Gift Mphongolo, FOY National Coordinator, reports on the 2016 National Youth Conference.
The 2016 National Youth Conference, organised by ZEC’s Fellowship of Youth (FoY) was based in Salima Secondary School last October. It was a follow up to a number of regional conferences held in Mzuzu, Namitete, Blantyre and Balaka.
The theme of the conference was ‘Unless the Lord builds the house’
The objectives of the conference were as follows:
- To help the youth to recommit their lives to Christ and to know that success comes from God.
- To help have a positive change on the preparations and view of marriage among the youth.
- To help the youth to make decisions that will bring personal development and to trust God for personal development.
- To help the youth to fellowship with each other and show their musical talents and gifts.
- To help the youth to use their time to achieve both spiritual and academic excellence
In this conference we used preaching and presentation in groups arranged according to topics and age. We had sessions for youth from 12 years to 17, from 18 upwards and for married people. In these groups we discussed issues according to the needs and challenges of the young people.
We also enjoyed recreation and took the youth to our beautiful Lake Malawi where we had some games and swimming just to help them to relax, enjoy and learn.
The conference was very successful but we had some challenges! The main one was that the venue was too small; considering the distance some had to travel, we were expecting about 1700 youths but we were overwhelmed that the number was about 3000. This crowded the building and a lot of people slept outside for the whole conference.
The other challenge was on registration; the participants were to look for their own food and transport, and also contribute a registration fee of K1000 to subsidize the administration costs. A lot of people came without the registration fee and some paid only half the cost. This caused us to incur some debts as the cash sourced was not now enough and by the end of the conference we had a debt amounting to 450,000.00 Kwacha.
The other challenge was the public addressing system and music equipment as the amplifiers were burnt out. That was difficult because these days the youth are fond of having nice music and a good P/A system!
Also there was not enough time for everything!
As reported above we had an overwhelming attendance and the venue was not large enough. With many sessions having to be held outside, it was hard for the participants to keep focussed at times. As we plan ahead and anticipate even larger attendances, we really need our own conference centre where youths can receive ministry on a regular basis.
The time given was not enough for the speakers, teachers and even for reporting the progress of the ministry and testimonies from different youth groups. We recommend having a more realistic number of topics and more days for future conferences.
We lacked adequate sporting materials to help the youth to relax and it was a challenge to hold the sporting activities we had indicated on our programme.
We would like to thank all the members of the National Executive Committee for their commitment and financial support ensuring the conference was a success. Also Zambezi Mission (ZM) for the financial support it provided towards this conference and JLife ministries for the food items that helped the youth so much. Finally the ZEC Mitsidi Synod Office for being behind us in all the preparations and for attending the conference. That was an encouragement to the youth. May God bless you indeed.