Please Support Our Historic New
International Center for Youth Ministry!

Opens July 1, 2022 at the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary


How It Started

Back in 2014, while I was still a Youth Ministry professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary here in Louisville, KY, one of my students from Nigeria asked to meet with me to discuss the possibility of initiating a youth ministry training program in his seminary back in Nigeria with the Nigerian Baptist Convention – and the Nigerian Baptist Theological Seminary (NBTS) in partnership with Youth Ministry International. He had a great passion for training youth workers in Nigeria and believed the youth courses he was taking with me at SBTS  were exactly what Nigeria needed. After several zoom meetings with the leadership of both the Nigerian Baptist Convention (NBC) and the NBTS, I was invited to Nigeria to complete the final negotiation of an initial 5-year partnership agreement between the NBC, NBTS and YMI. The partnership would begin by teaching a 3-year MA in youth ministry at NBTS for the purpose of eventually establishing a Center for Youth Ministry at the seminary to begin training local church youth leaders at the MA and BA levels at NBC schools throughout Nigeria.  In 2015 I traveled to Nigeria and met with the Presidents of the NBC and the NBTS to complete the final negotiation, and on September 9, 2015, we signed the agreement! (See picture below.)

three men with contract paper

The first class was taught by Dr. Dave Adams and myself in December of 2016. On June 1, 2019, I returned and spoke at the NBTS graduation ceremony where 22 students graduated with the First known MA in Youth Ministry in all of Africa. Dr. Samuel Olaleye was among those 22 students, and in September 2019 Samuel and a few other of our graduates began teaching youth Ministry classes at both the MA and BA levels in several NBC schools. During this period of time Samuel was serving as the NBC director of all youth and students’ ministries for the convention. Samuel’s position as youth and student director expired June 1, 2022. This important position was then assigned to another YMI/NBTS graduate, Dr. Solomon James! (See second article – Story from the Field.)

The CYM Plan

With Samuel’s departure from the NBC position came the opportunity to begin discussing his potential directorship of the new Center for Youth Ministry at NBTS, which was always part of the long-term plan. Samuel and I began discussions of this plan back in the summer of 2021, knowing that he had only one more year as the NBC youth and student ministry director. I asked Samuel to put in writing a detailed proposal for what an official Seminary Center for Youth Ministry would look like, including; vision, goals, personnel, and budgetary needs for salaries, logistics and ministry training. By October 1, 2021, he presented me with the first draft of the proposal. After making several adjustments, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was finalized which would require joint authorization and sponsorship by the NBC, NBTS and the YMI board of directors. In this plan, I proposed for a five-year financial support plan for YMI.

The MOU was then sent to the NBC, NBTS and the YMI board for approval with the understanding that YMI’s financial commitment would be accepted, and that Dr. Samuel Olaleye would be appointed as the Director of the new CYM, soon to be renamed the “I”CYM (International) since the vision was to spill over into adjacent African countries and beyond! The MOU was signed by all parties by February 1, 2022 (see signatures picture to the right.) Finally, as of  this writing, Dr. Samuel Olaleye was officially released from his NBC youth and students’ ministries director position and was officially appointed as the first director of the new ICYM of the NBTS by a vote from the faculty of NBTS and with the blessing of the NBC leadership. Wow, what a process! 

How Can You Help?

Today, YMI will begin raising YMI’s portion of the needed financial support for the new center over the next 5 years as per the signed MOU agreement. The chart below breaks down the financial support promised to the new ICYM through YMI. 

YMI has already raised enough funds to cover the initial set up gift and the first 3 months of operational support.  We are asking individual donors and churches to make one-time and/or monthly pledges for the next 5 years to meet this 5-year total need of approximately $48,000 (which includes all administrative costs.)  That is a lot of money, but now I want reveal to you what we and the Great Commission are getting for this investment for not only the next 5 years, but for the next several decades and for eternal impact. Below are the highlights of the vision and work of the new ICYM partnership with NBC, NBTS and YMI:

2020 Nigeria Total Population = 216 million (410 million by 2050) – Largest in Africa.
70 % (151 million) are unreached with the Gospel. 
47 % (100 million) are between the ages of 10-29.
77 % (166 million) are under 30 years of age. 
Nigeria will soon be the 3rd largest country in world behind China and India.

Trained Nigerian Church youth leaders can lead the way to reaching the rest of Africa!

Will you pray about joining YMI in raising the funds to make this dream come true? 

Please consider going to the link below to make a one time or preferably a recurring monthly donation to the Nigerian ICYM for the next 5 years! Let me know if you have any questions about this new venture to reach the millions of unsaved youth in Nigeria and Africa. Also, please pray for our new Nigerian ICYM team regularly! Thank you!

Dr. Randy Smith
President/Founder – Youth Ministry International