Exploring barriers to effective youth curriculum implementation in the Trans-Orange Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Church
Mongwe, Justice Mavanyisi
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This research sought to establish the hindrances/barriers to the effective implementation of the Adventist youth ministry curriculum in the congregations of the Trans-Orange Conference. The theological and Biblical foundations that underpin the church’s youth ministry and its curriculum ought to provide the church with a cutting edge in its youth ministry, and ought to assist tremendously in achieving the major twin goals of its youth ministry, i.e. salvation and service. Its detailed curriculum that is guided by the insights of developmental psychology is divided into four main age-specific levels: Adventurers, Pathfinder, Ambassadors and senior youth. Beyond the spiritual emphasis and soteriological intent, the participant youth should also benefit from leadership and community service development. The value of the curriculum, however, is only realised when it is implemented among the intended recipients; the youth of the church. Interviews with the youth ministry leaders from the various districts of the Trans-Orange Conference revealed a bleak picture of low levels of curriculum implementation. Expressed barriers to curriculum implementation and a low prevalence of progressive classes included: Low prevalence of qualified Master Guides and youth leaders; difficulties in accessing resources for use in curriculum implementation; unbalanced emphasis on physical activities at the expense of the rest of the curriculum content; lack of parental support; as well as priority issues emanating from church elders and leaders. It is very clear that the current praxis prevailing in the Trans-Orange Conference is not yielding the desired outcomes with regard to the delivery of the youth ministry curriculum. Given the status quo as manifested above, it becomes imperative that new ways of praxis be explored and be implemented to effect a situation turnaround. By revisiting the problem areas as expressed in the interviews, and seeking alternative approaches to youth ministry and curriculum implementation in the territory under investigation, a new model needs to be developed that must increase the prevalence of trained and qualified youth ministry personnel, that must increase the prevalence of progressive classes, and that increases levels of resource accessibility for congregational youth ministry curriculum providers and the youth in general. Furthermore, parents need to be trained and supported to enable them to be effective in assisting meeting the goals of the youth ministry as reflected in the curriculum, while all relevant leaders should also be assisted to reach a balance in the implementation of the curriculum and to assign appropriate priority to the programming and budgetary provisions for the youth ministry.
- Theology