Elie could hardly wait for YFC events as a teenager. There, he formed long-lasting memories and friendships. There, he drew closer to Christ.
After outgrowing this stage, the youth ministry’s mandate still meant the world to him. He soon would heed God’s calling to serve teens as he was once served. Elie joined us as a volunteer, and then, he joined us full-time in 2016. Today, Elie is the leader of our training ministry, and he is more fired up about youth work than ever before.
“When I see the YFC teens of yesterday becoming the youth leaders of today,” he shared, “that is the best part of my job! We cannot reach all the youths of Lebanon alone. But the more people we equip, the more youths will hear about Jesus.”
Previously known as “20 PLUS!”, the Leaders in Training (LIT) program has been at YFC Lebanon since 1994. It has been a great way to come alongside local churches and help them grow their youth ministries. Over the years, the program has equipped youth leaders with skills to serve the Lebanese Church and God’s Kingdom. Throughout the yearlong cycle, the sessions cover ministry skills, spiritual growth, personal development, and significant issues concerning youth culture. To put theory into practice and gain experience, young leaders serve in YFC ministries and prepare a camp for their final project. Then, they have their graduation.
This year, as a final project, LIT trainees organized a camp for YFC Lebanon’s Manara Youth Center teens. Most of these teens come from a Muslim background. During camp, the trainees heard encouraging testimonies over a campfire. Some of the teens asked for prayer and opened up to youth leaders.
Elie shared, “The teens spoke about God as a Father during camp discussions. We had talked about Jesus’s story of the Prodigal Son, so many spent their nights telling youth leaders about their experiences with fathers—and God.”
Brandon is one of our trainees responsible for the camp’s games committee. He shared:
LIT went very fluidly. We initially studied the theories and scenarios one might face in spiritual leadership. In some sessions, we covered things like leading worship and giving talks. We listened to different speakers share about their youth ministries—Also, the best food I ever had! Amazing food! They topped that off! —Then, we prepared a camp. For me, the camp was one of the most beneficial things we had done. It helped me grow my leadership and communication skills as I followed up with others while preparing the games.
Some local churches and ministries ask us to provide training tailored to their youth ministry’s needs. Resurrection Church Beirut, for instance, has an extensive network of home churches among refugees. We started working with its youth leaders last year, and today, we are witnessing the fruit. Sanaa* is one example. When she first joined LIT, she had one or two people in her youth group. This year, she leads three groups and has helped us organize this year’s LIT for RCB.
We praise God for the growing impact of the training program in Lebanon. In Elie’s words:
“Trainees have felt God guiding them to be more involved with young people through LIT. This is encouraging to us at YFC because our hearts are broken over youth in Lebanon. I know God wants to work in people’s lives. I pray as He calls more people to serve youth, that we have the chance to equip them and keep them going.”