Busi Khumalo stands in the entryway of the vast hall used for food services during General Conference Session. He has an expression on his face that is part astonishment, part shock as people greet him. Multiple texts and WhatsApp messages are congratulating him for being elected as the Youth Director for the world church. There is no time to respond to all the messages.
For the man who felt a calling to ministry at a young age, working with youth wasn’t at the top of his wish list. In fact, there came a moment when even the call to ministry was pushed aside. “When I finished high school. I got confused. I thought I should venture into medicine. But then the calling for ministry was much stronger than the calling to medicine,” Khumalo says.
Sometimes when you tell God your plans, you make Him chuckle. “It was never my ambition,” he says with a laugh. “Years before, I vowed to my wife that I didn’t have the qualities to become a youth director. But God was listening to that, and He must have been saying, ‘I’ll teach him a lesson.’ ”
The Southern Africa Union Conference president called him to fill the vacant youth ministry position. Khumalo wasn’t sure, but the president assured him God would equip him. Soon he fell in love with how wonderful Adventist youth can be. The rest, as they say, is history.
But the last thing Khumalo wants is for any of this to be about him. It’s the youth of the church that matter. Adventist youth, and what God can do through them. His first message to Adventist youth around the world underlines that:
“I’m undeserving of this appointment, and it proves God can point his finger at anybody,” he says. “As long as you are willing to be used of God, you can be attuned to the voice of God. Just like Samuel who was a small boy living with this veteran priest, Eli, when God chose Him. You may feel that you are too insignificant in your church or wherever you are, but God can use you.”
“When you look at those we call our pioneers, Ellen White was only 17 years old. Most of our pioneers were very young. So God can use you in your particular sphere of influence. And many of you are very, very, talented. I want to challenge you. You need to be willing to be sensitive to the still, small Voice — the Holy Spirit who is calling each one of you to connect with Jesus. Go on God’s errands, because that’s what youth ministry is all about.”