Wednesday, December 17, 2003

SEMP dates are now online. Baltimore is July 17 - July 23. Hott.

SEMP fits in, I think, to a long term strategy in that it is awesome training for sharing your faith in the same culture, which can lead to a cross-cultural experience once students are trained and have an experience in the same culture. I took a group to SEMP in 1999, in Baltimore, right down the street from where we live. Even though we go to the Inner Harbot all the time, and that is where I proposed to D, I will always still remember talking to people about Jesus right in front of the Hard Rock Cafe.
As they say, they are trying to raise a movement of youth evangelism. I think its working. They not only teach you about how to do it, very well I might add, they engage kids in dealing with their friends back home by praying for 3 friends months before the conference starts, writing letters to them while they are there, and actually sending them on the Thursday during the week. It's pretty intense when 600 kids are dropping their letters back home in a big bin, having a huge worship service around the idea, and then praying for this big bucket that is going right to the Post Office.
Along the same lines is DCLA, put on by Youth for Christ. DCLA only occurs every 3 years and last year it was in DC, LA and somewhere in the midwest, St. Louis I think. I went for a day last summer to DCLA with KN, my young padwan. It was pretty fun, but I dont think we got a real feel for the whole event because we were only there for one day. Most of our time was spent in the exhibit hall since we were adult volunteers. In all that time, I didn't think I saw one youth missions organization that really got it, by that I mean, understood the essential task for reaching unreached people groups. Out of 8000 kids in DC for that conference, if only 10% of them got the vision for the unreached, think of that potential.
The other thing I have thought, between Sonlife and YFC, not to bash one or the other... But Sonlife has this pretty cool setup with some international youth ministries and is really focused on at least church planting where there is no church. YFC doesn't seem to really get that. YFC has a big missions arm, but most of that seems to just take kids out to experience something cross-cultural. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against growing and discipling kids, but using 'missions' to do it, when we aren't being strategic, when we haven't worked with indigenous ministries, when we haven't been able to do something that has good followup, thats where we need to start doing some missions that is strategic but also accountable. It reminds me of the statistic that 33% of short term missions trips do harm to the people they try to reach. Of course, keep in mind, I don't have ANY first hand info about YFC mission trips, just the literature. So I could be WAAAAAY off base.
Some info here on Sonlife's International connection. Plus, I think their youth ministry training is top-notch, and Biblical.

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