Reflecting on the beginnings of the Youth Challenger
Serving the youth since 1964
Br Jaksic served the Youth Department in Australia for many years. From 1991, he served the General Conference of the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement as Youth Director for 8 years, and then as Pacific Regional Secretary for 12 years. He is currently retired, and living in the beautiful city of Adelaide, South Australia. He continues to serve the Youth Department through his counsels gained from his many years of experience. He has also written a fascinating book about his life, called ‘The Vacant Seat,’ and is available for iBooks & Nook. Please click on the appropriate buttons below to purchase the book.
Below is the short interview with Br Jaksic
This interview took place in Adelaide on the 12 November 2014
Q. Br. Jacsic, What inspired you to start the youth challenger magazine?
A. In Yugoslavia they had a youth magazine dedicated to young people. Young people could write articles or poetry or experiences, and have them published, and it was very exciting and wonderful for the young people to have their writings published. When I came to Australia, I realised there was nothing for the young people. I kept telling the brethren, we need a youth paper dedicated to young people.
I was elected to the NSW field committee, and I told Br Weymark, who was the field leader, and the committee, about my idea for a youth paper. It was accepted, and we thought what should be the name. Br Kraus came up with the suggestion of Youth Challenger, because I threw out the idea of challenging the young people. Then the question came up, who will be the editor, and Br Brittain pointed at me and said ‘You.’ I didn’t want to, as I wasn’t very good in my English at the time. He told me, ‘You can get helpers to help you make it up.’ I selected two young men coming to Wentworthville church to help me, John Duke (son of Sr Duke) & David McMahon (grandson of Br Nicolici). I wrote a circular to all the young people, and there was such a wonderful response from the youth of Australia. I wrote original articles and poems, and other young people sent in things to be printed.
The response was so great that we could not print all the things that were sent to us for including in the magazine, and it took us nearly 3 months before we could use all the things. John helped with the artwork, and Sr Weymark did the work of the publishing. It was published monthly for approximately six years. Once a month we would get together and do all the work to send it out.
Q. What was your vision for the magazine?
A. I was appointed youth Sabbath school teacher in Wentworthville church, and I saw a number of young people totally disinterested in the Sabbath school. I thought, ‘how can I encourage the young people to become interested in the lesson?’ I would ask different young people to take the Sabbath school lesson, so they had to study their lesson to take it. I thought that a youth paper would help the young people become more interested in the church. My vision was to help young people to become more interested in the church, salvation, and Christ.
Q. Do you think that the youth challenger has accomplished its purpose?
A. I believe that it has. Different generations have come and gone, and it has faced it’s own challenges, but it has still continued being effective. It has inspired the Youth Messenger, which started after the Youth Challenger.
Q. Do you have any words of encouragement for the readership of the youth challenger, online and printed?
A. Yes, I have a lot of encouragement. The Youth Challenger as I see it now is very good, and I would hope that the young people would participate and become more active in submitting things for publishing. I believe the Youth Challenger is encouraging young people to study the Bible and participate in church more. I would love to see our youth make special friendship with our Saviour so that these words may become true to each and every young person in our ranks.
“That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace.” Psalms 144:12
“The greatest want of the world is the want of men – men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” Education 57.3