SSD launches Voice of Youth Ignite
The Southern Asia-Pacific Division Adventist Youth Ministries (SSD AYM) launched its Voice of Youth Ignite on January 15-16, 2021 as it fulfills the gospel commission involving young people and its support to the “I Will Go” initiative of the General Conference. VOY Ignite 2021 envisions young people empowered to fulfill the Gospel commission in the power of the Holy Spirit. Its mission is to equip 1000 church-based Voice of Youth teams with 12 young people each team (12,000) with the prayer goal of seven new disciples each team (7,000) and 100% retention.
To achieve the vision, mission, goal of this initiative, SSD AYM through its prayer network fervently prayed for it during the Prayer Convention held in December 2020, the prayer and fasting conducted on January 2, 2021, and the Ten Days of Prayer held on January 6-16, 2021.
On top of making this a top priority in prayer, practical strategies have been laid to ensure its success. VOY Ignite is divided into four phases: Phase 1: Voice of Youth Formation and Launching (Jan-Feb), Phase 2: Voice of Youth Certification (Mar-June), Phase 3: Voice of Youth Ignition (July-Dec), and Phase 4: Voice of Youth Celebration during Prayer Convention (Dec 5-11, 2021).
During its launching on January 15-16, 2021, all the union directors with their youth directors in mission and conferences and VOY Coordinators (selected young people) had gathered to pray, to be equipped, and be certified to implement the initiative. Almost 196 had registered covering all SSD territory and more or less 150 had attended during the Zoom private meeting.
During the opening, Pastor Ron Genebago, SSD Youth Servant, presented the Christian Life Cycle each Adventist youth needs to experience. He presented the four components of the cycle, which are: (a) bring them in Christ, (b) build them up in His Word and spiritual disciplines, (c) train them how to use their spiritual gifts, and (d) send them out to fulfill the gospel commission. He also highlighted that each youth needs to discover their primary and secondary gifts through the GC Youth Ministries website (https://youth.adventist.org/Resources/Spiritual-Gifts-Assessment), develop them, and be deployed using their gifts while doing the VOY ignite.
Pastor Francis Amer, the Southeast Asia Union Mission Youth Director, presented next. He shared about the foundation of youth evangelism biblically, prophetically (Ellen G. White writings), and historically. He mentioned among others Joseph, Daniel, and his friends, Jesus, and His disciples to illustrate that God used young people to advance His work. He also quoted White when she writes, “With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Savior might be carried to the whole world! (Education, 271).” Then, he concluded with the historical milestone of AY leaders Harry Fenner (16 yrs old) and Luther Warren (14) who met for the following reasons: to promote missionary work, raise money for missionary literature, and further the cause of temperance.
Pastor David Morado, the North Philippine Union Conference Youth Director, related what is Voice of Youth all about. He discussed its mission among others, which is to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20), and plant churches (Acts 11:20-26). He also related that it was through the effort of a VOY team who visited and encouraged him that he later decided to become a pastor. He also added that he met his wife through VOY.
Pastor Von John Sanchez, the Central Philippine Union Conference Youth Director, led the youth to know how to organize a church-based VOY. He related to them the following steps to be considered in organizing their church-based VOY: Pray for God’s guidance, understand the VOY, coordinate with the church or district pastor, present the plan to the church board, recruit team members, partner with OYIM or 1000MM; identify the target community, conduct commissioning program, go and make disciples, conduct the thanksgiving and testimonial program, and write their experiences to bless the next generation.
Dr. Francisco Gayoba, the Adventist University of the Philippines President, challenge both the youth and directors to follow Jesus's method of recruiting His disciples. He derived the principles from Jesus as follows: Church elders identify the more spiritually mature and committed youth, spend time and train this leadership core, build up their spiritual commitment, train them in the essential skills, ask them to recruit others. He then concluded, “Jesus’ method is always the best. The simpler the method, the more effective it is.”
In the afternoon, before the 6th session, the VOY Coordinators had their fellowship in a breakout room while the Youth Directors also had met for the same purpose in another room. After this one-hour fellowship and sharing the sessions resumed.
Dr. Abner Dizon, the SSD Interfaith Coordinator, led the delegates in learning how to give Bible studies. He emphasized the importance of doctrines and beliefs since they influence one’s values, behavior, and lifestyle. However, he pointed out that the presentation of doctrines must be Christ-centered. He also provided Bible study guides and links to arm the youth with tools to use in giving Bible studies.
Dr. Bienvenido Mergal, the SSD Vice President, presented the “I Will Go Initiative” and the SSD’s version of it. SSD for him stands for Spiritual Growth, Servant Leadership, and Discipleship Making. He presented among others the Integrated Evangelism Lifestyle and Nurturing Discipleship and Reclamation. He also encouraged the delegates to follow Christ’s Method, by quoting Ellen G. White, “Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, Follow me” (MH, p.143). He summarized this into four Cs: contact, concern, compassion, care, confidence (conviction), and conversion (commitment).
The weekend worship, fellowship, and certification ended with a commitment message from Dr. Rudy Baloyo, SSD Executive Secretary. During his message, he reminded the youth of their grave responsibility by quoting White: “Upon the youth there rest grave responsibility. God expects much from the young men who live in this generation of increased light and knowledge” MYP, 199. He also made clear that the Voice of Youth can be ignited only through the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives as indicated in Acts 1:8. He presented five conditions to receive the Holy Spirit: (a) constant intense earnest prayer, (b) humility and true repentance, (c) putting away differences, (d) putting away personal ambition, and (e) united in Christian fellowship.
After the commitment message, the VOY Ignite Taskforce representatives Yan Michael Sitanggang, VOY Task Force Coordinator; Gen Camato, VOY Prayer Coordinator, Vaj Pillodar, VOY Program Coordinator, had formally launched the VOY Ignite with Pastor Ron Genebago: “For the glory of God (Yan), in the power of the Holy Spirit (Gen), we join Jesus in seeking and saving the lost (Vaj). I, Pastor Ron, a servant of SSD, now officially declare that Voice of Youth Ignite is open. So help us, God.”
This weekend gathering has blessed both Voice of Youth coordinators and Youth Directors as indicated by their testimonies below:
Jade Bandao, VOY Task Force Multimedia Editor, related her joy of being a part of VOY Task Force. She related, “Being part of the VOY Task Force re-ignited my motivation to reach my goal this year, which is to proclaim God bolder, to serve better, to use all my talents and skills, small or big, for the advancement of the work, and be a more committed instrument of His love towards others.”
Myrtle Ashlei Vasquez, Northeast Mindanao Mission VOY Coordinator, articulated her thoughts and prayers for VOY Ignite: “There is no other way for the youth to grow in faith, glow with love, and go where God leads us but only through Christ’s way. The VOY initiative anchored on the Christ-discipleship method, building relationships, empowering the youth through utilizing God-given gifts, and reaching people whoever and wherever they are, is a blessing one should never dismiss. It is my prayer that this ministry in SSD will grow to prepare the hearts and minds of the youth to go forth and be a disciple of Jesus, carrying light wherever they go and lead people back at the feet of Jesus.”
Pastor Renie Ubara, Peninsular Malaysia Mission Youth Director, testified: “For the very first time, we see a systematic organization and a holistic approach of implementing the Voice of Youth efforts through VOY Ignite initiatives by SSD. We praise the Lord for the smooth running of the Phase 1 certification that has brought to us different speakers with different presentation topics that have expanded our knowledge on VOY, a very mission-oriented ministry.
Prayerfully, PEM is excited with VOY! We’ve brought it to the PEM Administration Committee for approval and we have also elected regional VOY Ignite coordinators and will follow up with forming the teams. With the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, we’re moving forward with SSD, and together uplifting the spirit of “I Will Go!”
Geronimo M. Viernes, Jr., Central Luzon Conference Youth Director, shared, “Youth Directors together with their VOY Youth Coordinators coming from the vast territories of SSD came together through an online platform, which didn’t happen a long time ago. This, undeniably, is a crystal clear indication that our young people are now ready to go and be used in proclaiming God’s message.”
Pastor Ron Genebago, SSD Youth Director
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