See also some words of encouragement from the Connexional Youth Presidents and the Connexional Youth and Children’s Ministry Coordinator by following this link, which will open a new tab.
Youth & Children’s Ministry Coordinator : Rev N. Zhira
Youth Presidents : Miss Yeukai N. Mbangani; Mr Graham K. Ndou
Youth Department: firstname.lastname@example.org
Youth Coordinator: email@example.com – 0774 094 433
Youth Presidents: firstname.lastname@example.org
2021 YOUTH WEEK BOOKLET FOREWORD
Since our last Youth Week in 2020, the world has moved very fast from what we used to know as normal life. Most young people found life as a complex thing with a lot of problems than solutions. The coming of Covid -19 in the late 2019 and its impact to the socioeconomic, religious and technological challenges threatened life for everyone. Most young people did not find the meaning of life in most of the things that were happening. Schools were closed over a long period of time only to reopen at awkward days in the name of new normal. Universities suffered the same fate. In the passage of time, what was more disturbing was; when all other facets of life were compelled to lockdown, youth remained experimental species of Covid-19 at schools and Universities in the name of finishing syllabuses. A number of learners contracted Covid-19 and yet there were no efforts to address the present and future generations. In the context of further devalued life, 2021 theme “Our hope comes from God” Psalms 121: 1 – 2 reminds us of a God who embraces, gathers, protects and nurtures his children. We are a testimony of this ever-loving God.
May this God of mercy give us new hope in a hopeless situation.
In His Service
Revd Dr M. Mujinga
We extend our profound gratitude to Reverend C.B Marasha who prepared the youth week material. Our special thanks go to Reverend M Mafukidze, Reverend M James and Reverend J Paradza the Research and Publications Coordinator who edited the booklet. Also, our sincere gratitude goes to the Presiding Bishop, General Secretary, Mission Director, Lay President, District Bishops, District Lay Presidents, District Youth Pastors, School Principals/ Heads and Chaplains, Circuit Superintendents and Circuit Youth Pastors for their support towards Youth work.
THEME: OUR HELP COMES FROM GOD
This year’s theme asserts that our help comes from the Lord. Help implies that there are situations which we cannot face on our own. Therefore, there is need for one who intervenes to either carry the burden together with us, enable us to alleviate or minimise the challenges, or that enables us to fight against the evils threatening our generation. Some of the challenges faced by the youths include unemployment and the problems associated with it, limited access to education and school fees for some, identity issues, family problems, harmful cultural practices, limited access to health care and facilities, drug abuse and struggling against addictions, and peer pressure among others. They also cause trouble for some of the Christian youths.
When one is in trouble, he/she needs help. The Israelite’s usage of ‘lifting up’ of one’s eyes carries the sense of longing or yearning for help when in trouble. It is an expectation of intervention. At times the Israelites would hide in the mountains when there was trouble (Judges 6:2, Mark 13:14). Mountains are also known to be firm and imposing. The mountains represented security for Israelites, and for us, human solutions that we usually look up to. However, the systems that we trust in can falter at the most crucial moments. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that some of our foundations can crack in the midst of trouble. The mention of mountains falling ‘into the heart of the sea’ in Psalms 46:2 shows that certain securities can fail to stand against calamities. Though the Psalmist says that he lifts up his eyes to the mountains, he affirms that his help comes from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. It does not come from the mountains.
All things were created by God. They do not have power against the Creator. Though there might be big challenges, none of them is mightier than the Creator. Therefore, our confidence is in our sufficient Helper, the Lord. He is both our Helper, and the source of our help. It was difficult for us to be saved, but God made it possible for us through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Indeed, the Lord is our Helper.
As you launch the Youth Week today, invite a speaker to explain the theme. You can also discuss situations that the youths cannot face on their own.
THEME: GOD HELPS US TO MOVE ON
Bible readings: 1 Samuel 16:1-3; Joshua 1:1-2, & 9
Samuel was disappointed when Saul sinned and was rejected as a king. He went through a process of coming to terms with it. However, he overdid it, until it came to a sinful degree and bred fear in him (1 Samuel 16:2). God was not pleased because He expected Samuel to move on. He wanted him to open up so that he can send him to anoint David, who became Israel’s greatest king of all time.
The euphoria of the New Year, 2020 (dubbed by others as twenty-take), gave all of us the hope of victory. However, a few months into the year, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted most of our youths’ plans for studies, projects, jobs or other undertakings. Our youth groups’ plans for trainings, outings, revivals, youth crusades, sports, prayers, and fellowship were also disturbed. There were also other disappointments besides those caused by the pandemic.
Some of these losses can greatly affect us so that we have to go through a process of coming to terms with it, and this shows how precious something was to you. Samuel mourned Saul because he had been sent by God to appoint Saul as king and he had won many battles against their enemies. You should also thank God for his grace which carried you through, although the year might have been difficult for you.
You are not to lament forever (Deuteronomy 34:8). Overdoing it leads to fear and stops you from opening up to new and better opportunities prepared for you by God (Jeremiah 29:11). God’s mission does not end because of a setback. Open up to God so that he shows you what you need to do (1 Samuel 16:3). Like Peter, let Christ restore you (John 21:15-17)
What are the factors that prevent you from moving on?
O God of restoration help me to rise up and continue with your mission.
THEME: GOD HELPS US TO OVERCOME TEMPTATIONS
Bible reading: Genesis 39:1-12
Christian youths must guard their futures by overcoming temptations. They come in various forms, like offers, threats, ambitions, desires, lust, pleasure, and pain, among others. Temptation is not sin but giving in to the temptation is sinning. Joseph, who was a youth like us, overcame temptation. Below are some of the lessons which can be drawn from Joseph.
Remaining connected to Christ, even in times of difficulties. Verses 2 and 3 show that Joseph did not forsake God, even in slavery.
The fear of the Lord (Proverbs 9:10). Joseph feared to disappoint the Lord. He did not fear the consequences like STIs or being punished by Potiphar. Concentrating on the consequences alone can fool you into thinking that you can prevent, minimise or reverse them. This is why some youths end up using substances like contraceptive pills (to try to prevent unwanted pregnancies) or morning-after-pills; and abortion (to try to reverse unwanted pregnancies).
Remaining resolute. Stick to your godly principles and maintain your position. Let your ‘no’ be a definite ‘no’.
Do not be fooled by the short term pleasures, or fun-of-the-moment. Have an eternal view.
As Christian youths, you must ask for the Holy Spirit’s help so that you know how to deal with various situations. Some situations require you to just say no, or to avoid the environment that triggers the temptations, while others require you to flee. Eve did not flee, and she fell (Genesis 3: 6). Our Lord, Jesus Christ, also used the word of God to overcome temptations. (Luke 4: 3-4)
What are some of the temptations encountered by today’s youths: in the neighbourhood, at school or college, and at the workplace? How can one respond to each of the temptations you mentioned?
My Father, may your Spirit help me to discern the action required for each situation when I am tempted.
THEME: THE HOLY SPIRIT HELPS US TO PRAY
Bible readings: 1 Samuel 1:12-13; Romans 8:26-27
Christian youths cannot afford to live a prayerless life. The devil usually targets potential leaders (Exodus 1:10; Matthew 2:13-14). He would like to stop you before God shows you what abilities he has placed in you. One of the devil’s ways of doing this is by discouraging your prayer life.
However, we are not without hope. The Holy Spirit, our Helper, helps us in our weakness and joins us in prayer. The original word used for help, in Romans 8:26, carries the sense of one, with greater strength, who steps in and assists another in carrying a burden, by taking hold of it, on the opposite end. He prays with you, and fights in your corner.
Weakness may refer to little understanding, or struggling to discern God’s will as we pray, as well as the weariness which may be caused by tribulations and persecution. Hannah was heavily affected and could not utter a word, but the Holy Spirit uttered the ‘unutterable’ for her. He helps you with what to say.
He makes requests on your behalf, and with you. Zechariah 12:10 asserts that God’s Spirit is the spirit of supplication. He searches our hearts and guides our prayers. He prompts us to pray in our busyness and stirs in us the hunger for God. You are not alone. Continue to believe in Christ, so that His Spirit can help you to overcome any form of discouragement.
Lord, help me to open up to the Holy Spirit so that He helps me to pray.
THEME: THE GOD OF THE ‘LEAST’
Bible readings: Judges 6:11-16, Luke 1:28
God chose Gideon to deliver the children of Israel from the hands of the Midianites. However, according to Gideon’s own words, he was the least in his father’s family. His family was the least among his clan. His clan was also the least among the clans of Israel. Israel, itself, was at its lowest point as well (Judges 6:1).
Though Gideon saw himself as inferior (and probably it was the reality), God addressed him as a ‘mighty warrior’ or man of valour (Judges 6:12). This was a strange greeting (refer to Luke 1:28) because he was threshing wheat while in hiding, a sign of fear. God did this to animate and strengthen him. Probably, what they had gone through as a nation had clouded his view of himself. He viewed himself as insignificant, and a nonentity. Probably all those around him did so as well. They did not see a valiant man in him, but God did.
Though there might be human standards used to define you, you are what and who God calls you to be. You may view yourself as an insignificant or irrelevant boy child or girl child, but God sees a person of valour in you. Verse 14 says God turned to Gideon. It denotes favour, which is the opposite of the Lord hiding His face from someone (a sign of curse). Child of God, you are highly favoured.
One is not qualified by social status, educational level, gender or any other classification. His calling and commissioning (sending) qualifies the unqualified. God enables you and helps you to overcome. Therefore, ‘do not let anyone despise you because of your young age’ (I Timothy 4:12).
What are the enemies of the girl child, your soul, your family and your church that we need to fight against, as Christian youths?
THEME: GOD HELPS US TO MAKE DECISIONS IN LIFE
Bible reading: Genesis 13: 9-13
Decisions are part of life. Some are the smaller ones that we make on a daily basis, while the others are bigger, and life changing. Some of the areas in which we make decisions are: love life, career and employment, religion, or what to believe, health matters and lifestyle, entertainment, and the social life (which includes friends, and other relationships). There are also fashion and dress. You choose how to present yourself. It includes what you wear, and other enhancements like tattoos, piercings, bleaching etc.
However, making decisions is not always easy. This can be due to the limitedness or abundance of the options, lack of information, peer pressure, fear, lust, and over-calculating, among others.
NB: Every decision that one makes has either positive or negative results. Therefore, we need God’s help.
Lessons from Lot’s decision-making (Genesis 13:10)
a. Know who you are. You are a child of God..
b. You should consider the deepest aspects of life. Lot looked at the surface. He did not consider the short and long term effects.
c. One should have the adequate information. It can be a career, life-partner, etc. Do you think Lot had adequate information about the Sodomite life (verse 13)?
d. Take your time and allow the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Like Jesus, Lot could have prayed over it, through the night (Luke 6:12).
e. Christian youth must be open-minded. Do not be like Lot who limited himself to the two options only. Are there no other options besides those presented to you?
f. Do not be led by greed and lust. He saw a quick but dangerous way to wealth.
g. Consider those around you. His decision affected his family.
Our Lord, Jesus, made a world-transforming decision (Hebrews 5:7-8). He was guided by God’s will (Mark 1:36-38; John 4:34); and taught that we should say ‘let your will be done…’ (Luke 22:42).
God, help me to seek your will and glory in all the decisions that I make.
THEME: HELPING OTHERS AS A RESPONSE TO GOD’S HELP
Bible readings: Exodus 18:4; Matthew 5:16
Moses named his son Eliezer, which in Hebrew means ‘God is my helper’. We, too, believe that God is our helper. Today is the day of action, where we put what we believe into action. God helps us so that we help those in need.
We therefore need to reach out to the centres or individuals in our community who need our help. Disciples do as their master did. The world can know that God is the Helper through us, the Christians. Matthew 5:16 says that our good deeds give glory to God.
Let us, therefore, identify areas of need, where we can render our help, within our community. Remember to put on something so that we are identified, for example t-shirts or a banner.
THEME: OUR HELP COMES FROM GOD
Bible readings: Psalms 121:1-2, 1 Peter 5:7, Mark 4:36-41.
[See also today’s Sunday Services at this link.]
Today we conclude this year’s Youth Week by taking charge of the service. Ensure that there is inclusivity. Let all the youth groups; including Sunday School be given the opportunity to participate. Testimonies which show that God is our Helper can be shared as well.
Sisters and Brothers in Christ, the impact of COVID-19 is, and will continue to be felt most harshly by young people who are already living in difficult and disadvantaged circumstances. COVID-19 is still a significant threat to our community. It has infected nearly every continent, it forced countries into states of emergency, sent individuals into varying levels of quarantine, isolation and shuttered business and schools.
It is against this background Sisters and Brothers that I take this opportunity as the Youth and Children’s Ministry Coordinator to encourage all the young people in the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe and World wide that it is important to play our part to contain the spread of this highly contagious virus. As young people you have a key role to play in containing COVID-19. We must seriously follow the basic health practices, not only for ourselves but on behalf of others.
Sisters and Brothers in Christ, in such a time as this YOUTH WEEK TARGETS remain as the main source of income for the sustenance of Youth and Children’s Ministry department. As your leaders at Connexional level we humbly request societies, circuits and districts leaders to come up with fundraising strategies that suit the context and the environment which we are in and raise funds for this special ministry in the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.
NB. All Sunday Offering for the 21st (28th) of February 2021 should be banked to the Youth department as per Church policy (offering only, not tithes and other offerings).
Banking Details are as follows
(1) FCA/ Nostro Account
Methodist Church in Zimbabwe Youth
Account Number: 120 – 12873696633189
(2) RTGS Account
Methodist Church in Zimbabwe Youth
First Capital Bank
Account Number 21576301707
Branch-NGO CENTRE (2157)
(3) Merchant Code 230123
*151*2*2*230123*Amount*MCZ Youth Connexion#.
How to pay for Youth Week
1) *151*2*5*71458# dial,
2) Choose others
3) Write Youth Week on purpose
FBC Bank Account No. 6162509470365
Then send screenshot on WhatsApp or text message to Shingirai Chifamba on this number: 0783 574 521