The need for new leaders radically committed to Jesus Christ led the youth team and the former Summer Training Program staff, last October, to refocus training on young emerging leaders. From the discussion, a new training program was developed called the Youth Leadership Training Program (YLTP) and included on-the-job training by linking with the high school summer camp.
Three international trainees and twenty young leaders from around the country attended the YLTP at Second Mile, Silang, Cavite, May 6-19. The practicum that followed allowed participants to practice new skills by planning and leading the high school camp on May 20-23.
The YLTP staff was composed of Mercy Beltran, Dave and Tina Brooks, Jerry and Alma Francisco, Cynthia Ubiña and Wilson Irizari.Tina served as YLTP Coordinator.
The trainees from the Philippines included: Myrtle Grace Solsoloy and Genesis Ancheta (Batac); Carlita Segundo and Juvy Sermise (Bayombong); Bhong Barredo (Butuan); Deborah Beltran and Ruth Soriano (Cabagan); Karla Cruzado (Davao); James Alvarez, Daniel and T.J. Pasicolan, Hannah Saquing, Jonathan Ubiña and Johans Ufano (LB); Caleb and Jofred Jimenez (MM); Kevin Estigoy and Josiah Tolentino (Muñoz); and Aaron Caacbay and Rocelyn Magallanes (Roxas City).
Changes in the training program follow the National Discipleship Team’s thrust to prepare the next generation of leaders to carry on the Great Commission in light of the generational transition in the ministry leadership. The YLTP focused on youth who are already showing leadership in their local ministry areas rather than teaching basic discipleship to young Christians, which can be done at the local level.
The motto, Radical to the Core, based on Philippians 1:21, served as a rallying cry for young leaders to be radically committed to the core of their being to follow Christ—the core and heartbeat of discipleship and disciple making.
Topics for Young Leaders
The YLTP topics and activities were based on three needs: character building, ministry perspective, and skills training.
Character issues were dealt with during the first few days of the training. Character is often rooted in childhood experiences. Experiences that wound the spirit lead to conscious or unconscious judgments. Unresolved judgments eventually surface in life as bad fruit and affect relationships and hinder good intentions to follow Christ.
YLTP staff who attended Elijah House Prayer Ministry training, conducted by Wholeness Ministries, facilitated topics on Bitter Roots, Forgiveness, How We See God (often based on experiences with one’s parents), Performance Orientation (an attempt to earn favor from God and others through one’s service and ability), Burden Bearing (negatively and positively), Heart of Stone (a defense to pain) and Inner Vows (ways we try to control our life), Shame, and Handling Emotions Rightly.
The topics were facilitated by Alma, Dave, Jerry, Mercy and Tina. Each topic was followed by group sessions for discussion and prayer healing ministry. Prayer ministry involved identifying hurts, releasing forgiveness, seeking God’s forgiveness for sinful reactions, and asking God to resurrect new life and patterns of relating to God and others.
One participant said, “I was very much relieved from my bitterness and shame factor. I really felt God’s love and care for me through this prayer ministry.”
Another need is a proper ministry perspective. Topics included: Evangelism by Wilson Irizari; Stewardship of the Environment by REACH Board of Trustees chairman, Dr. Rex Cruz; Social Relevance by Fred Liongoren; Financial Transparency and Accountability with Ministry Money by REACH Executive Officer, Daisy Miguel; Qualities of Biblical Leaders by Dr. Edwin Cruzado; Doctrine by Mars Gabriel; and Balancing Family and Work with Ministry Calling by Dr. Elbert Sana.
Skills training included Social Graces, how to act in a social setting by Dr. Espie Dominguez; Mentoring by Cynthia; The Vella Method of Planning by Tina; Personal Bible Study Methods by Dave; How to Facilitate a Discussion Group by Mercy; How to Deliver a Message by National Discipleship Team leader, Dr. Paul Pasicolan; and Handling Conflicts in Ministry and Blessings and Rewards of Following Christ by Dr. Oyay Jimenez.
Paul closed the training with a final challenge on what it means to be radical to the core.
He explained that REACH is not trying to train suicide bombers (often recruited at young ages). But he asked, “Why can’t we put the same kind of drive in our youth to preach Christ?”
What is radicalism for Christ? Paul said, “It’s a call for a tougher and a more disciplined walk with God.” He added that it is making hard choices for Christ and living our life according to His will.
He asked the trainees, “What are you dreaming of, for the future? What are you daring to attain today for Christ and His kingdom? What risk have you already taken?”
A candle-light dedication ceremony followed and included alumni of previous summer training programs. Trainees and alumni signed a pledge to live for a higher purpose in the cause of the Great Commission and the REACH vision.
Paul said before the ceremony, “You are called to be radical for Christ. You are chosen…commissioned…and privileged. The Divine Commander is with you always (Mt. 28:19-20). Great is the reward”—words for young and old disciples to remember.