As a young SU Camper I recall looking up to my camp leaders as people I wanted to be like one day. They inspired me in my faith and encouraged me to grow and develop my skills to one day lead others as they once led me.
A few weeks ago I was reminded of my own faith and leadership journey as I led a group of young people who were the children of the leaders I once looked up to. I was reminded of the legacy their parents passed on to me.
As Christian leaders we are called to serve those we lead and to empower them to carry on the legacy that was laid down for us so future generations can be blessed.
In this year where we’ve come to expect the unexpected, I wanted to share some of the lessons I’ve learned about leading through change and equipping the next generation. I hope you find my experience and learnings helpful for you in your own journey.
Earlier this year I faced the challenge of not being able to run one of our most popular training events – an event that has been running for 40 years. Covid meant we couldn’t run the event as a ‘traditional camp’ – we had to adapt and move online.
Here are some of the things I learnt along this journey…
- It’s important to partner with excited people: When I suggested the opportunity to the senior leadership group of running a virtual program, it quickly became evident some were excited and others not. Rather than try and take everyone on the journey, I gave freedom to the group to either join the journey or jump off and what was left were those passionate about doing something new.
- Enthusiasm is magnetic: The passion of this group of leaders brought their peers on the journey. It was so encouraging to watch them bring together a team of people and show them how their existing excitement could be applied to a new environment. The leaders were not only taking an opportunity to lead but bringing others into the space with them
- Model Faithfulness: My role was to get out of the way of the programming and take on the enabling role. I was guiding a team full of ideas, my role could be to look at ways for them to outwork these ideas and then throw in some suggestions when appropriate.
- “Pressure creates great disciples”: We were doing something brand new and let’s be honest not everything went to plan. What was so encouraging is that along the entire journey, everyone was willing to adapt to change and accept there would be some bumps in the process. Mark Sayers says “Pressure creates great disciples” and trying something new certainly puts everyone in leadership under pressure and prompts a reliance on God.
- Honour the builders: In the midst of so much change, I was challenged to acknowledge the people who built the foundation for these young leaders. I was able to invite parents and supporters of our new generation of leaders to hear their excitement about what was happening now in their young people, but also thank and acknowledge their time and leadership before that helped shape the young leaders in the room.
In a season of change, there is so much potential for us to allow a younger generation to step in and be the leaders of something new. My experience of the last three months is there is great fruit in getting out of their way and guiding them on their journey.
About the author…
Beavs is a former High School Maths and Christian Education Teacher who has been working and volunteering with SU QLD Camps for almost 20 years. As Camps Specialist he supports volunteers and chaplains run camps and community outreach events throughout Queensland, reaching over 4500 young people. Beavs is married with 3 children, and loves coffee and watching sport.