In Record-setting Ceremony, More than 700 Invested as Youth Leaders

The special service took place at the South American Division youth convention in Brasilia.

Marcos Paseggi, Adventist Review
In Record-setting Ceremony, More than 700 Invested as Youth Leaders
More than 700 young Seventh-day Adventists were invested as youth leaders at the 2024 Maranata Youth Convention in Brasilia, Brazil, on the evening of May 31. [Photo: Naassom Azevedo]

In a record-setting ceremony, more than 700 young Seventh-day Adventists were invested as youth leaders at the 2024 Maranata Youth Convention in Brasilia, Brazil, on May 31.

The special evening service marked a milestone for the history of Adventist Youth, not only in the South American Division (SAD) but around the world, regional church leaders said.

“These people have devoted themselves and fulfilled all the requirements of the Adventist Youth leadership training program,” SAD communication director Jorge Rampogna said just before the ceremony. “Tonight, they will be invested to officially become leaders of Adventist youth ministries.”

Ana Karina Braga, a local church youth leader in Brasilia, explained the meaning of the moment. “Being invested as leader is a key moment in the life of any young person who wishes to serve God and His church fully,” she reminded the audience.

The more than 700 candidates and their mentors, representing the eight countries of the SAD church region (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay), then walked to their assigned seats on the bleachers of the Mané Garrincha BRB Arena, the venue of the 2024 Maranata Youth Convention.

“This ceremony is crowning a process of great effort, study, and dedication,” Rampogna emphasized as hundreds walked to their seats. Every youth leader and candidate carried a light as a symbol of the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives and ministry, he added. “These are consecrated leaders who will shake up this world,” Rampogna said.

Braga agreed. “We can see here a generation of young people who are rising up, an army set out to proclaim that Jesus is coming soon,” she said. “It is a legacy that each one of you must leave with the young people in your church, and with the whole world.”

After the hundreds of candidates publicly pledged to stay faithful to the Bible, Abner de los Santos, a general vice president of the General Conference, prayed for the young leaders. “We are here to consecrate ourselves to You, to dedicate our talents,” de los Santos prayed. “But for us to be efficient in mission, we need the presence of Your Holy Spirit.… With the Spirit’s help, may each one of us use our talents, our professions, to give glory to Your name. And may this special group of young people find their niche of opportunity, wherever they might be, to get involved in mission. And may we all be inspired not only to fulfill Your mission but to train and lead others to also do it.”

SAD president Stanley Arco then addressed the candidates. “Some of you may think that being a leader is wonderful because people will now begin to serve you,” Arco told them. “But leadership is not a permit to do less but a responsibility to do more.… Youth leadership is a commitment with young people. It takes time and energy, and it’s not easy, but leadership is an opportunity to call upon God at every moment and before any challenge.”

Leadership is also helping others to know the difference between good and evil, right and wrong, Arco told them, and remembering that they are part of one body. “As a leader, I don’t live to focus on my own success, or on the success of my local church,” he said. “I live to focus on the success of God’s kingdom.”

In doing so, they would be following Jesus’ example, Arco told the candidates. “In everything He did, Jesus had His mission in mind,” he said.

After Arco’s message, the moment arrived for hundreds of mentors to hand an Adventist Youth jacket and a special pin to each candidate. Those minutes included long hugs and many emotional tears. Then GC youth ministries leader Busi Khumalo prayed for the newly minted leaders. Khumalo prayed, “It always humbles us seeing young people taking Your work seriously. May You bless the leaders invested tonight. May You remind them that they have been invested to serve others.… May they help other young people to be disciples of Jesus Christ.”

Marcos Paseggi, Adventist Review