One of the ways Leadership Development is happening in Australia is through Young Leaders Conference, a gathering of young leaders throughout the Church of the Nazarene in Australia where they inspire young people, and equip them with practical training and spiritual leadership insight.
According to Patrick Montelongo, District NYI President for Southern Australia District:
“This event was born out of many conversations with leaders across the Australia Southern District, Australia Northwest District, and the Nazarene Theological College around the desire for an opportunity to build relationships among our own denomination and the need for continued leadership development of our young leaders. Not only is this conference building on the incredible work of leadership development that has taken place locally and on our districts in recent years, but also as a catalyst towards fulfilling God’s call in the lives of young leaders around Australia.”
Montelongo explains the YLC Approach:
The YLC team sees that the most obvious and effective way to invest in our young leaders is to gather them together, to show them we value them, and to not fear the daunting ministry of releasing those leaders.
Gathering: We heard last assembly from Dr. David Graves about the power of synergy. That there is something unique and meaningful when like-minded, spirited and hearted people gather together. This was so apparent at YLC 2017 and know that it is a vital element of the conference alongside teaching, worship and prayer.
Value: I like to think of this aspect in relation to honour; honour each other and those that lead us. The honest truth is that our young leaders in their current social context are very busy! The young adult leader of today is juggling multiple roles, relationships and responsibilities that most would agree can lead to burnout and cause them to distance themselves from the ministry quite easily. Our approach here is to ensure that these young leaders know that they are important, they are necessary and they are loved by our Church.
Releasing: This concept is greatly difficult as a leader and pastor. To practice this act of releasing someone into their God-given calling means to not only let a young leader follow Gods prompting, but to even encourage and invest towards that vision they have received. YLC allowed us to hear from one another at a deep level what God is placing on the hearts of these young leaders and work together in how we can make these dreams possible – even when it means we may see young leaders serving in different organisations and ministries – when we constantly practice releasing our leaders, they experience a freedom in their ministry and often make a choice to serve under our ministry. I hope that this principle can influence how our leadership works across our districts.
On the first YLC in 2017:
-30 Young leaders in attendance (not including district and field leaders)
-18-35 yrs. old registered
-6 States represented
-12 Local Nazarene churches represented A range of leaders represented – Youth leaders, Worship leaders, Children’s leaders, Church board members and even some who are still looking to get involved.
-6 Sessions of teaching, preaching, worship and prayer
-4 Young leaders came forward to say they felt God put a new or fresh calling on their life in ministry
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Some of the young people shared:
“It was great meeting other youth leaders from around the country and having awesome, encouraging conversations. I left feeling so supported in my ministry and encouraged by all that God is doing in the lives of young people around Australia”
“It was so encouraging to meet with and interact with others in the same position and with the same passion for leadership as yourself.”
“The highlight for me was to meet people from other congregations and hear what they are experiencing right now in their churches and daily life, I was very happy to see young people rising up in leadership.”
“One of the highlights for me would be the session with the Southern District’s MS. That you don’t have to be at a certain age or a certain colour to be a missional leader to serve God in what you believe and another was meeting new faces for the first time. Good times and long-lasting memories.”
Last November 2018, the 2nd YLC happened in NTC Brisbane:
-30 delegates from across Australia
-Highly involved local churches supporting each delegate by financially covering flights and conference fees.
– There was a diverse group of speakers and topics, from leading teams in business, the psychology of calling, and egalitarian leadership.
– Powerful moments of shared prayer, testimony, and teaching
Here are some testimonies from the Young people that attended:
“I’m blessed to have been part of this amazing conference. One of the highlights for me is getting to know other young people with dreams and vision of the Church of the Nazarene in Australia. Seeing fellow young leaders wanting to do more for the glory of the Lord have inspired and motivated me even more. God has impressed a lot of things in my heart during the conference. A few of these are: First, continue to trust in Him and in His calling for my life. Second, have confidence in my identity in Him. Third, never forget to inquire of Him in every decision or plan that I have. And last, God will see me through, so I have no reason to doubt or fear.”
“The one line that spoke to me the most was ‘if you can’t hear God’s calling for you, you haven’t been listening.’ It was such a great experience reflecting, praising, praying, and just being in the company of like-minded young people of God.”
“The highlight of YLC for me is connecting with other young leaders who are passionate about change and progression in the church. I felt so overwhelmingly grateful to be a part of such a group and to have supper networks from all different states and countries in the church. I felt God leading me to make stronger connections and to have a heart of thankfulness.”
Please continue to pray for our youth in Australia and the leadership development initiatives in their field.