IA Training Department and Youth Ministry
Jonathan Chou—Hillsborough, New Jersey, USA
According to the Book of
Revelation, a mighty angel will appear from the “land of the rising of the sun,
bringing with him the seal of the living God” before the final tribulation. He
will seal the foreheads of all the servants of God (Rev 7:1–8).
This prophecy was fulfilled when God established the True Jesus Church in China
through the Holy Spirit, which is the latter rain as prophesized in the
Scriptures. The church’s purpose is to preach the true gospel, to gather God’s
chosen people and to complete the kingdom of God in preparation for the Lord’s
second coming. Since the church’s establishment in 1917 the true gospel has
thus been preached to all continents. Today True Jesus Church services are held
in more than seventy countries.
Under the guidance of the Holy
Spirit, early church ministers not only propagated the gospel, but also
contributed significantly to the structure of the church.
During a Church Delegates Meeting in 1926 the church decided:
1) To establish general assemblies in order to unify the ministry of evangelism
2) To establish theological seminaries in order to cultivate future ministers
3) To begin publication of evangelistic material
These decisions have become the
corner stones of our church’s development.
In 1967, the first World Delegates
Meeting was held in order to coordinate the ministry of churches around the
world. During the meeting, a unified doctrine was laid out and a secretarial
department was established to facilitate global church correspondence. During
the second World Delegates Meeting in 1975, the International Assembly (IA) was
established to solely advance world evangelism.
Today the IA consists of the World
Mission, Training, Literary Ministry, General Affairs, and Financial Affairs
department, each of which is headed by corresponding directors.
IA Training Department
The Training Department’s role is
to plan, execute, and assist in each country’s workers’ training. In order to
build up a solid and consistent training curriculum and training guidelines,
the Training Department plans basic beliefs’ classes, various divine work
training and workers’ seminars as well as full-time ministers’ cultivation seminars
and workshops. The task of executing these trainings is then given to General
Assemblies (GA)/ Coordination Boards (CB) and IA directed churches according to
the respective area of administration. The aim is to systemically assist in
members’ spiritual growth, cultivate suitable workers and as a result, promote
overall church growth.
Currently, the Training
Department’s key objectives include:
Train workers for world evangelism:
Recruit multilingual youths who are gifted to serve in various areas, e.g., evangelism,
literary ministry, Internet ministry. Send them to our church’s theological
seminary to prepare them for work in pioneering regions and in other specific
Recruit current full-time ministers from around the world to provide language training
and to participate in world evangelism.
Build an online library for training materials,
collect resources from various GAs/ CBs and promote sharing of training
Send speakers to assist the training work in
various theological seminaries and youth theological seminars around the world.
Establish a formal training curriculum for
ministers’ cultivation seminars and workshops.
Assist in matters related to the Truth Research
Assist in matters related to the Youth Ministry
Coordinate IA Symposiums.
Global Youth Ministry
Youths are an important force and
resource for the work of the church. As Moses numbered the people, he recruited
everyone aged twenty years or above, who was able to fight, and formed an army
of 600,000 men. As for the tribe of Levi, those between the age of twenty and
fifty were assigned to work in the tabernacle. When David fled from Saul, he
gathered those who approached him and led them to war. Later, these people
became the warriors who established David’s kingdom.
In 1950, the True Jesus Church
began to conduct youth (student) spiritual convocations and Religious Education
(RE) classes. In 1961, a proper RE system was established, and has since been
implemented throughout the churches worldwide. This has allowed our children to
receive comprehensive and consistent religious education as well as to
establish their personal faith. In addition, the RE system has become a key
factor for the church’s continuous growth.
In 1981, the IA established the
International Youth Fellowship (IYF) to encourage fellowship and communication
among youths from around the world. Over the years, the IYF conducted several
youth theological seminar courses. Subsequently, GAs and CBs around the world
established their own national youth fellowships and started to hold their own
During the World Delegates
Conference in 2010, the International Youth Fellowship was replaced with the
Youth Ministry Committee (YMC). The latter’s aims are not only to encourage communication
and fellowship between youths within the church, but also to stir up their zeal
and actively train them in various areas of divine work, so that they can be
good soldiers of the gospel.
Basically, IA Youth Ministry
Committee members are responsible for planning, counseling and consulting in
the area of global youth servitude. They are also to assist each GA/ CB to
build up their local youth ministry and to provide channels that will
facilitate global servitude.
The actual work, however, is done
on a local level. Each GA/ CB’s youth ministry committee has the task to build
up their local youths’ faith and to provide training to them in various areas
of church work.
Training our youths does not only
provide us with workers for our local churches; in fact, there are also many
things on a national and global level that youths can do. Youths can assist
their respective GA in, e.g., missionary work in pioneering areas, pastoral
work, youth or children’s evangelism as well as remote area youth and members
outreach through Internet services and counseling.
Other types of holy work that youths can do and that can have a great impact
include, for example, compiling seminar materials, contributing articles to the
literary ministry, translation, creating information material, Internet
For this reason, each local church
should encourage the establishment of youth fellowships and ministry teams,
train their youths in areas of holy work which they are interested in, provide
guidance to them, etc.
The US General Assembly (USGA),
for example, encourages youths to attend the National Youth Servitude Training,
which is held twice a year. USGA also recruits National Youth Theological
Seminar (NYTS) graduates to participate in a pioneer missionary volunteer
program for two weeks each year over a period of two years. Once they have
completed theoretical training, the participants are required to lead services,
give sermons, lead Bible studies, go on visitations, lead family services and
do other hands-on holy work at their local churches. This type of training not
only helps to cultivate local church workers, but also raises future workers
for pioneering areas around the world and helps youths to gradually become very
effective church workers.
Lift up your
Youths have been and will always
be a major driving force in the church.
They are RE teachers, key workers in various areas of divine work, soldiers of
Christ and warriors in the kingdom of God. They will be the future pillars of
the church to whom we shall pass the baton of holy
work. The church needs to value, cultivate and train them as well as involve
them actively in church work. At the same time, the church needs to help them
to establish a correct attitude towards and motivation for serving the Lord.
Let us lift up our eyes! The field
is ready for us to harvest. God has also provided many suitable workers. With
joy I have seen many youths growing up to become church workers.
I pray that the youths in our church can equip themselves to become valuable
vessels of God. Firmly root yourselves in the truth, gain a deep understanding
of our church beliefs, and hold firm to the complete gospel. Also, keep
yourselves pure and holy, flee from the lusts of the world, exercise spiritual
discipline, be willing to suffer—and God will be with you to complete the
important work that He has entrusted to you.