THE METHODIST CHURCH IN ZIMBABWE
YOUTH & CHILDREN’S MINISTRY
Youth Week 2020
THEME: “For Such A Time as This” Esther 4 vs 13-14
16-23 FEBRUARY 2020
Youth & Children’s Ministry Coordinator: Rev N. Zhira
Youth Presidents : Miss Yeukai N. Mbangani : Mr Graham K. Ndou
Youth Department: email@example.com
Youth Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org : 0774 094 433
Foreword for Youth Week 2020
The time has come for all of us, including those young at heart, to reflect on why God raised a people called Methodist. Wesley was clear that the people called Methodist were not raised just to add another denomination in the face of the earth. God raised the people called Methodist for such a time as this, the time of national and international crisis!! When the world is aching and groaning we need people called Methodist to stand up at such a time as this. But more importantly we need the younger generation, the Esther generation to stand up and deal with the crisis. The crisis besetting us need people who are not only faithful, but courageous and decisive and also action oriented. Esther would not have averted the disaster that was about to overtake the Jews in Persia if she had not acted decisively and strategically. Is there any one among us here who can stand up and inspire the church to act decisively?
REVD DR J. DUBE
We extend our profound gratitude to Revd T. Muleya and T. Dhiriza who prepared the youth week material. A special thanks goes to Revd J. Paradza the Research and Publications Coordinator and team who edited the materials. Also our sincere gratitude goes to the Presiding Bishop, General Secretary, Missions Director, Lay President, District Bishops, District Lay Presidents, District Youth Pastors, School Principals/Heads & Chaplains and Circuit Superintendents and Circuit Youth Pastors for your support towards Youth work.
The book of Esther is a record of the events that took place in Persia between (539-331 BC). The outstanding features of the Book of Esther are the complete absence of the name of God, the lack of the direct religious teaching and no mention of prayer. There are many answers that can be given to these reasons, first, probably the book was written for the Jews in the Persian Empire as an account that could be circulated without danger of offending people of that land who ruled over the Jews. Second others would want to believe that every word in the book demonstrate the mighty deeds of God. However, whatever reason that can be suggested, what is certain is that, the life of the Jews in Persia reminds us of a time such as this in Zimbabwe it was equally a time of oppression, a time of vulnerability, a time of divide and rule and a time to wait upon to God to act. The book demonstrates that when God closes, no one will open, and when God opens, no one will close. The divorce of Vashti and the marriage of Esther who was merely a foreigner, slave, in the foreign land is a reminder to us that God’s time is the best time.
Key issues that are raised after many Israelites had returned from exile to the land of Palestine to rebuild the temple and set up the sacrificial system. Most Israelite captives, however, chose not to return to their homeland. Among those who did not return was Esther and Mordecai. One can safely say that God had a purpose for the stay of these figures in exile. However, the Jews who had returned to their homeland entered into what is called the postexilic period of their existence. This was a time characterised by great uncertainty which led to people having many questions including the question of belonging, they were not sure whether they still belonged to God or not. They even thought of those Jews who remained behind in exile whether they are still regarded as people of God.
This year’s theme reminds us of the sovereign rule of God in the lives of God’s people including those who feel that they are lost in the face of God. Among the seemingly insignificant events God is still sovereign and He will always prove that. This years’ theme calls for young people to rise and take their positions in prayer, fasting and action for all the situations that cause sullen faces at the expense of joy and freedom. Esther was challenged to rise and stand in the position for the deliverance of the Jews in exile after they had faced the threat of Haman. Victory eventually came after prayer and fasting to the living God who is our God. The same God who delivered them is still the same God whom we are worshipping. May God bless the youths of our great church.
DAY 1: SUNDAY
TOPIC: FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS
As we launch youth week 2020, young people should acknowledge that this is not just an ordinary time but a significant one in the lives of youths in particular. This year’s theme takes into account a time of great uncertainty among the young people in every aspect of life political, social, and economical seem to be militating against young people.
The negative vibes of life such as unemployment, human trafficking, sexual, moral and verbal abuse, hopeless future and a sense of uselessness and worthlessness have characterized the youths of our time. This has created a time of pain, time of confusion and a time where evil is triumphant at the expense of righteousness. This time is also characterized by unstable and ever deteriorating economy where everything has been indigenized. Jobs remain scarce and the majority of both young people and elders are roaming at the growth points, in the streets and some opting for risky migrating actions to the neighbouring South Africa in particular.
Most young people are jobless graduates with some turning into vendors and gold panning. The time we are meeting is a time when business is no longer yielding profits as many people are failing to buy their needs and wants. What kind of time is this? It is a time when some come to church hungry and they return to their homes hungry. The gospel cannot feed them because even those propagating it are also hopeless. This is a time when corruption is the order of the day. For a time, such as this, God is calling us to rise and stand the ground to fight for that which is rightfully yours that is your integrity and your future. Life events can seem to be life destructive to you as those in the times of Esther and Mordecai but the reality you should embrace today is that God is there for you. God is concerned for your welfare. What is needed here is to ask for God’s intervention so that you are delivered from every calamity of this life. In a painful situation, Mordechai was not a spectator, he rose to the occasion, and Esther did not enjoy the comfort of the palace when her people were suffering. Let us stand equally as the Esthers and Mordecais of this present age, those who in such a time like this will pray and watch for God’s mighty hand to be upon us. Young people should sing the song mufudzi ndiye Jehovah, umalusi ngu Jehovah meditatively and heartily because indeed God is our shepherd even if we walk in the valley and shadow of death.
What are the threatening situations that you are encountering especially those which are dangerous to your faith?
What lessons have you learned from the character of Mordecai and Esther?
Do young people today stand in their gap despite challenging moments in life? If no what are the challenges and how can we deal with them?
DAY 2: MONDAY
TOPIC: GOD STANDS BY HIS PEOPLE EVERY TIME
READINGS: ESTHER 2v21-23, JOSHUA 10v11-14, 2 CHRONICLES 20v17
The God who was, who is, will be till the end of age. His word still reminds us that we don’t need to fight any battle on our own, but we need to stand firm, hold our position and see the salvation of the Lord (2 Chron 20v17). The events Esther proves that things work for good to God’s people. First, it is amazing that Esther was found to be so beautiful and that King Ahasuerus chose her from among all the young women of the kingdom to be his next queen (Esther 2v17). Second, how fortunate that Mordecai overheard the plot against the king and rescued him from assassination and that Mordecai’s valiant deed was recorded in the royal archives. Third, we also note that when Esther presented herself before the king (which in the Persian law, was punishable by death), she won favour in his sight and she was spared and allowed to speak.
These events prove beyond doubt that God makes a way where there is no way when it comes to the life of his people. The world and its tendencies may be so cunning to us but God is still the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. God will always raise a standard for his people and the standard will be above common things of the world, the usual way of operation will be changed in a short space of time. The law of the Persians was not followed when it came to Esther approaching the king without her being summoned. This is how God works in our lives. Let us learn to trust and lean on God for all our battles to be won. Do not fight the battle alone, God is your shield. At a time like this, human effort does not work but the divine power of God will see us through. Many young people die of depression and regression because they are overwhelmed by the severity of the battles they fight yet there is a God who cares for us through people around us. Take all your problems to Jesus and you will find rest (Matthew 11v28).
Discuss situations when you were really afraid and you considered giving up but God fought for you, or you came out of fear and gained courage without you noticing that God has fought for you.
DAY 3: TUESDAY
TOPIC: YOU WERE CREATED TO BE RELEVANT AND INFLUENTIAL
READINGS:ESTHER 5v1-8, LUKE 2v46-52
We are purposefully created by God to bring an impact to the world especially among non-believers and people of weak faith. The gracious love of God should be seen through the way young people live and carry their faith in an eroded economy. We ought to do the best we can to be relevant to our communities and the Church at large. You are where you are today because of various circumstances, some like Esther are orphans; some are at places where they are because they are working, for others it is home. Regardless of those different circumstances a person must strive to be influential and relevant in doing that which is beneficiary to many people especially that they see the kingdom of God. Esther is explicitly told that her being in the palace is not for her to just sit and enjoy the comfort and position in the palace, This year’s theme is taking us to a position where just standing, watching and complaining were regarded as serious crimes among the youths. Esther’s influence and relevant to the occasion is what we need as such a time such as this.
In the book of Luke, Jesus at a tender age made a great impact and influence in the temple. We don’t need to wait until we are old to have impact in our society. Those who listened to his questions directed to the elders and teachers were amazed. At an age of twelve Jesus was clearly aware that he was a Son of God. This should give a challenge to young people who are in church today; do you know you are God’s children? You are a gift as you are, some are blessed with good voices to sing God but you will never hear them singing in church, some have qualifications in financial disciplines but will not accept the positions of being a treasurer in church, some are good in administration but the positions of chairpersons stewards have no one to fill. Be relevant and influential while time is still allowing you for there will be a time when you will wish you could do this and that but you will be incapacitated.
Discussion: what causes some youths to fail to bring impact and influence to the world and the church? Is it possible to have young men and women who can rise like Esther? What can we do to encourage relevance among the youths in our church today?
TOPIC:REMAIN FAITHFUL TO GOD THEN YOU WILL REALISE YOUR NEW OPPORTUNITIES!
READINGS:ESTHER 6v1-5, DEUTERONOMY 8v6-11
Today we will begin by providing a working definition to the word opportunity. This word can be regarded as meaning time or set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. It can also refer to an occasion or situation that makes it possible for one to do something that one wants to do. The truth in life is that the way you make use of your opportunities separates success and failure in life. We should guard our successes in life by the proper use of given opportunities.
People at times fail to ascertain what is needed to be done in a given opportunity and also how to do it. Most times we are found asking for blessings from God but we fail to listen to God in order to grab the opportunity at hand. Make use of your God given opportunity to an extent that those who should facilitate your success will be sleepless for your sake only (Esther 6v1). Esther made a deliberate delay in telling the king her request. This was a strategic move for an opportunity had risen for the elevation of Mordecai and the king was in other words being prepared to react unfavourably to Haman. The king was forced by his sleeplessness to read the chronicles and he found an account of the deeds of Mordecai and how he covered the assassination plot. Mordecai utilised a golden opportunity when it was revealed to him and managed to save the king.
Haman had always thought of evil befalling the Jews but this time he lost the game when tables turned against him after he had suggested that Mordecai be hanged. Everything that was meant for evil against the Jews was turning out for good for them. Therefore, my sisters and brothers in Christ I urge you to always be in communion with God so that God will reward you. God has constantly assured us that he will be with us in his word, we must as well stay in him as his beloved creation so that every opportunity that comes our way we are able to grab it.
Discussion: Consider the things that hinder young people to utilise successfully their given opportunities in life. How best can we help each other to remain faithful to God in this present world?
TOPIC:BY GRACE, WE MOVE FROM SLAVERY TO ROYALTY
READINGS: ESTHER 8:15-9:4, ROMANS 8:31-39
God’s ways are always amazing. No one can ever understand how God raises the poor from the dusts to sit among the kings, Mwari vanosimudza marombe kubva muguruva, uNkulunkulu uyaphakamisa abampofu besuka ethulini. The faithful people who rely on the power of God will not succumb to the wiles of the devil. They will triumph over any kind of attack for they are more than conquerors because of Christ Jesus.
As said in the previous days, that the land in which Esther and Mordecai were in was not their land, they were captives to this land. In other words, they were always treated as subjects or slaves in a foreign land. God does wonders to his people, those whom he chooses. God changes their level of operation from a low class level to royalty. We have a good example of Mordecai who was rescued from the gallows (death) route to the palace. Instead of being hanged, he was given a royal position accompanied by royal garments, a large crown, and a purple linen robe. Blue and white were the Persian royal colours.
Surely grace turns the table against our adversaries. Mordecai was now in a position which was occupied by Haman and Haman was send to the gallows where Mordecai was supposed to be. It is not always good to have bad wishes against others because God’s plans are beyond our levels of hatred.
The rise of Esther and Mordecai obviously elevated the position of the Jews in Persia. Their rise to power caused many Gentiles to become Christian proselytes (believers). God’s good hand was then becoming obvious to the world at large. People were beginning to realise that it is God of the Jews protecting his people. The God of the few faithful transforms nations. Young people today should learn that God uses the few to serve the majority.
Prayer of the day:
Lord God we thank you that you love us as your creation and that you raise the poor from the dust. We pray today that we may find favour in you once more and raise our standards above the expectation of this world. Take us from the form of slavery to royalty, from subjects to masters. We acknowledge that through Jesus Christ we are more than conquerors. Lord in your mercy, hear our Prayer. Amen.
DAY 6: FRIDAY
TOPIC: PRAYER, FASTING AND STRATEGIC THINKING A VICTORIOUS GENERATION
READINGS: ESTHER 4v15-17, JONAH 3v5-6, MATTHEW 17v21
Prayer, fasting, strategic planning and action are the tools to unlock God’s promises and to experience his power they turn dreams into reality and give us the power to hold on during tough times of life. God does not always take you out of the problem you have, rather he stretches your faith by taking you through the problem. The truth is that as long as you pray and fast before God, you will walk through the problems you are facing. The problems will not consume you but you will see yourself on top of the challenges you are having. Prayer and fasting should be a never dying culture in our church. Things are not easy without prayer. Prayer changes the hardest moments of life and they will appear simple before us. Look at what Esther said to Mordecai, how she commanded all the Jews to hold a fasting so that their plea may be taken to the king. Esther knew that outside prayer and fasting there is no victory. Prayer will give you courage to trust God in the midst of pain and all the storms of life and this is made possible by faith.
Faith gives you the power to hold on in tough times. Faith combined with prayer and fasting produces perseverance. Probably the most important characteristic we should teach young people in our church today is resilience; this is the ability to keep going. Sisters and brothers in Christ, the truth is that nobody has a smooth path in this world, everybody has failures and mistakes, we all have pain, we all have problems, we all have pressures but the people who make it in life are those who depend on prayer and they are resilient.
Activity of the day:
Pray for resilience in your life and the lives of youths in our church and country at large. Pray for the spirit of prayer and fasting not to die in your life and the life of both the elderly and youths in our church.
DAY 7: SATURDAY
READINGS: MATTHEW 25v35-40, JAMES 2v20
ACTIVITY: COMMUNITY SERVICE
Young people should organise themselves and show that they have faith accompanied by works. For faith without works is dead faith. Faith is not just a passive attribute of a Christian who waits only to see what God has in store for him or her. Faith is active, it is a commitment. Faith needs to be demonstrated. What benefit does it have when you see a hungry person and say go your way God will bless you without giving that person food to eat? Or someone naked and you don’t clothe the person. Let us identify areas of need in our communities and exercise the works of charity. Young people can go to hospitals or clinics and assist with manual work and pray for the sick. You can also visit prisons old people’s homes, orphanages to mention only a few. Young people can also gather some foodstuffs, clothes to give to the needy.
May God bless you as you show the world that faith can be put into practice and also that Christian social responsibility is one of the core aspects in our pillars as the MCZ. Our visibility in communities is also a good way of evangelisation and we should not be found wanting on this arm.
DAY 8: SUNDAY
READINGS: ESTHER 4v13-14, PSALM 91v1-6, ROMANS 8v31-35
Today the youths are the ones leading the worship service. This is an opportunity to demonstrate that we have been raised purposefully for such a time as this to stand. It is time to reflect on what you have learnt during the week and also to preach transformative sermons that will lead the church to prayer and deep faith in God. People in the church have different situations that cause uneasiness to them. There are a lot Haman type of trouble associated with Christians today. It is time to rise and command a prayer to be observed by the church so that tables may be turned in our favour of Christians and against the will of the tormentor who is the devil.
Preach to the church that God will always fight for his people (2 Chronicles 20v15-17). Christians should learn to position themselves strategically as God leads the frontline of the battle. We need faith like that of Mordecai who told Esther that if she is not willing to deliver the Jews, their help will come from somewhere. This is total trust in the deliverance that comes from God. We should at all times remain resolute and stand in our positions as we witness God delivering his people from turmoil. For such a time as this we are called by God to be relevant.
May the Good Lord continue to bless the people called Methodists.
Youth week remains the main source of income for the Youth and Children’s Ministry department. Therefore, societies, circuits and Districts are urged to be faithful in submitting Youth week targets.
Youth Pastors, Advisors, Society Stewards, Circuit Stewards should assist the youths to prepare and organise fundraising activities towards the raising of youth week target. We appeal to individuals, families and corporates to donate generously towards youth and children’s Ministry work.
1. All the monies raised in the name of Youth week shall be sent to Connexional Youth department via the district Youth Council. (Youth Policy)
2. All Sunday offering for the 23rd of February 2020 should be banked to the Youth department as per church policy. (offering only not tithes and other offerings).
Methodist Church in Zimbabwe Youth
First Capital Bank
Account Number: 21576301707
Branch – NGO Centre (2157)