LEAD: Educate > Empower > Encourage >
“Our purpose is to facilitate a culture of discipleship that radically empowers lay leaders to creatively respond to God’s calling.”
—Lay Leadership Vision Statement
For the past eight years, we have gathered in conjunction with the Old Orchard Beach (OOB) Camp Meetings for LEAD. It is a week for current and emerging local leaders from across the Eastern Territory to come together for worship, receive specialized training, and participate in engaging discussion–based workshops that educate, empower, and encourage local leaders to creatively respond to God’s calling
in their communities.
During the past two years, we have expanded the conversation beyond an annual week at OOB to include the other 51 weeks of the year. Leadership development is becoming less a programmatic activity and more a continual and open–ended creative process.
This past year, we asked delegates, “How were you challenged?” and “What did you learn that could be readily applied to ministry in your corps?” We also asked them, “Did you experience a ‘light bulb’ moment?” As well as, “What advice can you share with other lay leaders?” Here are a few responses.
“This week, I was challenged through the teaching in chapel services that helped me examine my prayer life. I was also stretched to recognize the spiritual gifts of other people and to recognize the differences in their spiritual language. Not everyone speaks my language and I’m not going to speak everyone else’s. For example, someone in our class said God speaks to them through visions and dreams. I would never imagine that for myself, but learning to be sensitive to God moving that way in her life is important. Hearing her share and try to understand caused me to examine my own life and be open and sensitive to other possibilities.” — Bryan Cook, Aliquippa, Pa., Corps
“One ‘light bulb’ moment for me was to realize that as a worship leader at my corps, trying to do everything can sometimes be too much for me. Skilled leaders delegate work to other people. If I can’t handle everything involved, I must try to get help in one small part. I must empower other leaders. Sometimes I have to swallow my pride and accept God’s help by asking people to come alongside me. It is part of looking inward. I need that help and humility.” — James Cox, Brockton, Mass., Corps
“As I look back on the week, I came to a realization on the first day. I don’t care if I leave here learning anything else. On Monday, in the Deeper Discipleship session we talked about having faith in ourselves. We learned how to deal with ‘the winds’ that swirl around, just like Peter did in the boat before walking out to Jesus. At times, we must change what we are trying to do when our plan isn’t working out.
“As I try to create better situations for people, I realize sometimes I can’t. But I mustn’t allow disappointment to consume me. Focusing on ‘the wind’ can distract me. I must simply take the time to center myself and focus.
“The application for me is, as I help people, I must teach them, one item at a time. I’m not sure I am saying it right, but I know what it means to me. This lesson will change how I interact with people moving forward.” — Denise Dupigny, Troy, N.Y., Corps
“I felt prompted to speak to my corps officer about doing more. But fear held me back. I didn’t even want to ask. I was already working at another job and stepping out in faith. The idea of giving more was scary.
“This week, God laid it on my heart to finally have a conversation about doing more. When I did, she asked, ‘Why were you so scared?’ The conversation went well and I knew that I had done the right thing.
“My advice is, if you feel strongly about something, pray. Be sincere, then step out and follow through in faith. Having the time this week to focus and reflect made a difference in helping me take this step. Slow down and the answer will come.” — Keri Guzman, Rochester, N.Y., Corps
by Chip Kelly
—The Eastern Territory’s new LEAD director is Isaiah Allen. His column will appear in the July/August issue (of the magazine).