Larsson calls for 2005 to be ‘year for children and youth’
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General John Larsson has called the international Salvation Army to make 2005 a year for children and youth.
The key emphasis of the year will be on mission and ministry. In making the announcement the General said: “We need to discern, in each cultural setting and in this 21st century, how we can be most effective in our mission and ministry to children and youth. This means that the lead-up to the year
2005–and the follow-up–will be as important as the year itself. The best possible result of the year will be a lasting renewal of our mission to young people that goes beyond 2005! It is therefore important that the year for children and youth has an impact on every corps and social center–and not only be a matter of territorial or divisional events.”
Key issues that have already been identified include:
- How better to meet the needs of disadvantaged children and youth in society.
- How better to reach out to children and youth with the gospel and lead them to faith and discipleship and service for God.
- How better to use existing and new ‘programs’ to attract and hold children and youth.
- How better to release the potential of youth to reach, serve and teach children.
- How better to release the potential of youth for the Army’s mission as a whole.
The General commended the way that many Salvationists are already grappling with these issues and said that much is happening around the world. “In many places it is youth that is setting the pace in mission to children and youth!” he said. “But the call is for the global Salvation Army as a whole to concentrate its focus and attention–and available resources–on this vital aspect of our total ministry.”
The broad aims of the year will be set internationally, but it will be up to each unit to focus on the aspects of greatest concern locally. Colonel Judith Houghton, mission resources secretary at International Headquarters, has been appointed resource coordinator for the Year for Children and Youth. The colonel will be the focal figure internationally for the year and will facilitate the global exchange of information about aims for the year and mission strategies that have proved effective.