SINGAPORE, 21 NOVEMBER 2008 — BEING A YOUTH leader is like being a bus driver, said Kevin Loo, pastor of City Harvest Church Kuala Lumpur, at an elective workshop on starting a youth ministry.
“We’ve got to transport them from having ‘borrowed conviction’ to having ‘personal conviction’,” he said to an audience of mostly overseas delegates.
Borrowed conviction, according to him, is when a new believer finds spiritual disciplines like prayer and Bible-reading a chore.
The most important task for leaders is to get their members to “learn how to love the spiritual disciplines.”
Loo’s session drew constant laughter as he peppered his talk with hilarious examples and quips.
|PHOTOS: Edmund Ong|
For an elective participant who intends to start his own church this year, this workshop was a Godsend for him. An overseas graduate from this year’s School of Theology (SOT), he came back to Singapore just for the Asia Conference.
“I won’t have an opportunity to learn about starting a youth ministry once I return to my country,” Li said.
Having worked with young people in the past, he confessed that he has not been very successful at leading them. “But I hope through this session that I will learn how to better relate and communicate with them.”
Loo taught about the four important keys to building a strong youth ministry, and he highlighted the following essentialities: Having a healthy dissatisfaction with present realities, giving youths a purpose and vision, teaching them to feel the presence of God, and observing spiritual disciplines.
“Youths can hardly stand still,” he described. “In the morning they go for prayer meeting, then they go play sports, then in the evening they go for supper and midnight movies, then they go for supper again.”
The challenge is getting them to be still and experience God.
He also said that running a youth ministry requires great sacrifice. But it can also prove to be deeply satisfying.
“Youths are a really good investment; they’re like diamonds in the rough. A youth leader must realize that every young person is a treasure,” he concluded.