In celebration of Youth Day, a Youth Transformation Africa event was held at the His People Church in Goodwood, Cape Town on Monday, June 16th. The day was aimed at enhancing the leadership qualities of youth in ministry in and around the city.
The impressive line-up of speakers included Director of Transformation Africa Cape Peninsula, Rev Barry Isaacs; businessman and founder of the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical, Graham Power; Founder of Family Policy Institute and TV producer, Errol Naidoo; SA National Director of Alpha, Jeremy Joblin; Rector at St Martin’s Community Anglican Church in Bergvliet, Rev Allan Smith; SA National Director of the Association of Vineyard Churches, Costa Mitchell; and Youth Pastor and leader, Kyle Driver.
The importance of Spiritual Fathers
Rev Isaacs urged the youth to ensure that they have a spiritual father who will provide guidance to help them avoid making mistakes or blunders in ministry. “A good spiritual father is someone who knows and has followed the mind and will of God for their life,” he said. Isaacs also said that good spiritual fathers has a passion for souls and are not afraid to share their lives in order to be real, as opposed to trying to appear perfect. “When a doctor gets sick he needs a doctor; a leader needs another leader for help and direction,” Isaacs said, while speaking of the late William Marion Branham, whom he believed was a good example. “If you’re aspiring to become a leader, find someone with integrity whom you can identify with and who is walking with the Lord; walk alongside that person because there will come a day when you will need him or her.”
“As a spiritual father, your joy should be seeing your mentoree get to a place where they are better than you and you don’t feel threatened by them – don’t be threatened by your spiritual sons and daughters. Some will become difficult and you need to release them but the parting must be good so that you can still look them in the eye. It is like children – some give you grey hair and ulcers,” Isaacs said.
Isaacs concluded that changes in the future are guaranteed and there are some changes looming for the church for which leaders need to be equipped. “Older leaders will be there in wings to help and assist, but we are living in a confusing and high pressure culture – we need leaders filled with the Holy Ghost. We need men who can talk maths, science, business, economics, etc. but who are filled with the Holy Ghost.”
Ask for a double portion
Rev Allan Smith told the youth that, like Elisha, they need to be audacious and ask for a double portion of the Holy Spirit’s anointing (2 Kings 2:1-10). “What do you think Elisha was thinking when he asked for a double portion of the anointing? Some pastors would be so threatened by that. You have to understand something about that — he understood his context; he knew he was dealing with spiritual and demonic forces and that he was going to need a double portion,” Smith said. He bemoaned the lack of courage amongst spiritual leaders saying, “It breaks my heart to see that people cannot move and make an impact – the question is always: what is your price? Elisha knew that there were still demonic forces after Elijah’s victory against the prophets of Baal – Jezebel and Ahab were still on the throne. Behind the scenes the demonic forces are still the same. We want to change that.”
Smith stated that he received a prophecy that the Youth conference was significant in that it was aimed at encouraging youth leaders to make a difference. “We need to respond to the Word of God – don’t be hearers and not doers. As a leader, you haven’t done your job if you haven’t shown me how to apply the word of God to my life. Give me a conclusion and application,” Smith said. He also emphasised the power and importance of prayer, especially in terms of intercession. He shared a story about someone who allegedly went to hear the late British Baptist preacher, Charles Spurgeon, preach and was told that he first needed to see the ‘heating system’ – 700 people in a basement praying and interceding.
Continuing with the example of Elisha, Smith said the young prophet walked a long time with Elijah and had a radical nature. He explained that in order to follow this example, the youth needed to repent of and put aside or get rid of some things in their life. “Some of us have been messing around; God is saying He needs leaders like yourself to get rid of certain things that are stopping you from moving on in your spiritual life. You think you can put on a show; you think you are fooling the crowd but you are fooling yourself. Stop compromising. There are opportunities and doors that no one can shut but you must make up your mind. Today is a decision day,” Smith told the youth. He added that, “God is looking for someone who is prepared to step out of the boat; who is prepared to leave the past behind and put their trust in God. I like to give God a bigger challenge and see if He can cope with it. Stand upon His word.”
Three waves will come over Africa and the globe
A short video about Dr Graham Power’s testimony preceded the challenge that he posed to the youth: be a leader who will stand up for Godly principles and commit to ethics, values and clean living. He explained how God had shown him that there will be three waves crossing over Africa and the globe, based on 2 Chronicles 7:14, saying, “We can only rid Africa of systemic poverty if we can rid it of systemic corruption. It is only by God’s grace and His mercy that we can dream of Him restoring Africa, but where there is unity, God will command a blessing.”
He shared how, at aged 43, he had approached the spiritual leaders of the city with the vision God had given him to have a prayer meeting in Newlands and how thankful he was that they had given their support and agreement, even though, at that stage, he was a new believer. He described the miraculous way in which God had allowed the one day of prayer to grow into a global event. Power said, “God alone could make it happen to the point that even closed countries have participated – North Africa had closed countries where people are not allowed to have a Bible but yet prayer took place from Cape to Cairo. In Libya, it started with 12 people going into the desert to intercede on behalf of their nation through fasting and prayer.”
“The next wave that God is challenging us on is to, each day, humble ourselves and pray and turn from our wicked ways, THEN He will hear from heaven and heal our land. Each one of us has a particular purpose and particular calling,” he said.
Power added that he was looking forward to Newlands 2015, which will be an initiative run by the youth to unite youth in Christ. Referring to the Global Day of Prayer (GDoP) on June 8, 2014, Power said, “A week ago I was in Chennai, India, and everything was crazy; on the Monday, we had 600 leaders gathering and I told them that the next initiative will be led by the youth.” He explained how amazed he had been that, although the GDoP had continued from the morning until 22:15 on the Sunday, not one person had left the venue until the pastor leading the programme had blessed them.
Pastor invited everyone in the audience to sign the Unashamedly Ethical pledge form while stressing the importance of leaders who will commit to ethics, values and clean living. “Will you be prepared to make a commitment to be unashamedly ethical? The easiest way not to do this is to pay a bribe to a traffic cop; in business there is a lot more money at stake.” He cautioned the youth that after issuing the call, he usually finds that a third do not take any action, while one third will sign the pledge form provided and another will sign up via the website. “Which third are you – will you complete the form; go on the website, including ‘www.joinue.net’; or will you disappear?” he asked.
Spiritual leaders must follow Jesus’ example
“Jesus came to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many, not to be self important!” This cry emanated from the heart of Costa Mitchell when he addressed the youth, calling on them to forget titles, such as, ‘Man of God’, as well as self-centeredness, self-importance, and pretentiousness. He told the youth that the title ‘Man of God’ ended in the Old Testament and was replaced with the ‘People of God’. “The New Testament says you have all received the anointing and all know everything – sons and daughters will prophecy… People you lead are just as anointed as you. We need to get over titles because it causes separation and some people do more than others because of the title,” said Mitchell.
According to Mitchell, battles, sins and strengths are all interconnected. He distinguished between the D-day generation, the Youth Day or Apartheid generation, and the X-generation. “The D-day generation fought in WW2 and believed in blind loyalty, unchanging rules, hard work, and who achieved FOR their kids but were absent FROM them, and voted in and submitted to an unjust spirit. They led us to 1976 where young people said, ‘enough is enough; our fathers have let us down’ but fathers said, ‘our children have let us down,’” said Mitchell.
He described the Youth Day or Apartheid Generation as goal focused, self-centred, performance orientated with a belief in the future, while Generation X has ended up in a place of post-modernism that is impacting the church and the world. “Wars have been fought and we now coast our way; there is a new kind of passivity that comes into this, some rebellion and rejection of authority in church, of leaders and scripture; truth is a relative concept; loyalties are easily changed; goal-direction is under question. Will you give in to the spirit of your age?” Mitchell asked. He cautioned that the other side of ‘heal your land’ is, ‘I will destroy your country’. Mitchell referred to Malachi 4:5-6 saying, “Hearts of fathers and children need to be brought together again.”
Hel said that mentoring is based on honour and not title; is not programmatic but life-related, engages not skills but character; and calls to values and a vision of a preferable future like Jesus who, because of the joy awaiting Him, endured the cross, disregarding its shame.” He encouraged mentors to believe in their mentorees and tell them often that their future matters and their role makes a difference.
Jesus’ way is intimate friendship
“I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.” Jeremy Joblin quoted this verse from scripture to explain to the youth that winning people to Christ was not about, what he called, “bagging souls”, but should rather be a desire for genuine friendship. He said, “Jesus accepted people as friends, long before they accepted Him. Jesus’ way is intimate friendship, as He had with Adam and Eve. Jesus came to restore us and reconcile us to intimate friendship with God, and not just friends with God but with each other, though without accepting the world’s ways.” According to Joblin, friendship is eternal and we, therefore, have to invest in relationships. “Friendship is the key to social transformation and interaction; any other way is patronizing,” he added.
Joblin then introduced Alpha, a programme that teaches basic truths in a practical way and provides opportunities to raise up leaders. About 24 million have done Alpha around the world with 5 500 people from 84 countries attending its Leadership Conference at Royal Albert Hall in London earlier this year and 19 000 people from 94 countries tuning in via live streaming. The programme exists to create tools for local church to be most effective in reaching a city and a nation. Joblin said. He introduced Alpha’s latest tool, it’s Youth Film Series as well as the Alpha App available on iTunes and Google Play. More information can be found at www.alpha.org/youthfilmseries.
A former Pollsmoor prison inmate convicted of a racketeering scheme shared his testimony of how Alpha impacted his life saying: “I decided to attend a session in prison and I felt this surge that was Jesus. I realised how little I knew and started studying theology. My life changed radically; I later started working for Alpha and now work to get Alpha into all prisons in South Africa.”
Alpha consists of 12 sessions that can be run over eight to 12 weeks.
Stand up for families
Marriage and family are the most important institutions in society; when marriages and families break down, society breaks down and collapses. This was according to Errol Naidoo who said that all social ills – drugs, teen pregnancies, abortion, school dropouts, homosexuality, etc. – can be traced down to a breakdown in the family. He said his television programme, ‘Watchmen on the Wall’, on TBN is aimed at keeping the church informed. He reminded the youth that God created them to be salt and light in a nation going into darkness saying, “There are so many issues but none are too big for God. Church is who we are and not somewhere we go to on a Sunday – God wants to use youth born of His Spirit, washed in His blood and set apart for His purpose.”
Naidoo stated that families are dysfunctional because the father is not in the role he is supposed to be in. “Too many fathers have abdicated their responsibilities – single parent families are in a majority in society. Single mothers are doing an astounding job but no matter how good a job she does, she can never be a father to the children. God created family – a father and a mother. Media will tell you differently. Whatever God gives us is good and God has given us family,” he declared.
Naidoo urged the youth to commit to the restoration of the family and value the role of the father. He explained, “We have to put sanctity and Godliness back into Fatherhood. Fathers must represent the father heart of God; children hate God because they hate their fathers. Men sitting in prisons today are there because there was no father in their lives, or they had a father who did not fulfill his role in the family.”
Speaking to men, Naidoo said, “The best thing you can give your children is: love your wife as Christ loves the church; you raise great, emotionally stable children when you love your wife.” Naidoo cautioned the youth against putting their trust in man. “Support and trust someone only if they preach God’s word,” he advised.
Naidoo concluded by asking the youth, “What are you going to do? The older generation has missed the boat, so what is the youth going to do?” He urged the youth to accept responsibility and become Daniels and Josephs of society – to challenge leaders and government in order to reclaim the promise of God for the nation. “Refuse to eat from the king’s table in order to serve God and eat from the table of the Lord, then set out a challenge to see who is stronger. That is, Daniel was 10 times better being faithful to the things of God. God is looking for people who will be 10 times better, who will commit their ways to Him; who don’t need what the world is offering, which ultimately leads to destruction.”