This year was the second time that Pulse has run the YouLead conference, and this was the second time I had the privilege and huge blessing of being able to attend.
A whole weekend of spending time with other youth leadership teams learning about leadership, exploring community and growing closer to God? It’s a church nerd’s dream!
This year the theme was “Leading With Your Strengths: Innovation, Dreaming, Resource Sharing & Worship”. Naomi Nash was the keynote speaker this year and spoke to us about leading with our strengths. Naomi explored 12 key leadership strengths, from Listening to Envisioning, Structure to Learning, and then opened the session up for us to explore our own strengths and how we can work together with others to build a strong and effective leadership team. Naomi reminded us that we don’t need to ‘have it all’ and that leadership is about working together rather than working alone. (We also discovered how easy it is to stereotype “good leaders” as older and male. An interesting discovery that Naomi encouraged us to ponder).
Aside from the keynote, there were a variety of workshops for us to explore on the Saturday afternoon. The two I attended were on building resilience, run by Karen Mitchell-Lambert, and on self care, run by Fie Marino. I found both workshops gave me insight into how I can develop my leadership skills to be able to effectively support and nourish not only those I lead but also myself. Fie encouraged us to be brave enough to name and lead with our gifts, rather than dwell on our perceived weaknesses, and Karen showed us that by simply providing a safe space or an ear to listen we can have a huge positive impact on the resilience of the youth we lead (or anyone, really).
Worship was a huge part of the weekend. We shared together in many different styles of worship, from band-lead worship songs to acapella hymns in multiple languages, we even worshipped through dance and through breaking tiles and mugs together to create something new and beautiful. Everyone brought their own heart of worship to YouLead and we shared in many things that were new to us. I, for one, have come away from the weekend feeling so blessed for the time I spent in worship with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
The weekend was rounded off with a time of dreaming and innovation. We gathered in our different church groups to come up with ideas on connecting with our communities that we could implement when we returned back home. Pulse even generously gave a small sum of money to two churches who had dreamed up something big! We finished by sharing in communion and left feeling like we were part of something bigger, that we were supported in moving forward, and that we were blessed to be leaders in our communities.
The YouLead community is small at the moment, but we are growing and we are mighty. My prayer is that we all take what we have learnt and use it to share God’s love, heart and hope back in our home churches and beyond. I look forward to seeing you all next year!
Kristy Morgan , representing Turramurra and Roseville Uniting Churches