“Reaching young people today” is a primary aim that BWA set for the Youth Department.
The purpose of these Dialogues is to discuss the current state of Youth Ministry in the World and explore new avenues for future engagement.
These series of conversations intended to:
- Listen to the concerns of youth leaders/ministers
- Discuss the current state of youth ministry
- Explore and learn new approaches to engaging young people
- Expose the participants/churches to the work and ministry of the BWA
The first of such was held on November 21, 2013 at the Baptist Center in Falls Church, Virginia. Since than, dialogues have been held in Okinawa, Japan and Winston Salem, NC, USA in conjunction with the Lott Carey International Youth Network Seminar, that representatives from 37 churches participated.
In the dialogue that took place at the Durban Congress, where Amanda Haines, BWA Youth Department president served as facilitator, 182 youth leaders and pastors were in attendance.
Using the theme, “Strategies for Effective Youth Ministry,” Sam Ndoga, associate research fellow at the University of Pretoria and chairperson of Baptist Youth of South Africa, spoke about challenges confronting the church in the 21st Century as it seeks to engage young people with the Gospel.
In the most recent dialogue, which was organized by the Youth Department and hosted by Calvary Baptist Church of East Orange, New Jersey, USA, participants included 18 youth leaders, pastors, and persons working in youth ministry, representing 13 churches. The Youth Department is thankful to Calvary Baptist Church for their kind hospitality in hosting this event.
Other USA dialogues scheduled for 2016 include: New York, hosted by Trinity Baptist Church; NorthStar Church Network Hispanic Youth Leaders, Virginia; and North/South Carolina, hosted by Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Charlotte, North Carolina.
It is envisioned that these dialogues will lead to a future national youth conversation.
Edlyn Jones Adeosun, youth minister at Calvary Baptist Church and a student at Yale Divinity School said that the dialogue was “a confirmation and a revival. The process of sharing and discussing solutions and challenges has been life changing. It is definitely essential for anyone working with youth to sit among your peers and discuss these things that are so essential to your call and to your ministry.”
Other participants described the event as, ”powerful and informative,” “relational,” “insightful,” “relevant,” “engaging,” “exposure” and “a big picture moment.”