A Week of Transformation: Youth for Christ's 60th Youth Week in South Africa

In the heart of summer, under the scorching South African sun, a remarkable gathering unfolded that brought together 400 vibrant youths from South Africa and neighboring countries. This wasn’t just any gathering. It was Youth for Christ’s 60th Youth Week, a tradition that has been the cornerstone of the organization’s calendar since its inception. Held at the Youth for Christ Training Centre, a serene locale a mere 90-minute drive from Johannesburg, this event from January 2-8 marked the beginning of a new year filled with hope, inspiration, and divine encounters.

Imagine a place where the air is filled with the sounds of energetic kids divided into various tribes, their laughter mingling with the competitive shouts from sports fields, and the serene silence of mountain walks. Add to this mix the unexpected appearances of baboons, monkeys, and even a few snakes, creating an atmosphere that is both exhilarating and edifying. This is the backdrop against which Youth Week unfolds, a setting where hot summer temperatures do little to dampen the spirits of 60 volunteer leaders and their eager charges.

But Youth Week is much more than its thrilling obstacle courses, swimming galas, or the delicious food that fuels the participants. At its heart, it is a spiritual journey where passionate praise and worship, fervent prayer, and impactful preaching pave the way for the Lord to work profoundly in the lives of young individuals. The theme for this monumental 60th celebration was “ENCOUNTERS,” a theme that delves deep into the essence of what it means to have a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Youth Week has been a life-changing experience for many, serving as the genesis of spiritual awakenings and the deepening of faith for countless individuals over the years. It’s astonishing to consider the impact of these seven days, not just on the youths who participate but on the wider community as well. Many who have walked through this journey have gone on to become missionaries, pastors, teachers, business leaders, church workers, and leaders, carrying with them the spark of divine encounter they received.

Furthermore, this year’s focus on how these young believers can play a role in helping others encounter Jesus is especially poignant. It acknowledges the realities many face in their schools and neighborhoods, places often fraught with the dangers of drugs, alcohol, crime, and gang activity. Yet, amidst these challenges, Youth Week stands as a beacon of hope, empowering these young individuals to be agents of change in their communities.

As we reflect on the 60th Youth Week, we are reminded of the power of faith, community, and the transformative work of the Lord in the hearts of the young. This event is a testament to the enduring legacy of Youth for Christ in South Africa, an organization that continues to inspire, uplift, and mobilize generations of youths for a brighter, more hopeful future.

So, as we look back on this incredible week of encounters, let us give thanks for the work the Lord has done and continues to do among us. Here’s to many more years of Youth Week, and to the countless lives that will be touched, transformed, and inspired by this extraordinary event.

Here are just a couple of quick comments from two girls who attended:

Youth Week brought me closer to God and strengthened my relationship with the Lord.” — a 16-year-old girl

This was my first time at Youth Week… I loved the Tabernacle programs… moments of encountering God.” — a 17-year-old girl

Attendees from George, South Africa were really touched by the Lord at Youth Week and once back in George, they joined the youth club that meets after school at KIDSTOP. They’re inviting their friends. What a thrill to see the Lord working and growing this group of kids.

A few weeks ago, after sharing around the topic of dealing with failure, an opportunity was given, and eight of the youth committed their lives to Christ. Some of them are speaking up in their schools about walking with Jesus. These kids are growing and excited, and are looking forward to Youth Week 2025!