Service, as expressed in involvement in short term mission project is one of the essential foundations of youth ministry practice. We are stepping up. In partnership with the Adventist Volunteer Services, we are casting a vision to inject the concept of ‘One Year in Mission’ (OYiM) into the DNA of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. A strategy for the short, medium, and long-term implementation of the vision has been developed.
There is an urgent need within the church to:
1. Maximize the interest and passion of the Seventh-day Adventist youth for mission and to graduate from short-term to long-term mission.
2. Provide greater opportunities for our youth to directly engage in leadership, decision-making, and in the proclamation of the Everlasting Gospel.
3. Integrate youth projects within the framework of the church’s wider initiatives.
4. Redirect the best energies of the church away from peripheral issues onto the real reason for its existence: Mission.
5. Respond appropriately to the growing disengagement of alarming numbers of young adults from the life and mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
A OYiM task force has been set up to develop and implement the vision.
1. In view of the current interest of youth in mission, inspiring and recruiting volunteers for OYiM would be a relatively easy task; the challenge is the placement of these volunteers in appropriate positions.
2. In view of the fact that there are global initiatives already in place, the OYiM project needs to be aligned with one of them to avoid distraction and diversion of energy and resources.
3. The proposal is to align and integrate the OYiM youth project with the ‘Comprehensive Urban Evangelistic Initiative,’ launched by the General Conference and adopted by the world church.
LAYING THE FOUNDATION
PHASE 1: MAKE NEW YORK 2013 (THE PILOT PROJECT FOR GLOBAL URBAN EVANGELISM) THE LAUNCH PAD FOR GLOBAL OYIM
1. Every World Division and the Greater Middle East Union will be invited to choose a representative to form part of the first pilot volunteer task force in New York City.
The experience of the Pilot Team will serve as a model for the subsequent phases of the project when relocated in the Divisions, Unions, and Conferences.
2. OYiM NY13 will be the initial step of a wider global strategy.
THE FOLLOWING STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO FACILITATE PHASE 1:
1. The GC youth director met with the President of the Atlantic Union Conference and chair of NY13, Elder Don King, who has given full support to the proposal. He recommended that the concept be taken to the NY13 youth initiative committee.
2. The GC youth director met with Pastor Jose Cortes Jnr, chair of the NY13 youth initiative committee, and subsequently with the committee itself via a Skype conference. Full support was obtained and the modalities of the project were discussed.
3. An action was taken by the General Conference ‘Mission to the Cities Committee’ to incorporate the OYIM within its overall strategy.
THE SPECIFICS OF THE NY13 OYIM
The ‘One Year in Mission’ for NY13 will be structured as follows:
1. First three months: Chosen volunteers receive training and undergo the necessary orientation in their countries of origin.
2. Next six months: Implementation on location in New York City.
3. Last three months: Debriefing in their countries of origin and assisting in the setting up of Phase 2 of the project in their respective Divisions.
The specific task of the volunteers is being developed in consultation with the NY13 leaders in reference to their needs and strategy. The essential tasks will comprise leadership in community service, evangelism, and communication.
Medium term mission service is often a prelude to full time investment in mission. Individuals who have potential for or have demonstrated interest in long-term mission investment would be prime candidates. Apart from spiritual maturity and commitment, leadership and communication qualities will be seen as essential as they will play a crucial role in transferring the experience to their respective. Divisions in Phase 2. Maturity will also be expressed in the ability if the volunteer to embrace diversity and work cross-culturally.
LODGING AND LOGISTICS
To develop a sense of community, foster mutual support, facilitate mentoring and supervision, the 14 volunteers will ideally share a common residence or be divided into two groups. This process will have the added benefits of cost savings. The NY13 youth initiative team is investigating.
The GC youth director will personally oversee the project in consultation with the AVS director, while the volunteers will operate under the supervision of the NY13 team.
It is projected that each volunteer will cost in the vicinity of $15,000.
The General Conference will fund the pilot project as an incentive to launch the initiative, which will be replicated at the different levels of the church organization in tandem with the Mission to the Cities Initiative.
Funding in the subsequent phases of the project will be assumed by the respective administrations with seed money from the General Conference.
The experience of the NY13 OYiM pilot team will be used as a major awareness campaign and will prepare the ground for the next phases of the project.
PHASE 2 & BEYOND
In anticipation of phase 2 (2014), when the Comprehensive Urban Evangelism initiative is located in the Divisions, it is recommended that in 2013,
1. The OYiM be incorporated as part of the Mission to the Cities Strategy in the Divisions, Unions, and Conferences.
2. Division OYiM task forces be set up with an administrator, the Youth and Volunteer Service Directors as key personnel. The GC task force will assist with terms of reference.
3. A team of 10 volunteers will be recruited for each target city in each Division.
The inspiration of the NY13 OYiM will be wisely and strategically utilized to motivate all other entities of the church to create OYIM opportunities for their young people.
As the Lord blesses this initiative in 2014, there will be at least 130 youths involved in OYIM if each Division chooses only one city. Given that these urban projects will be ongoing, every year there will be a new team of 130 youths involved.
The process in the Divisions will be contextualized and replicated in the Unions In 2015. Twelve hundred and seventy youths (ten from each of the 127 Unions of the world field) will be involved in OYIM in 2015. This will be repeated every year.
By the time the process reaches the Conference/Mission level, by God’s grace, there will be an explosion of OYIM participants worldwide.
At each stage of the process, the respective Task Forces will review their strategy and refine their processes.
The OYIM initiative will continuously be promoted globally from the General Conference as a vital way to involve youth in mission and will serve to encourage all entities of the organization to create new projects and opportunities for youth.
By the grace of God and the moving of His Spirit, the OYIM will bring a major contribution to the training of this army of youth that will assist in finishing the work as foreseen by the prophet.