Developing the ‘NeXGen’ of youth leaders


Some two-and-a-half hours’ drive south of Blantyre lies the town of Bangula, and it was here that a group of Youth Leaders from Africa Evangelical Church (AEC) congregations in Southern Malawi met for training. Under the title of ‘NeXGen’, the training event was the first in a series that will be run across Malawi over the course of 2014.

Peter Ong leading a session at the Bangula neXGen training event

Peter Ong, SIM Malawi’s Youth Ministry Co-ordinator developed the training programme with Pastor Chisoni Bridge, the AEC’s National Youth Co-ordinator, and this year’s training is based on the Book of Colossians.

“This year, as we develop the training, we want to affirm our youth leaders in their faith and also in their relationships, and Colossians helps us to do this,” said Peter.

“For many of the young people who are leaders, life can be tough just to be accepted in their own church set-up. By bringing them together at events such as that in Bangula, we can help to show them that they are not alone and help to build them up. I am confident that when they go back to their home churches they will be more confident in themselves and also in the work they are doing.

This confidence was echoed by two of the delegates who spoke to Malawi Amoto.

Monica Malesi is a youth leader at Ndirandi AEC on the outskirts of Blantyre. She said: “The conference has helped me to know how to preach to our youth group and how to be strong in my faith. I will tell my members to work hard in the will of God, to study the Bible and how to know Bible Study.”

Group discussions during the training session

Isaac Kalima from the Chikwawa AEC said: “I am going to teach them what I have learned here. I want to teach them how to study the Bible and the quality of good leadership.”

Also attending the training in Bangula was Pastor Louis Ndekha, General Secretary of the AEC (below left). When asked about the importance of youth work to the AEC he said: “Youth work is very important for the ministry of the Church because the youth are the largest population in the Church in the first place. They constitute over 50% of the total number of church members. Secondly, they are the future of the Church and therefore youth ministry is a very critical part of church ministry

“The current training is very, very important to the ministry of the Church because it is preparing the youth leaders in how they can actually lead the youth groups. Generally we had a youth ministry where they would just meet for choirs, for example, and nothing much beyond that. However, this training is preparing youth leaders to see how best they can nurture their friends into mature Christians and basically that will have a significant impact on how the youth ministry will be run at the local church level and across all in the structures of the church.

“What I would like to see as fruit of this training is youth leaders who are discipling others and that resulting into changes to Christ-like character in the youth in the local churches, and that even impacting the whole Church because being in the majority in the membership of the Church; if the youth are discipled and they grow and mature in their Christian life, and they live a Christ-like life, I think the impact is wider even beyond the Church where society can be impacted and the Lord can be glorified as a result of that.”

Please consider investing in the future leaders of the AEC by supporting more youth leaders to attend the upcoming neXGen conferences in the Central and Northern Regions of Malawi by donating to SIM Malawi Project MW96658.