Melissa Verdugo, Americas Area Director of Operations

I feel like it’s a huge weight lifted off me and I am so excited for the future of YFC,” she answered when asked how she felt about the Pioneering Conference. Some arrived a couple of days early and stayed at the Miami YFC office. The rest began arriving in the early hours of the morning of the Conference. By the time Orville, from Dominica had been picked up that evening, we had nine participants in-person & three on virtual video conference representing ten nations where YFC is being pioneered: Cape Verde, Dominica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haití, México, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and Sao Tome & Principe.

The Conference was designed to include basic training in areas vital to creating a firm foundation of accountability, governance, and ministry skills for a developing national ministry and gave the national leaders the tools needed to implement everything they learned. Pioneering a new national Youth for Christ chapter from nothing can be a very daunting task. Most “ministry people” don’t come from a background where they have exposure to topics like organizational structure and financial accounting systems. These “behind the scenes” things can create major obstacles to achieving the purpose of our ministries if they’re neglected.

If the participants apply what they learned they should be able to have youth ministry going with a strong structure to support it within one year. They were trained in each step for early pioneering in good governance, accountability, administration, leadership, youth ministry skills, evangelism, and discipleship. When asked how what they learned in the conference would affect their ministry, a participant replied, “This will help me be more effective in my programs and the way structures are set in my nation.”

The purpose of the Pioneer Conference was two-fold. The first goal was to train the Pioneer Coordinators to develop stronger and more accountable ministries. The second goal, was the beginning of an ongoing process, to equip the national leaders to provide effective training for their staff and volunteers in their nations and chapters. The Pioneering Conference is a component of the newly designed credentialing program for Pioneer Coordinators.

To sum up the Conference, Godwin, our Pioneer Coordinator for Haiti, put it well when he said, “…if we take the systems and processes that we’re learning here, we can build something that’s gonna last for generations.” This is our desire for all of our pioneering nations.