Imagine with me for a moment. Imagine a conference that is more than a conference. Imagine children and youth leaders desiring to be more effective. Imagine worship that humbly points to God. Imagine challenging and powerful leadership insights inspired by God’s Word. On April 26-28 of 2013, 300 next generation leaders didn’t have to imagine, we experienced Newfoundland’s very own Next Generation Leadership Conference. This year, we were encouraged to IMAGINE the potential, our passion and God’s plan.
The weekend was held together by this verse: “[God], who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.”[i]
Imagine the potential…
Sam Luce, children’s pastor of Redeemer Church in Utica, NY[ii], started the conference out by outlining a few things every leader needs to get right. In summary: a good leader delegates, is humble and eager to serve, connects where necessary, and is priority and value driven, while always understanding that God is enough! Imagine the potential if we all possessed those attributes.
Dan Bursey, a family entertainer and Compassion advocate[iii], also challenged attendees by sharing how everyone has the potential of changing the world of poverty. By sponsoring one child at a time, hopeless situations can change into hopeful ones. Imagine the potential if we all became advocates of fixing world hunger.
Imagine our passion…
On Saturday morning, Paul Robertson of Youth Unlimited[iv], talked about the culture of today’s youth. He looked at Paul’s passion in Acts 17:16-23. Paul had a sense of concern, responsibility and gratitude, but remained respectful. Robertson suggested that we can do the same by listening before speaking, because there’s a generation waiting to be heard. Imagine if we were all passionate about listening.
That night, Dr. Marv Penner[v], talked about who leaders are. There are times when we think we have enough strength to lead on our own; however, if we don’t make sure God is at the centre of our passion, then we will eventually fill the void with pride. Imagine if we were a generation of leaders who were passionate about God being at the core of our leadership, not ourselves.
But it wasn’t all talking. Melina Dulluku, worship leader at Highway Gospel Church in Scarborough, ON[vi], led us into worship during the conference. There were a number of amazing moments of worship, including a time when everyone spontaneously started singing “10 Thousand Reasons” before she started singing herself. Imagine the passion of pure and humble worship.
Imagine God’s plan…
“Imagine a generation where God is priority #1,” is what Natalie Rogge[vii] opened with Sunday morning. She wanted leaders to know that there is a journey ahead. It’s called God’s plan, and leaders need to remember: when we feel surrounded, we need to seek God, take a stand, see how God will pull us through, and sing joyfully. Imagine if we all sought to understand God’s plan, rather than their own.
The IMAGINE theme continued throughout the entire weekend. From the humorous interludes to every workshop, “imagining what God can do” continued to be the focus. There is unimaginable POTENTIAL with God when we turn over the PASSION He has equipped us with so that He can be the center of the PLAN.
[i] Eph. 3:20-21, NIV.
[iii] danbursey.com; compassion.ca