Nexus International currently provides training and support for indigenous leaders in 57 countries. We are committed to a Gospel focus in everything we do. We develop leaders. We emphasis the need for Biblical spiritual formation that prioritizes a healthy spiritual life through experiencing intimacy with Jesus. We provide needed encouragement, and we continually explore ways to increase the potential of local youth workers in their effort to introduce young people to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith.
As an organization our focus is on partnering with small groups of leaders so that we can focus on building deeper relationships. We take our partnership commitments very seriously, and a great deal of prayer, discussion, reliance on the Holy Spirit, and an initial visit is vital before entering into a new partner relationship. Though our methodology is similar, each partnership is unique and the practical ministry components often look quite different in various situations.
Our strategy is to identify and partner with young catalytic national leaders through practical training and long term discipling relationships. These young leaders will soon become primary cultural and spiritual influencers in their region who will shape the theology of ministry for their churches and communities.
Our goal is to equip indigenous youth leaders to more effectively evangelize and disciple the youth in their communities.We practice a “Barnabas” approach to ministry of traveling to be with our indigenous partners and coming along side them in four primary ways:
The number one issue that derails young leaders is a lack of adequate encouragement and coaching in a healthy ministry lifestyle. Our primary goal in relationships with leaders is to be a source of encouragement through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Acts 15:36 – “Let us return and visit the brethren in every city…and see how they are.” A significant focus of our encouragement is to both cast vision and help draw out vision (by asking questions, etc.) from catalytic leaders so that they can effectively cast vision to their community of the opportunities they have to reach all of the young people in their region.
We believe Jesus Christ’s primary objective in developing leaders was not to create programs to reach the masses, but rather he sought to develop the kind of leaders the masses would follow. This is why we focus on identifying catalytic leaders who have a distinct calling to lead and cast vision for full spectrum, Gospel-centered youth ministry in their nation. These leaders typically already have a humble heart and godly motivations. All they usually need is someone to coach them into a deeper and more creative awareness of what factors are influencing their situation and how to mature in decision-making so that when they choose a course of action, it will last and multiply through others. Nexus International trains indigenous youth leaders in what we call “Full Spectrum Youth Ministry”. Full Spectrum Youth Ministry helps youth workers identify and work with a young person at every stage of his or her spiritual journey, whether it be kids totally without Christ, kids seeking Christ, or kids walking with Christ. Nexus International also trains youth workers how to use outdoor adventure ministries to enhance all three areas of Full Spectrum Youth Ministry. Here are some topics on which we regularly teach:
- Theology of Incarnational Witness
- Discipleship and Leadership Development
- Spiritual Formation
- Youth Culture
- New Testament/Old Testament
- Theology 101 (Systematic Theology Survey)
- Mission and Church History
- The Master Plan of Evangelism Proclamation Events 101 (Communicating the Gospel to Young People)
Often catalytic leaders become the seed of their own destruction because through success and busyness they lose their ability to discern what God is doing and begin relying on formulas that have worked in the past. We emphasize the need for spiritual formation and soul care among leaders so that they stand upon spiritually-discerned outcomes that will produce results that get glory for God, not themselves. Exhortation is a bit of a lost art in leadership, but we take it seriously. As shepherds of visionary leaders, we prayerfully guide them toward confidently sticking to the course of action that Jesus has called them to pursue. We bump and nudge them forward and help them recognize what support they need to accomplish the work that God has called them to complete.
Since Nexus was launched in 2004, we have listened intently to indigenous youth workers in over 40 countries. We have asked them what the main obstacles are in their context to establish full spectrum youth ministry in their churches or organizations. One barrier that is regularly mentioned is the high unemployment rate for young people. These passionate young leaders want to volunteer 15-20 hours of their week to a focused disciple-making youth ministry, but many of them cannot make ends meet to provide for their families. This makes it hard to justify volunteer time if their labor is not producing enough income for their basic needs.We have come to see this challenge as an opportunity to address an endemic problem that is hindering growth in youth work around the world. Nexus has begun address this dilemma in three primary ways:
- Partner with existing faith-based micro-financing ministries (like Opportunity International) to help indigenous youth workers use their ingenuity and hard work to develop small businesses or get good paying jobs. This way they can provide for their families’ and be more free emotionally to volunteer 15-20 hours a week for focused disciple-making among youth.
- Explore developing a micro-financing and small business training program within Nexus to support young leaders who both want to work in the marketplace and serve as a catalytic leader full spectrum youth ministry leader in their community or nation.
- Look for ways to help these young leaders get the education or job skill training they need to acquire a good job so they can stabilize their family and freely give of their time to youth ministry on a volunteer basis.