More than 50 young people aged 12 to 17 years old gathered together to learn and be in community at the “Born to Lead” summit for pastors’ children. The summit follows iLEAD, a 2018 youth leadership summit attended by 130 children from Nazarene child development centers.
Both events are part of a larger emphasis on children in the Philippines. Holistic childhood development is an important part of the Church of the Nazarene there, meaning church leadership is committed to investing in children’s physical, educational, and spiritual needs.
Jasmin Eugenio, the field children’s ministries coordinator for the church, said the Church of the Nazarene in the Philippines hopes to create an intergenerational faith community by partnering with youth in ministry now rather than waiting until they are grown. It’s important, she said, for children “… to realize that they, too, are special and called by God.”
“That’s our emphasis in the region: to equip children,” Eugenio said. “We do not want to lose the next generation.”
Dan Balayo, superintendent of the West Mindanao District, said it could be a paradigm shift for some adults. The challenge of partnering with young people begins among the church leaders. In the Philippines, the majority of the population is 24 years old and younger.
“So that’s where all of this began,” Balayo said. “They are not disciples in waiting; they are disciples in training.”
Some districts are also focusing on missions and are hoping to create systems for children to serve at other churches by helping with vacation bible schools or district assemblies. Once a year, those districts also organize domestic mission trips.
Ana*, 16, says that being together with other children of pastors at the Born to Lead summit—and other young people in general—has been very impactful because they all support and understand each other while also developing leadership skills.
“Without leaders, everything is jumbled,” she said. “We need good leaders who can understand the people.”
*Name is changed for protection.