The Rev. Dr. John G. Innis, Resident Bishop of the Liberia Area of the United Methodist Church is challenging adult leaders of the church to see young people as an important part of the church. “Let us value young people in all that we do in this church and state,” Bishop Innis declared. The Bishop’s declaration was contained in his keynote address delivered at the United Methodist Church Young People’s Development Seminar on March 20, 2013, at the S. T. Nagbe Retreat Center in White Plains, Montserrado County, Liberia.
Bishop Innis said that for too long the young people of the church have been despised and regarded as troublemakers by the adult population of the United Methodist Church of Liberia. “It is now time that we start loving them and teaching them about the church we intend to leave with them,” the Bishop asserted. Speaking on the theme, “Know the Church You Will Lead Tomorrow,” the Episcopal Leader of UMC Liberia urged clergy of the church to work collaboratively with the young people in order to move the church forward in a positive way. He reiterated that the training has been his long-held vision for the young people of the church.
Bishop Innis also called on the young people to learn to understand the church that they will lead tomorrow. He emphasized that it is time that young people reflect inwardly to deal with those vices that will impede their involvement in the development and growth of the United Methodist Church of Liberia. In an apparent reference to the young people attending the training, Bishop Innis added, “We want this nation (Liberia) to be built on this rock.”
The head of UMC Liberia further urged leaders of the young people’s ministry to provide the time and space for learning in order to enhance the understanding of their members. “We recognize the impact of the war on our young people, so we need to stand with them as we move this church forward,” the Bishop concluded.
The Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, S. Edward Harmon, said that the church and the state need to make good their promise to the young people by making available resources that will enhance learning. “If we need effective and efficient leaders for this church and nation tomorrow, the time to act on our desire in now,” Director Harmon said.
The training is sponsored by the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) based in the United States and other philanthropic Liberians. The workshop will last for four days (March 20-24, 2013).