Catholics have their World Youth Day every 2 or 3 years attended by millions. Inspired by this, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) is currently planning a similar event for evangelicals and Protestants: the first Jesus Global Youth Day (JGYD) to be held in August 2018.
A preparatory meeting was held last Friday, April 21, at the CCF Center in Ortigas. Presided by Bishop Ephraim Tendero, Secretary General of WEA, the early-stage preparatory meeting was attended by around 60 delegates from various churches and para-church organizations.
Jesus Global Youth Day has a purpose to "host a catalytic event to rally the Church worldwide to focus on reaching and discipling the youth in their region (since up to 90% who come to Christ worldwide do so before 20 years of age), and launch a global discipleship platform to accelerate reaching and building the new generation of Christians." Specifically, the organizers aim "to gather one million youth in Manila from all over the world on the week of August 8-12, 2018 for inspiration, worship, equipping seminars, training of pastors and youth leaders on the issues affecting youth, mission trips all over the Philippines, and the climactic event on August 11, relayed via telecast to hundreds of mega-churches on different continents, and thousands of local host sites all over the world with up to 10 million potential attendees."
Youth from North America and Asia-Pacific will be encouraged to attend the Manila event, while those from Africa and Europe will celebrate the same events simultaneously in Kenya.
In the days prior to the main event in August 11, 2018, participants are encouraged to serve communities via mission outreaches to fulfill the biblical mandate to let their light shine so that through their good works, God is glorified. Churches are encouraged to review and synchronize their community service initiatives with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, as the JGYD is purposely held simultaneously on United Nations' International Youth Day.
Bishop Tendero also emphasized that the long-term goals of this event are for the youth to COMMIT themselves to Jesus Christ, SERVE their communities, and GROW in discipleship. In line with the third goal, a discipleship SUPER-APP is being developed to make growth in Christ affective, and sharing one's faith as normative. This mobile app will be made available during the JGYD.
A number of organizations in addition to WEA have already committed their support. Locally, these are the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches and the Philippines for Jesus Movement, and internationally, the National Hispanic Leadership Coalition, Chinese church leaders, Pentecostal and Charismatic Churches of North America, Empowered 21-Global Church Network, and the Billion Souls Network. Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) has committed to broadcast the event worldwide. The line-up of speakers and gospel artists that will grace the festivities are also being finalized.
Grace Communion International - Philippines, through its Missions Director Dr. Rey Taniajura, sees this as an opportunity to invite youth missionaries from North America and other GCI denominations worldwide, to come and visit the Philippines and take advantage of the event for short-term mission trips. There will be opportunities to serve communities in the week prior to the formal start of the main events, and local GCI congregations will be tapped to make their visits meaningful and well-organized.
Dr. Taniajura and I attended the preparatory meeting, and we met later in the day with ND Eugene Guzon to strategize on how to participate in this event with the rest of the Body of Christ in this open door God has made available for us.
-- By Reuel Avila, photos by Dr. Rey Taniajura.