More than 200 Voice of Youth (VOY) teams in the Southern Asia-Pacific Division (SSD) held online and physical evangelistic meetings, which so far resulted in 4,015 newly baptized disciples. Launched virtually in January 2021, Voice of Youth Ignite is the SSD Adventist Youth Ministries (AYM) response to the I Will Go initiative of the global church.
So far, 2,400 young people have joined more than 200 VOY Ignite teams (each team comprises 12 members) that are reaching out to their communities. The initial number is part of the 1,000 teams the VOY Ignite Initiative envisions to commission for reaching out to up to 7,000 new disciples during the first half of the year.
Each team has its youth speaker, health lecturer, secretary, budget officer, and coordinators for logistics, children’s ministry, Bible interests, prayer, music, and social media documentation and reporting. AYM collaborated with the SSD administration and various departments in training and equipping the young people for the task ahead of them. A spiritual gifts assessment was also done as part of the certification training of each member before they were sent out to fulfill the gospel commission. Moreover, the SSD Prayer Network, an initiative of AYM, held days of prayer and fasting for the VOY Ignite members to seek God, surrender, and entrust this initiative in His hands.
After the training, church regions conducted commissioning programs to dedicate to the Lord the young people involved before they were sent to the communities for virtual and physical evangelistic campaigns. During the commissioning, the Holy Spirit was recognized as the only one who can ignite the young people to be witnesses in their communities.
“Your training in the VOY Ignite Certification is helpful, but it is useless when you are not empowered by the Holy Spirit,” SSD youth director Ron Genebago told them. The 4,015 newly baptized disciples testify to the power of the Holy Spirit, Genebago said, and to the dedication of the young people, their youth directors, pastors, and church elders to the ministry.
The initial accomplishments of VOY Ignite have impacted not only the youth involved but also the youth directors themselves, the church leaders, and church administrators, church leaders said.
SSD president Saw Samuel said that the VOY Ignite is a part of SSD’s reason of existence. “Voice of Youth Ignite is a response of our youth leaders, pastors, and young people participating in God's plans and fulfilling the purpose and existence of SSD through mission and evangelism.”
Gary Blanchard, youth ministries director of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (GC), said he appreciates the hard work of the VOY Ignite team. “It is truly a wonderful thing to see so many young people working together in teams to share the ‘Most solemn message ever given to mortals,’ ” Blanchard wrote in a WhatsApp message. “VOY is a Spirit-led initiative that propels the younger generation like arrows into the world with God’s message of warning, comfort, and hope.”
Ryan Dayaan, an Adventist young man from Northern Davao Mission and the speaker for his VOY team, said that the program strengthened his faith and hope in Jesus. “It helped me to grow and mature spiritually,” he said.
Dexreal Calibod, a Pathfinder from Davao Mission and the logistics coordinator of his VOY team, said the program was a blessing for him. “I’m so blessed through this program because this is my first time to join with other young people of the church. I’m thankful for this program spearheaded by SSD to train the youth on how to share the gospel with other people who are eager to hear the voice of Jesus,” Calibod said.
Voice of Youth is an initiative of the GC that was introduced during the Youth Congress held in the North American Division September 3-7, 1947. It is three years older than the Pathfinder ministry, which was launched in 1950. VOY was the most fruitful initiative in terms of leading people to Christ in baptism.*
The SSD AYM will be celebrating Voice of Youth’s 74th anniversary on September 4, 2021. In this celebration, leaders and members will thank God for what He is doing in the lives of the youth. Leaders and members also expect to listen to testimonies on how God has blessed the young people in their involvement in the I Will Go initiative through the Voice of Youth Ignite 2021.
* Baraka G. Muganda, Youth Ministry Accent, April-June 2007.