completely uncoordinated, and not sufficiently prioritized and encouraged. I argued that youth ministry and indigenous youth worker training warrant a higher level of emphasis and priority from the IMB, and I have made a series of recommendations for the IMB to address its shortcomings in the area of global youth ministry. The work of ReachOut, Youth Ministry International, Youth Builders, and SonLife were analyzed and principles from the work of these organizations informed the evaluation of, and recommendations for, IMB youth work.