Most children and youth are found not knowing whether they believe in God or not. Despite attending church with their parents, their outlook of Christianity or church is only on a Sunday where adults have the front row sits to hear the uplifting message from the pulpit. During the main service children and the youth usually sit at the back so that they do distract their parents they their own service in a different room. Unfortunately the “away from parents” services have become more of babysitting sessions rather than fun, exciting and spiritual fulfilment.
Only a few have parents who will send them to Christian camps and actively teach about God in their own homes. These are the children who can confidently tell you if they believe in God or not. Unfortunately in England not all churches are able to cater for children and youth’s needs. As such many young people grow up not knowing God for themselves resulting in them not discovering their God given talents and pathway.
Mind After Christ was started by a few young people who passionately wanted to teach and share about Jesus to their your siblings. They felt there was a gap that needed to be filled. Most those involved had worked with Scripture Union Zimbabwe in different leadership roles. They all shared a common interest in that they wanted to share Jesus at the level understood by young people. They realized that children/youth needed an environment that will teach and empower them in life skills, knowledge and spiritual growth thereby increasing their level of confidence. This way they would become good leaders in the community. The level of support and training will inspire them to show compassion to others drawing from what has been deposited during the early years.
Mind After Christ (MAC) is an annual camp for age group 13 to 17 years. MAC aims to engage with young people, teach and promote life skills such as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), Career guidance and Personal relationship with God. The vision is to see each child walk in the G.A.P (Gifts, Abilities and Potentials) that God has placed within them, and excel in their domain- Jeremiah 29:11. Its common knowledge that children watch their parents go through all emotions in church and conferences when they themselves are detached from all. Actually some of children do not know who they are in God, they go to church because it is a family Sunday routine. .
Mind After Christ started its annual sleep overs in homes as it was cost effective. After four years the objectives of the annual “sleep over” were accomplished. Thus more and more parents signed up their children and MAC grew through word of mouth. The growth led to MAC being affiliated to Scripture Union UK in 2014. With the support of Scripture Union MAC grew from 12 children to 50 children all from different ethnic backgrounds and race. As part of raising excellent community leaders, most of MAC campers are now leaders in their schools and church groups. This is evident that some have become more confident in their relationship with God. In fact 2 have become official leaders in MAC with 3 others being junior leaders with responsibilities during the camp. M.A.C UK reaches children and young people between the age groups 7 years to 17 years.
3 John 1:2 Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. Taking care of ourselves and body and mind is very important to God. Good health means taking steps to care for body through exercise, keeping clean, smelling good and grooming. Over the years there were children who come for camp not expecting to engage in any kitchen tasks or cleaning or even keeping the sleeping area neat. We held polls and the results indicated that most children found chores to be boring. They did not understand the reasoning behind the importance of being independent and helping at home. Such activities are part of the program to encourage teamwork and responsibility. Through positive reinforcement and rewards those those that return to the next camp are changed. Some parents have witnessed the change in their children supporting at home.
Health Cycle: The need to reach out to young girls and teach them about menstrual cycle and cleanliness has been in high demand. Improving personal care and hygiene especially in the 3rd world countries where girls are stigmatized is important to avoid girls having to miss out from school once a month. Unfortunately not all the girls understand or can independently manage to afford to buy their own personal hygiene items. This impacts on their interaction with the world and on their confidence. “The Beautiful Me” campaign hopes to partner up with individuals and organizations to train and supply sanitary pads and body sprays to improve cleanliness, good personal hygiene and confidence.
The focus for our boys is help them understand how the mind works. A study by Mental Health Foundation found that not only are men far less likely to seek professional support than women, they are also less likely to disclose a mental health problem to friends and family. We believe in raising leaders and confident boys/men. So teaching them to have the mind like Christ and be bold men is protecting their mind. Proverbs 4:23 “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life”.
Role Model: There is need for male role models to engage with younger boys and not only teach but demonstrate roles and responsibilities through their exemplary lives. “The Shield Me” campaign focuses on partnering up with male individuals who will teach and be of good godly example to the boys who attend the camp. Boys also need to improve personal hygiene and confidence.
This year MAC engaged an amazing and experienced lady who focused on career guidance. Career guidance seminars include teachings on understanding of the education system, entrepreneurship and children’s strengths and weaknesses.
Last but not least. MAC’s vision share Jesus with the world. Jesus commands everyone to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”. M.A.C believes in the importance of knowing God and having a personal relationship with Him. Campers learn to read and develop their own personal relationship with God through the Bible. They also learn how to hear the voice of God for themselves.
The journey of Mind After Christ has not always been any easy one. It has taken prayer, relationship building and a lot of sacrifice. Over the years the leaders and children have openly spoken life into the camps. It has taken people to keep a positive mind and attitude to make it work. Faith without works is dead and MAC is a prime example of what can be when people follow the voice of God and push on. Scripture Union, parents, Friends and Ministers have taken time to contribute to its success. MAC continues the work and believes God has a lot more in store. It will be launched Zimbabwe shortly! MT