Approximately 74% of Zambia’s 14 million population is under the age of 30, and this demographic faces many challenges including high unemployment, lack of educational opportunities, and high HIV prevalence. Even though the youth make up a significant amount of the labor force, half of youth are unemployed and unemployment rates for 20 to 24-year-olds is 5 times greater compared to older adults. Youth are also one of the most at-risk populations for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Very few youth reach higher education after secondary school and secondary school dropout rates are high, particularly for young women.
Because of the large amount of youth in Zambia and the challenges they face in their day-to-day lives, the CCAP Synod of Zambia operates youth ministry programs through the Christian Youth Fellowship (CYF) Department. The CYF Department supports CCAP youth (ages 13-35) in their faith, encouraging them to be active church members and “the salt and the light of the world” (Matthew 5, verse 13-16). The goal of the department is to ultimately transform the lives of the youth in a holistic way (spiritually, emotionally, and physically) by demonstrating God’s unconditional love and support in their lives. Missionaries from Scotland first established the Christian Youth Fellowship (CYF) program in Malawi at the CCAP Synod of Livingstonia in 1962. Its original vision was to help young people grow in their Christian faith and become effective tools for evangelism in the church. The CCAP Synod of Zambia CYF Department has maintained this original vision as well as shaped its programs to address the specific needs and challenges of Zambian youth.
For example, the CYF Department organizes presbytery and synod conferences where youth can grow in their faith together as well as discuss social issues. At these conferences, youth learn from CCAP pastors and CYF leaders about topics such as HIV/AIDS, self-discipline, Christian stewardship, and youth evangelism. Each CCAP congregation conducts CYF bible studies, which aim to be safe environments where youth can discuss their faith and how it relates to their lives. The department also organizes Sunday school curriculum and activities for all CCAP churches. The CYF Department also has around 60 acres of land near the village of Kamoto in eastern Zambia where they plan to develop a CCAP youth training farm in order to train young people in modern methods of farming and other skills, like construction, tailoring, and sewing, to reduce youth unemployment in Zambia. Ultimately, the CYF Department aims at addressing the presence of poverty in the youth’s lives while supporting their faith in a holistic way. One of the biggest successes of the CYF program is that the program has developed youth leaders who have become active members of the church. Several CYF participants have attended theological college and become CCAP pastors because of the impact the program and the church has had in their lives.
Status: The coordinator for the Christian Youth Fellowship (CYF) Department is paid. Also, the department has a partnership with a congregation located in the United States.
Youth at the CYF Department farm in Kamoto.
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