Yesterday I left Abuja, Nigeria after having attended the Mennonite Church Nigeria Youth Convention over the weekend. The convention was 4 days long, starting on Thursday morning and ending on Sunday evening, but I was there just for Saturday and Sunday. There were seminars, worship services and opportunities to tour Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city. For nearly everyone who made the trip from Akwa Ibom State, some 13 hours away by bus, this visit to the capital was a first. There were around 50 participants, fewer than what they normally draw at these gatherings, because of the prohibitive cost of traveling the whole way to Abuja. The Abuja site was chosen to give a boost to the new church plant there. It was successful as there was quite a bit of interest from the community due to the convention activities.
They asked me to lead a session on “Living a Worry Free Life.” So Saturday morning I led the group through a study of Matt 6:24-34 and focused on the importance of faith, righteousness and the example of Abraham as a person of faith and righteousness. In the afternoon there was a working session where participants worked at putting together a list of recommendations that they will send to the Mennonite Church Nigeria Executive Council. Just a few of the many suggestions they came up with where:
- The church should explore new methods of evangelism that focus more on urban centers.
- Ministers should be assigned across different regions of the church instead of spending their whole ministry career in the same region, as is currently often the case.
- Children’s ministries and development of Sunday School materials should be given more priority since the children are the future of the church. Currently there is no church-wide effort to work at those issues.
- There should be more opportunities for young people to assume leadership responsibilities in the church.
The weekend was a time of intense worship, lots of fellowship and little sleep for most of those who attended. Here is a short video clip of the worship leader leading the group in prayer on Sunday morning as well as a couple of photos of the worship time.