Any Adventist in any part of the world can tell you what Pathfinders and Adventurers are. These well-established groups serve what the church calls “junior youth,” or children ages 4-15, and those who are the leaders of these groups are known as Master Guides. But what about the youth ages 16 and over–the “senior youth?”
This is where Ambassadors (ages 16-21) and Young Adults (ages 22-30+) come in–all to be led by a relatively new group called the Senior Youth Leaders. SYL was presented briefly during the youth ministries portion of Annual Council at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists on Oct. 11.
The SYL curriculum was developed by the youth ministries team, and was a project headed by Pako Mokgwane, associate youth director for the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, who served as coordinator and editor of the curriculum development. After consulting with the divisions, the team created principles direction for the program.
Acknowledging the church is facing a crisis of losing a large number of young people every year, Mokgwane and his team, which included director of youth ministries for the Seventh-day Adventist World Church, Gary Blanchard and associate director for the Adventist World Church, Andres Peralta–decided one way they could respond is to strengthen the leadership thrust and make material available to help with youth ministry in today’s overwhelming world.
In response to the growing need for leaders, the loss of ambassadors and young adults, the wave of technology, and focus on the local church, SYL has been written for leaders who wish to be involved with Ambassadors and Young Adults.
Research regularly reports that a major reason youth are leaving the church is due to relational issues. They want authentic relationships, and they want to be recognized, listened to, appreciated, and involved.