WHY GET INVOLVED IN HIGH SCHOOL MINISTRY?
Since 2006 I have been involved in High School Ministry through My Outreach group Africa Youth Rescue Initiative and under Kenya Students Christian Fellowship and these are great lessons that I have learnt in the field and from Mwalimu Michael Gachohi who is a great mentor in high school ministry.
65% of the population in Kenya is below the age of 18yrs. The majority of our teenagers are in one secondary school or the other.
2. Research findings. In a research a few years ago, the respondents in some urban churches in Nairobi were asked to indicate the age at which they received Christ as their Lord and savior. The final analysis is shown below.
70yrs and above 0%
50 – 69yrs 1%
30 – 49yrs 5%
20 – 29yrs 15%
4 – 19yrs 79%
Where then should we invest our time and resources as a church and as individuals?
3. The opportunity
The students are in school at least 9 months p.a and 9hrs per day for the day scholars. This presents a golden moment to share with them the gospel. I am not advocating that the teacher to use their lesson to preach (although it may be ok once in a while to mention something), rather, we should model the Christian life to the students
A teacher having 16 lessons each of 40 minutes a week, each of 40 students has 25,600 man minutes or 427man hrs or 18 man days with the learners per year. This translates to 44 days p.a. of 24 hrs each. If we do not reach them effectively when in high school, they may eventually become unreachable. We will give an account of what we did with the opportunities God gave us.
4. Cost effectiveness
The students are mostly already organized for you. There is no adverts in the media, no sourcing security etc. the cost is mainly time and some fare. Those involved in organizing evangelism meetings/crusades in churches know how costly an effective meeting is.
5. Impact on church and society.
i. A strong Christian union is very helpful in instilling values and discipline amongst the students
ii. Most decisions made in teenage are lifetime decisions. We should assist in making them decide to follow Christ. That is why cooperates target the youth in their adverts.
Many leaders in the church today, such as Dr David Oginde, the Bishop emeritus of CITAM, & Bishop Mark Kariuki of DC gave their lives to the Lord while in High School. The same applies to innumerable Pastors, Elders and Deacons. The Lord eternally bless the people who took their time to minister to those students.
6. Obedience to the great commission
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
This is not a suggestion or a request, it’s a command!
You may not necessarily go to all over the globe, but you can surely go to the world of students and sometimes preach the gospel to the world outside Kenya by proxy.
7. Getting replenished during ministry
Often one gets renewed physically, mentally, socially and spiritually. There is still the old time religion in schools. There is no sending money via Mpesa, no hype or spiritual manipulation. The Gospel mostly preached in High Schools is pure gospel. What a joy it is to see those young people give their lives to Christ, mature in Him and effectually take an active and positive role in church and society!
CHALLENGES OF HIGH SCHOOL MINISTRY
1. Spending and being spent.
You take your time to prepare and to go for the mission using your own fare, and then you meet needy students whom you may decide to support or seek support on their behalf. This is how Africa Youth Rescue Initiative was born. Sometimes it has been noted that some of the most committed members of the Christian Union are the neediest. You just can’t wish them luck! Prayer is good, but sometimes action is needed
Sometimes you may not even have the fare to go!
2Co 12:14 Behold, a third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not burden you, for I do not seek your things, but you. For the children ought not to lay up treasure for the parents, but the parents for the children. 15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for your souls, even if loving you more and more, I am loved the less.
Sometimes i have gone to places and even when they give you an envelope, it is not even a quarter of what you spent on fare or fuel. The focus is students not honoraria. Sometimes i stay for days even without checking what was in that envelop and sometimes when you do you find it is a thank you letter. But God keeps on providing for the missions.
2. Lack of adequate time for yourself, your family or spiritual nourishment.
Someone said that only those who are busy get more to do. You are a professional, a father/mother, a husband/wife, a leader in the community or church. Somehow you find your name being easily suggested in various responsibilities. This can take a toll on you, your family or spiritual wellness. In some rural churches, the time you appear in the local church, you are given the opportunity to preach, while you were going there for spiritual nourishment.
3. The challenge from the local church.
Sometimes you may be regarded as not committed to the church or may be given so many responsibilities at the time you are meant to be in school or a mission. In one of the places, I declined taking a leadership position as an elder when I realized it was going to tie me up and not be effective in both the church and the students ministry.
4. The “broken” relationships every four years. You nurture students and they become so good, especially officials. Then at the end of KCSE they have to leave. Sometimes it is not so easy.
5. The tyranny of pursuit of mean grade.
More and more time previously for fellowships/Bible studies has been taken up by extra tuition as principals, teachers and students pursue higher and higher grades. Time for creative thinking and spiritual activities is becoming less and less. I visited a private school in Nyahururu and found that candidates do not even attend the 2hr service as they do extra tuition and exams when the others are in service
6. Lack recognition.
Whereas people get honor and titles out there, no one recognises you as a gospel minister out there. If you do not understand the ministry you’re engaged in, you can get discouraged. Some in the church wonder what you do in schools and colleges.
When a CU patron of a boarding school has five hundred students who attend Sunday service, that congregation is much bigger than many churches with men and women with big titles and honor. So you can imagine those with over 1500 students like some I know.
7. Lack of support from some school administrators and colleagues. Many patrons have to dig into their pockets to support the ministry especially visiting preachers or weekend challenges.
You also find in a school with so many Christian teachers but only a few get involved. They would rather be active in their churches than be with the students, even when the patron is engaged elsewhere.