Preparing for the unexpected is a statement that has been around for a while and at the forefront of every Christian’s mind in relation to the second coming of Jesus. The SEC Teens Ministries department strategically adjusted our programmes to equip the teens and tweens with additional skills on how to be resilient, how to build their confidence and encourage them to use their talents within and outside the church environment.
According to paediatrician Dr Gary Freed, “Isolation during the pandemic may be triggering new problems for some teens, but for others, the situation has exacerbated existing emotional health issues”. It was a struggle for the adults to adjust to this unexpected event, however, we feel that the teens were affected by this even more.
This became our focus, and we had to quickly adjust and re-think the way we reached out to our teens and their families during this pandemic. Lots of challenges were experienced during this time, however. Fasting, prayer and consistent commitment of the team gave us the wisdom, renewed strength, and tenacity to keep the teens at the forefront of it all. Our verse of strength was Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (ESV).
The “Breaking the Cycle” series and the Prayer and Faith Conference with various speakers, reminded our teens of who they are in Christ, remembering that they are loved with an everlasting love and that through this pandemic, Christ can still be trusted; that despite the challenges and addictions they may be facing, God is able to bring them through. Our virtual retreat was on “Guard Your Heart”, with main speaker Dr Chidi Ngwaba, continuing this theme from a holistic point of view. We were able to signpost our teens to the CCS counselling service as another way of dealing with their challenges and getting the help they needed. These were just a few of the many ways that we, as the SEC Teens Ministries team, were able to provide spiritual support and encouragement. Our social media pages were also used as a tool to engage, encourage and provide practical self-help guides during this pandemic.
Our teens and parents have been richly blessed and have felt supported because of the various ways we have been reaching out to them, including through our social media platforms. As everything is starting to return to a sense of normality, we continue with the work God leads us to. Ellen G White says from her final vision, “Now is our time and opportunity to labour for the young people. Tell them that we are now in a perilous crisis, and we want to know how to discern true godliness. Our young people need to be helped, uplifted and encouraged”.