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Micah Network Latin America Youth Conference

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Tuesday to Saturday
07/04/09 - 11/04/09
 
Cannelloni, Uruguay, Camp El Retoño

 

In the globalised world, many Christian youth are affected by poverty, violence, exclusion, and a multitude of other circumstances particular to their specific societies.  This has repercussions in their development in all areas of their lives, and is a key factor in decision-making and in lifestyle choices about how to live out their faith. 

These youth seek a space to debate and exchange ideas that enable them to explore, enrich and strengthen their faith, as well as enable them to ways to live according to the values and purpose of God’s Kingdom.     
In Latin America there is a variety of experiences regarding the involvement of young people in the church’s ministries, including evangelism, discipleship, artistic expressions, community development, advocacy, and engagement in issues of justice.  Some of these experiences have been systematized and can be used as good practices to inspire and guide others. Other experiences, equally creative, are yet to be shared and promoted within a bigger audience. These experiences vary according to the context of each Latin American country.  Nonetheless, there are many common challenges and objectives, and an interchange of practices and perspectives at a regional such as this event will strengthen the different initiatives in their work and mission.

However, most churches are not acquainted with the concept of Integral Mission and some have a very limited interpretation of the Church’s mission. If the youth do not find spaces for discussion and reflection that enable a more integral interpretation of the mission of the church, they may be tempted to restrict their faith to the sometimes called “spiritual” disciplines, such as prayer, Bible study and evangelism. These are essential to the mission of the Church; however reducing the Gospel to these disciplines will lead to a reductionism that limits the fulfilment of the whole mission of God.
On the other hand, many young people start their inclination towards integral mission due to a specific experience of service, however, if they have not been able to formulate an integral theology to accompany or give a biblical foundation to what they are living and doing, they run the risk of a disjuncture between their principles of faith and their practice.  
The convergence of these needs and concepts led to the design and development of a participatory process that involved Christian youth who are committed to and active in their communities in a space for learning, sharing and reflection on the mission of the church in order that they might be able to pass on what they learn to other youth int heir communities. The MISIÓN SMS youth conference is the first event in this process. 

PURPOSE OF THE CONFERENCE

General Objective -   To promote the commitment of the South American youth to the integral mission of the Church. 

Specific Objectives:

1. To consolidate the praxis (the convergence between theory-practice) of the youth

  • A space for reflection and exchange of experiences for 60-80 young people(4 full days of work)
  • Systematisation material on these experiences
  • A set of evaluation tools for the practice of integral mission.

2.To strengthen the role of the youth as facilitators

  • A set of awareness-raising tools (audiovisuals, brochures, music)
  • 30-40 youth become facilitators in Phase II of the project

3.To deepen the concept of integral mission through the permanent exchange of experiences

  • Experience sharing/exchange (short internships) among the youth
  • A web site for the exchange of experiences

Participant Profile:

  • Youth (men and women) from Latin America between the ages of 18 and 30.
  • Involved in integral mission
  • Belonging to and active in a faith community, working actively in their church, community and/or organization.
  • Open to learning and willing to work in a team.
  • Have an open attitude and is respectful towards the different traditions and denominations.
  • Individuals who are able leaders and capable of transmitting what they learn.

Motivation for the Conference

The conference describes a proposal that had been developed that involves a process of awareness-raising, accompaniment and preparation of youth for their involvement in the integral mission of the Church. The proposal has 2 distinct phases, related but different in their objectives and target group: 

The first phase includes a time of preparation among youth who are already committed to the work in their own contexts, seeking to maintain their involvement after this phase and into the second. 

The second phase will span the months following the conference. The objective is to develop strategies to build awareness and to spread the integral mission perspective among broad sectors of youth. The youth who attended the first conference will be supported by the facilitating and integrating group in order to work towards this end. This second part will target a larger group of youth, who are involved in service in their community, church or organisation, but who don’t yet have a perspective of the integral mission of the church. The focus will include awareness-raising about integral mission, as well as an accompaniment in their involvement. The details of the second phase will be developed during the implementation of the first phase, with active participation from the participating youth.