Behind every successful Young Life, the area is a team of leaders who long for their communities to overflow with the love of Christ. These leaders become the hands and feet of the ministry by boldly proclaiming the gospel to their young friends.
Recently, we held a leadership camp in Yaya village in Western Ethiopia. Regional Director Hirut Beressa of Western Ethiopia encouraged, taught, and poured into 72 key leaders across ten ministries. The camp, both filled and led by the Holy Spirit, gave leaders a refreshing reminder of why their kingdom work matters.
The camp began with leaders sharing their maps, trees, and lists – tools which Young Life leaders use to better strategize ministry by actually drawing out their areas of ministry, writing down the names of kids, and dreaming of who they will disciple. When going over the same work from the previous year, leaders saw evidence of the ways God had been changing kids’ lives.
Rahel, one of the leaders who attended the camp, shared a bit about how encouraging it was to see other leaders share their maps, trees, and lists,
“When area directors shared their map, tree, and list, we could see new areas, the next kid, the next town, and the next leader. It was encouraging to see where we are going next and made me want to go and develop and grow more. I now have a deeper love and trust for our team.”
The gospel reached new areas, the number of active clubs and the number of leaders in those clubs both increased, and there are now as many women leaders as there are men leaders! Most importantly, they witnessed the love of God touch and change the hearts of countless teenagers across western Ethiopia.
Hirut encouraged leaders with a message from Philippians 4:8 which says,
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. (NIV)
Using this verse, Hirut led the team in praising God for the progress within their areas as well as an opportunity to cast a vision and pray for their ministry to look like the verse in Philippians. Leaders then asked God to reveal where these qualities were lacking in their own areas and how their areas can be more true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable – all of which are qualities of God’s loving character.
Whether a leader left with a vision for their area to grow in spiritual life, or raise up disciples, or reach new places with the love of Jesus, they all left with a renewed dream for their communities to know and experience Jesus on a deeper level.
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