January 2017 saw the official implementation of the Christian Youth Development Program (CYDP) by Brunstad Christian Church South Africa (BCCSA), at the Stephanopark Conference Centre in Vanderbijlpark, South Africa. Since then the program has expanded to other Brunstad Christian Church (BCC) fellowships in Africa, namely in The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Malawi and Cameroon. However, BCCSA is the main host of the program as the facilities for training and development are readily available and a wider spectrum of skills can be obtained there.
As of July 2021, there are 27 young adults participating in the CYPD in South Africa, composed of 3 Congolese, 9 Malawians, 3 South Africans, 8 Tanzanians, 2 Ugandans and 2 Zimbabweans. Despite various restrictions due to the coronavirus and other challenges the program has faced, it is forging ahead and reaping tremendous positive results for the participants, their local fellowships and communities.
One of the most important components of the program is the spiritual development and wellbeing of the candidates; it goes hand in hand with Hard and Soft Skills training. The integration of participants into the congregation of BCCSA by their attendance at Bible Studies, church services and other activities not only develops confidence to communicate and interact with other members of the church, but it is vital for their spiritual growth. Bible studies and church services form part of the weekly schedule for the participants, where a deeper understanding of the Bible is developed enabling them to apply the gospel in their practical daily lives. The program also offers a course in English which covers the written and spoken word. This makes a significant difference to their understanding in all spheres of the course; particularly for Bible studies where preparation has to be done on a specific topic each week, this facilitates and encourages questions and discussion.
Hard Skills training covers building and construction, electrical work, technology and media, photography, catering and housekeeping, bookkeeping and administration. Participants receive on-site training on a rotational basis. Soft Skills training such as work ethic, time management, communication, responsibility for completing tasks, problem solving, team work and so on, has proved to be invaluable to the participants and to the success of the program.
The CYPD is key to the meaningful development and spiritual growth in the lives of young members of BCC fellowships in Africa. On completion of the program in South Africa, they return to their home countries as mature young adults able to take responsibility and make a real difference in their local fellowships and communities.
Below are the testimonies of several of the participants currently on the CYPD:
“On CYDP I am learning to live with others and away from my parents which also teaches me to be responsible. I have also learned communication skills and how to work under pressure. I am really learning a lot of helpful things!”
“When I started on the program, I got training on maintenance. I learned how to fix broken things and how to use different tools and machines. After that I got training on making cement pillars and paving blocks. I have also received training on electrical work, welding and painting.”
“The Bible studies have helped me a lot. I have learned how to judge myself and not blame others and how to put God’s Word into practice every day.”
Werner (South Africa):
“I am very thankful to be part of CYDP. I saw what a change it made to my friends who have been on the program and I wanted the same for my life. It really is a time where I can be filled with God’s Word and I get the opportunity to put what I’ve learned in Bible studies and church services to the test in my daily life.”
“CYPD is a very good program because it is unique. For example, at school, we didn’t learn how to be humble. This program encourages us to work hard and do what is good for others and not just for ourselves. The Bible studies and church services are also simple and easy to understand, so it helps me to overcome sin.”
“I enjoy the Bibles studies a lot because I get the chance to ask questions and get clear answers to them. The church services are also very good as they help to be faithful to God’s Word in my daily life. This is one of the reasons why I joined the program, to learn more about Jesus; this is very important to me.”
Ethan (South Africa):
“At the moment I am getting training in media. I am learning how to make music videos for children for Sunday School, 3D animation and filming.”