THE METHODIST CHURCH IN ZIMBABWE
YOUTH AND CHILDREN MINISTRY
YOUTH WEEK 2023
THE LORD OF REVIVAL AND RESTORATION: PSALM 85:6
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Youth and children ministry is one of the most significant ministries of the church. It is an age-appropriate ministry to children, youths and young adults.
It is an age specific religious ministry in Christianity. Young people are encouraged to learn more about a given faith and to become more involved in the spiritual life of the church. Youth week is one of the church’s models of inculcating community life, conversion, faith, leadership, morality, prayer, service and spirituality in young people in the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.
This year’s theme mirrors a God of revival and restoration. It is extracted from Psalm 85:6. It may be acceptable to assert that the song in Psalm 85 was written soon after the return of the Jews from Babylonian captivity. The Psalmist acknowledges the goodness of God in restoring His people and forgiving their sins. He then prayed that the Lord would remove His wrath from His people. The Psalmist’s confidence in the Lord came from God’s promise of salvation. It is our prayer as young people in the Methodist Church that we receive revival and restoration especially at a time when most of the youths have allowed a natural death to the zeal for Christ and Mission. The country has been ravaged by the Coronavirus pandemic where the church lost some of its vibrant young people whom the church could not afford to give a befitting send off and decent burial. The trauma caused will live with us hence, the need for revival and restoration. Most young people have given up on life and resorted to drugs and substance abuse, love for material things that promote immorality and lawlessness. The youth ministry is in quest for revival during this 21st century, especially when prayer seems to be no longer relevant among many young people. It is my prayer that as we go through the lessons in this booklet, we embrace revival and restoration that will bring determination in our lives.
Mission Director: Rev Dr K Paradza
Our appreciation goes to Hwange District Youth Pastor Reverend Tapiwa Muleya, the Youth President, Simbarashe H Sinamani and Vice Youth President Patricia V. Matemera who prepared the 2023 Youth Week Material. We also extend our gratitude to Rev O. Chagudhuma and Rev Dr P. Masvotore who edited the material.
TOPIC: THE LORD OF REVIVAL AND RESTORATION
READING: PSALM 85: 1-6
It has remained a tradition that the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe Youth and Children Ministry through its various organisations and committees seek to be revived, restored and strengthened in Societies, Circuits, Districts and Connexion through Youth Week activities. I pray that this year we use dynamic spiritual lances as we start this journey of spiritual revival and restoration marked by this Youth Week launch. We pray for great revival and restoration not a routine of fulfilling the MCZ calendar that comes every year.
The zeal that continues to fade away must receive great revival in today’s launch services. One thing that must be known by all young people and elderly is that our God is capable of reviving and restoring His people who have sunk in the muddy trenches of this world, those people who have lost hope, lost focus, lost their imagination and no longer have purpose of life. We are living in communities where sin continues to take a centre stage, people practice evil openly, and they have been alienated from God. The love for worldly pleasures and competition in acquisition of wealth has led many people to lose track in their spirituality. Young people have become so busy that they are unreachable when it comes to the Mission of God. Spirituality has been lost; godly fellowship has been lost among Christians. The only hope that we have is that God is still able to save us, restore us to desirable positions in families, communities and the church at large.
In the reading that we have today, the Psalmist looks back to what God had done for His people, he realised that God had forgiven the iniquities of His people, He had tuned from His anger against His people after they had repented of serious unfaithfulness. This gives an assurance to Methodist youths today that God is kind and faithful. Revival and restoration is readily available for a generation that discovers its ills and repent. Exodus 34:6 lays the attributes of our God; merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. In order for revival and restoration to take place, people should admit that they have deviated from their right ways, they have shifted positions negatively. Once a person realises the need for revival and restoration, it becomes easy to be revived. It is true that young people continue to experience unemployment after graduation. Businesses are failing and, in some instances, families are scattered abroad leaving young people vulnerable. These challenges and those not mentioned have killed the love for the gospel and the mission of God in youths of this generation. This prompts revival and restoration this year 2023 so that we concentrate on essentials and forsake nonessentials for young people not to perish. It is our prayer that among the youths, God will raise boys and girls, men and women who will lead revival in the church so that the youth ministry is restored. The power and ability of God in bringing revival and restoration cannot be undermined.
Why is it that there is reduction in youth participation in church programs today?
What factors drive youths to drugs and substance abuse? And how can we evade such a situation?
Is there any silver lining in your local church, Circuit and District when it comes to revival and restoration of youths?
TOPIC: COMPLEXITY OF ADOLESCENT WORLD THAT SEEK FOR REVIVAL AND RESTORATION
READINGS: PROVERBS 3:5-6, PSALM 16:8
One reality that must not be ignored in the process of revival and restoration is the complexity of adolescent world. Some writers describe adolescent world as a period of confusion, conflict and transition in the pursuit of individuation. The majority of our young people in the church have no or limited access to socio-economic resources hence they live in abject pervasive and debilitating poverty, let alone unemployment woes that were mentioned in the previous lesson has dismantled their zeal to worship God. There are contextual realities like the changing dynamics around the family concept, chemical substance abuse, and extreme cases of violence that must be put into consideration when studying the adolescent world. Despite the said complexities, young people in the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe are reminded that evil should not triumph over good. Complexities may be there, but young people need to be reminded and helped to search for a deeper and meaningful relationship with God for them to be revived and restored again. Jesus Christ continues to invite all people, young and old, to respond to the call of salvation. In the complex world, Christ is still calling people to eternity.
When a young person receives Christ, he or she becomes a servant leader in the church, home, school, community and neighbourhood. Young people should therefore transform their spheres of influence and target to be full participants into the harvest field of the Lord. In doing so, the wise word from the Psalmist urges the youths not to lean on their own understanding but to trust in the Lord so that their paths may be straightened and energized once more.
Discuss ways in which young people may be modelled toward evangelism for revival. What can pull young people to be active disciples in the church?
Pray that Methodist youths’ participation be revived across the Connexion in 2023.
TOPIC: REVIVING AND RESTORING THE 21ST CENTURY YOUTH GENERATION THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
READINGS: GENESIS 4:22, 1 CORINTHIANS 10:31, 2 CHRONICLES 26:15
It is impossible to escape technology and its advancements for it is part of our day to day lives. From the time when one wakes up to the moment one goes to bed at night, one would have lived beneath the umbrella of technology. Technology benefits us from the lights in our homes, smart phones we have and clothes that we wear to mention just a few areas. Not only does technology play a significant role in our lives, it also has a ubiquitous role in reviving the Church today. These may range from worship facilities, software used in churches, online giving platforms and online platforms for sermons and teachings. According to Merriam Webster, technology is the invention of useful things to solve problems. It can be easily defined as the creation of things that make life easier. Technology has solved numerous problems around the world, it has alleviated many diseases, and it has improved the quality of life for many people. The Bible in 2 Chronicles 26:15 acknowledges the use of technology where machines were invented by Uzziah. This proves that technology was there years back.
It is important to note that technology is not static, it is dynamic and the rate at which it is moving is fast. Because of that dynamism, many youths are now in the grip of the mesmerising world of the media and technologies. A culture of death has increased among the youths today and technological abuses have led to such extents. Technology has been used, in some cases, wrongly to inflict pain and suffering to other people and such abuses can always lead to unintended consequences.
Technology must therefore be redeemed for the glory of God, your good and the good of others. For your technological usage, you need to do so discerningly, and with an open hand knowing that technology is not the solution to every problem but a vehicle to share the gospel and do well for others. Through the use of modern technologies, the church can indeed be revived and restored in its worship, evangelism programmes and other church activities
Is the growing influence of social media bad for the church? Support your arguments.
Are there any downsides to technological advancement? Numerate them.
TOPIC: A REVIVED AND RESTORED YOUTH MINISTRY DEVELOPS AN ENTREPRENEURSHIP MINDSET
READINGS: PROVERBS 10:4, PROVERBS 20:4
The Bible is full of lessons that address different people in various capacities or statuses like depression, struggling with sin, hopelessness among others. This must be plain to the youths that the Bible is also full of lessons that have proved to be vital not only in the life to come but in the present life. In Proverbs 10:4 it is written that a slack hand causes poverty but the hand of the diligent makes rich. This is a naked truth to all young people that if they would want to continue being lazy, waiting for wealth that they would not have worked for, they will be met with serious poverty. Being an entrepreneur does not require sums of money but a change in mindset first.
If you calculate the money that you use in recharging your phone, both in voice calls and data per month, you will receive a shock of your life at the total you will arrive at. It is not wrong to recharge your phone but what is wrong is how you use a recharged phone. Some spend time on social media exhausting bundles without any profit while some are using bundles positively for online trading and marketing. It is a good thing to continue being in touch with friends online, but one must calculate time lost versus gains that came to him or her.
Young people must learn to work hard every day. Working hard promotes riches and builds one’s status. There is nothing wrong about acquiring genuine wealth that comes after hard work. What is wrong is to be a sluggard and expect riches. Proverbs continues to say, “The sluggard does not plough in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing”. Young people must keep their entrepreneurial spirit in check at all times. Youths must always be on the lookout for opportunities that lead to a harvest. Virtues of having willingness to work are needed all the time. In entrepreneurship we are reminded of Jesus’ words on the golden rule. If an entrepreneur puts him or herself in the shoes of other people, he or she is more likely to treat those people as he or she would like to be treated. This simply is an encouragement that as we become entrepreneurs, we should not inflict pain on others rather working hard is the motto.
Let us identify projects that we can do as young people to earn a living outside employment. Share business ideas as youths and empower one another.
TOPIC: A RESTORED GENERATION BECOMES DIFFERENT.
READING: DANIEL 3:16 -30
Young people must know that being a sinner leads to spiritual death. We are cut off from God with no hope of salvation through anything we might plan or do. God however can save us from this hopeless situation by forgiving our sins, giving us new life and restoring us to a right relationship with Him, but He can only forgive us if we decide to be different.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego decided to be different when King Nebuchadnezzar had instructed everyone to bow down to a golden idol because they were a restored and repented generation. The trio openly refused and decided to do what was right. There are a lot of things that the world we live in forces us to do, wrong things for that matter. However, we need to stand firm and do God’s will for He will not leave us alone, but He will fight for us, and victory will be ours. If we decide to be different from those in the world, we will surely preach the goodness of our Lord and others will be revived again. After Shadrach and his friends were not burnt by the fire, everyone who saw them walking out of the fire was amazed and worshipped their God. As young people we need to inspire people; we need to lead by example so that others will follow. When our peers are abusing drugs, drinking alcohol and many other social ills we need to decide to be different and do what is right so that they see and follow the right path. The world might punish us for doing what is right, but God will surely fight for us. We might be labelled and given names for Godly things we do, but that should not make us tremble for God always fights for His people.
In this world which has left us with no hope, where doing worldly things seems to be more profitable than godly living, where being godly is being labelled with mockery names, where dealing with drugs is the swag of the day, where drinking alcohol is the new normal, dressing nakedly is being praised, to mention a few, we, the Methodists youths have to stand firm and decide to be different. God is always with us, and He will stand for us, fight for us and we will be rewarded. Shadrach and his friends, after they walked out of fire, were promoted by the king. Promotion will come from those who once labelled us after they see the goodness of God through us. May God be with us throughout our lives as we decide to be different and remain undiluted as a revived and restored generation.
What are the things in our day to day lives that need our decision to be different?
How can we decide to be different?
TOPIC: SEXUAL PURITY, A SIGN OF A REVIVED AND RESTORED YOUNG PEOPLE
READING: 1 THESSALONIANS 4:3-8
Most of us have had problems, at times, discerning the will of God. At those times, we have wished that God would just speak audibly, “My will is that you take the job that you have been offered.” “Okay, God, I have got it!”
In our text, God plainly states His will for each of us is one important matter (1 Thess. 4:3): “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality.” There is no ambiguity in that God wants you to be morally pure. He doesn’t command moral purity to deprive you of fun, but rather to increase your ultimate pleasure in Him. At His right hand are pleasures forever (Ps. 16:11). He designed the sexual relationship in marriage for our pleasure in Him. So, any violation of moral purity goes against God’s good and perfect will for your life. Any form of sexual immorality will hurt God’s name, hurt you, and hurt others. As the one who created sex, God tells us in His word both how sex can bless us and how it can harm us. His clearly stated will is that we abstain from sexual immorality.
But it is safe to say that we live in a world where sexual temptation is more readily accessible than at any other time in history. Long ago it was not nearly as easy to view pornography as it is now. Then, you had to deliberately search it out, often in sleazy stores where you would not want to be caught dead. Now, it just takes a few clicks on your smartphone. Long ago before the internet era it was difficult for young people to get access to materials that can give them sexual desires than nowadays. Although we are living in a world that has all this, we should remember that we are Christians. Below is God ‘s will to His children:
1 God’s will is for His people to be sexually pure or holy. (1 Peter 1:14-16)
2 Sexual sin among God’s people always causes damage. (2 Samuel 12:14)
3 To be sexually pure, you must know God and walk by the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit. (Matthew 5:27-30)
Is it a challenge to maintain sexual purity as a youth? What pressures do we find ourselves in when it comes to this topic? How can we overcome those pressures?
If you are defeated by sexual sin, take whatever radical measures are necessary to get on the path to sexual purity.
TOPIC: A REVIVED AND REDEEMED CHURCH ENGAGES IN COMMUNITY WORKS OF CHARITY
READINGS: PROVERBS 3:27, 1 CORINTHIANS 12:4-6
Revival and restoration is not only needed spiritually among the youths in the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. The component of giving works of charity and community service equally need revival and restoration. Young people should learn to organize themselves, mobilize resources and reach out to communities, leave a positive mark in such communities. Community engagement and services is a broader way of evangelisation. Our visibility in Christian Social Responsibility is a strong tool of preaching the gospel. We are urged to move out of complacency and begin to explore new ways of reaching out to the communities as a sign of being revived. Our various communities comprise of the elderly, the sick, the disabled, and those marginalised. It is our duty as Methodist youths to ensure all people are catered for. The gospel of hope must be preached to the sick and the hopeless. Those under depression should be able to see God through Methodist youths in year 2023. We need to challenge the growing notion that giving is for adults only. In many places youths fold their hands when it comes to giving. They always cite excuses of having no money because they are not employed. Today is our opportunity to shine and demonstrate that we are entrepreneurs who can sustain themselves outside salaries. Each one of us has something unique that we offer. It is also vital to note that we will receive different results, but what is important is that we volunteer to serve.
On a day like this, fellowship after community service is also being encouraged.
SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE
REVIVAL AND RESTORATION IS POSSIBLE/ LORD REVIVE AND RESTORE US AGAIN
Nketa 7 Youth (slideshow)
READINGS: PSALM 85:1-6, 2 CHRONICLES 7:14, JAMES 4:7-10
Today we conclude Youth week 2023 in style as young people lead worship services across the connexion. An opportunity has come again for the young people to exhibit fruits of revival and restoration. Revival has begun and there is no going back to former statuses that we were revived from. If you came from laziness, then move to hard work and commitment. Young people must prove that they have received new strength in the mission of God. The kingdom of God has gained soldiers of evangelism, those who will carry the good news to every corner of the community without fear or doubt. We waited upon the Lord and now we are revived and restored. Let us therefore take this opportunity to convey God’s word to the congregation of God without prejudice. The Holy Spirit will lead transformative sermons and general praise and worship in today’s service. Take this opportunity to announce revival and restoration to the church of God. All tricks of the devil must be exposed as people move to higher levels of commitment toward God’s mission.
May all the young people and the entire congregation of Methodists be revived, restored and receive blessings in the year 2023.
In as much as Youth Week is a special time set apart by the MCZ to celebrate and appreciate the presence of Youth and Children within the church, it is also a time set apart to raise funds for the sustenance of the Youth Department. We therefore appeal to all the Districts, Circuits and Societies to diligently prepare for this special time and to be faithful in remitting Youth Week Funds. We also request that the Youth Week Funds be banked on time.
Kindly note that ALL Sunday offerings (offerings only) for the 26th of February 2023 must be banked into the Connexional Youth Accounts. All funds collected through Youth Week Efforts are to be sent to the Connexional Youth Department through the District Youth Council.
Banking Details are as Follows
♦ FCA/Nostro Account
Methodist Church In Zimbabwe Youth
Account Number: 120-12873696633189
Methodist Church In Zimbabwe Youth
First Capital Bank
Account Number: 21576301707
Branch- NGO CENTER (2157)
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