Senior Youth Leaders Commissioned in the Middle East

Ceremony was part of Gulf Field youth convention in United Arab Emirates.

Gureni Lukwaro, Middle East and North Africa Union Mission, and Adventist Review
Senior Youth Leaders Commissioned in the Middle East
Group photo of the commissioned youth leaders in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, on February 24. [Photo: MENAUM]

Church leaders commissioned more than 80 Seventh-day Adventist senior youth leaders during a special ceremony in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), on February 24. The ceremony, which was part of the inaugural Gulf Field Senior Youth Leadership Convention, was conducted by Pako Mokgwane, General Conference associate youth ministries director.

Expressing the joy of seeing youth leaders established in the region, Mokgwane emphasized the importance of senior youth ministries in the Adventist Church as part of the effort to mitigate the attrition of young people.

“Investing in developing senior youth leaders is essential for nurturing a thriving and vibrant church,” Mokgwane said. “Senior youth leaders serve as positive role models and mentors because they are closer in age to the church’s younger members. The leaders are taught to ensure generativity and authenticity, thus minimizing youth attrition in the church.”

Mokgwane explained that developing a pipeline of senior youth leaders “promotes continuity, stability, and a sense of belonging among the young people.” He added that “by empowering young leaders, the church not only retains youth but equips them to become lifelong disciples, providing valuable opportunities for personal and leadership development.”

Online Seminars Prepare the Youth

Prior to the convention, the Gulf Field Youth Department conducted online seminars for youth leaders who committed to lead the senior youth in the region, to prepare them for commissioning. The online sessions were attended by more than 500 participants from across the Middle East and North Africa Union Mission (MENAUM).

“We have a thriving work for junior youth in our field, and by God’s grace we want to establish a thriving senior youth work as well here,” Freinald Matondo, Gulf Field youth director, said. “This is a strong beginning, and we are looking forward to doing much more for our senior youth here in the Gulf.”

According to Matondo, the region’s youth leadership is planning to expand and strengthen the work of senior youth in the region to ensure that young people are engaged, are listened to, and are involved in the life of the Adventist Church.

The senior youth leader curriculum is for Adventist Church members aged 16 years and above who are approved by the church board and who wish to take senior youth ministry to the next level using biblical principles and contemporary methods. After completion of the curriculum, such individuals may be called upon to lead the Ambassador Ministry, Young Adult Ministry, and Public Campus Ministry at the local church.

The youth convention, the first of its kind in the region, was attended by delegates from countries of the MENAUM territory, including Egypt, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE.

Elite Speakers Provide Seminars

To help youth leaders have a broader view, an elite lineup of speakers offered a number of additional presentations.

Gulf Field president Marc Coleman presented on the topic of “third culture kids,” those who were born to parents of one national culture but have spent their formative years in another culture. With the majority of the people in the region being third-culture kids themselves, this presentation seemed relevant to equipping youth leaders with the knowledge and skills for dealing with this unique but important sub-set of the church community.

MENAUM field secretary Amir Ghali took the time to enlighten youth leaders on how to impart community engagement skills to the youth.

To help contextualize the work the youth leaders were commissioned to do, MENAUM youth liaison Byard Parks led a session on the youth ministries work from the MENAUM region’s perspective.

Adventist World Radio (AWR) was represented in this inaugural Gulf Field Senior Youth Leadership Convention by Jan Elexiz Mercado and Robert Dulay. Together, they led a session on youth in the digital world. In this presentation, they challenged the youth leaders and the young people present to be active in spreading God’s love using the variety of digital avenues available to them.

“Pray for the youth leaders and the young people in the Middle East as they embark on this new journey of youth ministries,” regional church leaders said. “[May] the Lord… use them to share His love to the people of this unreached region.”

Gureni Lukwaro, Middle East and North Africa Union Mission, and Adventist Review