New ideas in India

Currently, I am on my way back from a week together with youth leaders from the Lutheran churches in India. It has been a very fruitful meeting with a lot of learning for me, as well. Muan Chin, the youth secretary of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church invited me to come to a planning meeting.  All 12 member churches were involved (most are also members of the Lutheran World Federation). These were intensive days of work.
At first the youth leaders went about reviewing their past achievements. Lutheran youth ministry in India was still in the nineties characterized by focusing on bible studies and activities for the members. But there was very little beyond the gates of the church compound. This changed in the last 10 years. Churches – and their youth ministry are increasingly aware of social issues and involve themselves there. This includes topics like HIV and AIDS and climate change. Furthermore, in at least a few of the member churches, there is a stronger sense of involving young people in leadership.
Planning the future of the youth ministry in India is certainly not only dependent on the history but also on the current trends. They were also highly discussed. These included: Importance of contemporary music for churches, conflicts among religious groups in India, church conflicts. This was a full and meaningful first day that however, described the challenges and not yet the possible answers for the Indian Youth workers.
This changed rapidly on the second day. the participants took time and re-imangined youth ministry on the national level in India. All of them wrote a letter imagining national youth ministry in the year 2017, seven years from now. On this creative basis, small groups were sifting through the ideas and made a long list of possible foci. Since that were clearly too many, the participants decided to make the list shorter. Here is what they came up with:
* Youth Leadership Training program
* Awareness raising campaign (e.g.. HIV and AIDS, environment)
* Youth exposure program to rural areas or other churches
* Youth celebration
* Literature for young Lutherans
* Gospel music project
* Youth ministry run business as funding model
After a discussion, the participants narrowed it down again and decided to focus in the coming three years on the following: A Youth leadership training and an awareness raising campaign (probably in the enviroment sector). If possible, they would also like to see a national youth celebration that would bring together young Lutherans from all over India.
Muan Ching, the youth secretary of the UELCI, was content with the out come of the meeting. “This gives us a clear basis on how we can work together with the youth ministries of the member churches,” she said.
The meeting was very much supported by the staff of the UELCI led by by Rev Dr Augustine Jeyakumar. He highly encouraged the participants: “Youth ministry is meaningful on the local level. There is so much that young people can do.”

Currently, I am on my way back from a week together with youth leaders from the Lutheran churches in India. It has been a very fruitful meeting with a lot of learning for me, as well. Muan Chin, the youth secretary of the United Evangelical Lutheran Church invited me to come to a planning meeting.  All 12 member churches were involved (most are also members of the Lutheran World Federation). These were intensive days of work. At first the youth leaders went about reviewing their past achievements. Lutheran youth ministry in India was still in the nineties characterized by focusing on bible studies and activities for the members. But there was very little beyond the gates of the church compound. This changed in the last 10 years. Churches – and their youth ministry are increasingly aware of social issues and involve themselves there. This includes topics like HIV and AIDS and climate change. Furthermore, in at least a few of the member churches, there is a stronger sense of involving young people in leadership.Planning the future of the youth ministry in India is certainly not only dependent on the history but also on the current trends. They were also highly discussed. These included: Importance of contemporary music for churches, conflicts among religious groups in India, church conflicts. This was a full and meaningful first day that however, described the challenges and not yet the possible answers for the Indian Youth workers.This changed rapidly on the second day. the participants took time and re-imangined youth ministry on the national level in India. All of them wrote a letter imagining national youth ministry in the year 2017, seven years from now. On this creative basis, small groups were sifting through the ideas and made a long list of possible foci. Since that were clearly too many, the participants decided to make the list shorter. Here is what they came up with:
* Youth Leadership Training program   * Awareness raising campaign (e.g.. HIV and AIDS, environment)   * Youth exposure program to rural areas or other churches   * Youth celebration   * Literature for young Lutherans   * Gospel music project   * Youth ministry run business as funding model
After a discussion, the participants narrowed it down again and decided to focus in the coming three years on the following: A Youth leadership training and an awareness raising campaign (probably in the enviroment sector). If possible, they would also like to see a national youth celebration that would bring together young Lutherans from all over India.
Muan Ching, the youth secretary of the UELCI, was content with the out come of the meeting. “This gives us a clear basis on how we can work together with the youth ministries of the member churches,” she said.The meeting was very much supported by the staff of the UELCI led by by Rev Dr Augustine Jeyakumar. He highly encouraged the participants: “Youth ministry is meaningful on the local level. There is so much that young people can do.”

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