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Seminars & Small Group Sessions

number of seminars and workshops exploring issues relevant to youth, young adults and youth leaders, were held during the Baptist Youth World Conference in Singapore. Topics for youth included the dynamics of worship leading, making Bible study “personal,” living out one’s faith in school, the church as a prophetic community, sports ministry, environmental based ministry, the role of youth in the fi ght against HIV and AIDS, and sex. Young adults and youth leaders explored

the maximization of one’s call and ministry and helping youth to evangelize and develop and live out an incarnational faith at school, college and university. Sessions examined why youth are leaving the church and how best to integrate them into the life of the church through relevant ministries, and ways to help rescue youth from risky behaviors. Baptist World Alliance

President John Upton and General Secretary Neville Callam led separate sessions on the history of the Baptist movement since its founding in 1609 and the ministry of the BWA since its inception in 1905. The sessions, however, were primarily aimed at responding to questions asked by participants. Callam informed participants of a number of ministries in Asia in which the BWA and its various agencies are engaged. These include the training of midwives in Papua New Guinea “where mothers die in childbirth because of the absence of maternity service”; outreach to lepers, who are normally shut out from their communities, in India; literacy programs in Nepal; and assistance in disaster relief in China, Bangladesh, Japan and Thailand. “God wants us to help and so we have no option but to help meet

people’s needs at home and abroad,” Callam said. He indicated that “in a number of countries, Baptist churches or groups operate hospitals for the sake of the sick, schools to contribute to the education of young and old alike, run clinics and orphanages to meet a real need, and introduce and support agricultural projects for community development.” In addition to the seminars, family group Bible studies encouraged youth from various

A delegate attending the Baptist Youth World Conference Speakers Issue Challenges continues

encouraged the youth to get their validation from God rather than from their peers. “You may be seeking validation, acceptance, value, self-worth, but God reached down through Jesus Christ to give you that validation and identity.” She declared that “regardless of how dark it gets, how bad things may become, know that behind every dark cloud, there is a silver lining.” Argentinian Lucas Leys, president of Vida Publishers, declared that Christ’s love for humanity is immeasurable. Everyone, he said, is included in God’s love. “If there was only one person in the world, Christ would have died for that person,” the Argentinian said. “Christ paid a high price with his blood because of the great value placed on us.”

Canadian Baptist pastor Dave Overholt told the throng of young people that Jesus has invited them to enter into partnership, one “between Jesus and His Father.” This partnership involves embracing Jesus’ revelation of God and sharing or passing on this revelation to others. “There is a partnership of revealing God to those he gave us,” Overholt said. “There is a partnership, God opens doors or gives us people and we speak clearly . . . we have an opportunity to reveal God to those whom God brings to us.” Edmund Chan, main speaker at the opening event on July 17, declared that “the deepest need of humanity is forgiveness of sins” and that “we (Christians) have the answer to the deepest need of man.” The answer, he said, lies in transformation, which is to become like Jesus Christ. This transformation comes through discipleship.


Chan, an evangelical pastor in Singapore, said “the gospel is

not about making bad people good but enabling those who are dead (in spirit) to be alive, waking those who are asleep, and making those who are awake, alert.” BWA General Secretary Neville Callam, who brought greetings at the opening event, urged the assembled youth “to defy the destructive secularism that seeks to push religious faith to the fringes of society” and to “let the world know the undeniable truth that faith in Jesus Christ is alive and well.” The BWA leader expressed the hope that those attending the conference, planned and sponsored by the BWA and normally held every fi ve years, will “fi nd opportunity for the renewal of your faith as you hear stories of young people from around the world whose lives are being transformed through their fellowship with Christ.”

Callam encouraged the youth to share their faith, to submit

themselves to Christ, and to “discover new dimensions of that true joy that is to be found through friendship with Jesus.”

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