Leadership Experience 2018

“Leadership Experience (LE) is a chance to step back from the front line and to look at the Big Picture of God’s kingdom in the world and how we are called to operate in it as advocates for children as agents of transformation.”

This article is written by Wendy Strachan (GCF Leadership Experience)

Just a dream?

10 years ago, three people from three different child-focussed agencies mused about working together to provide quality leadership development for experienced children’s ministry practitioners from local churches to global organisations.

It seemed a faraway dream.

But God is in the business of turning dreams into realities – and in 2016, the first Global Children’s Forum (GCF) Leadership Experience was launched: the collaborative efforts of many agencies and churches.

And now in 2018

The five-week residential section of the GCF Leadership Experience took place at Shikwaru Lodge in South Africa from February 18-March 24.

At its heart, LE is people. 18 children’s ministry leaders from 17 countries: from Brazil to Estonia, Australia to Burkina Faso, and Albania to Haiti. Together we listened to God, shared our experiences, prayed for one another and for our broken world, and learned from expert leaders in children’s ministry who stretched our thinking and provided new perspectives.

LE 2018 began two months earlier as participants prepared by listening to the hopes and concerns of kids in their communities. This provided the background to the over-arching LE theme: God’s Big Story of bringing wholeness from brokenness. This theme was explored through four tracks:

  • Biblical Foundations: God’s place for children in his Kingdom-building
  • Understanding the context of children: with special attention to vulnerable children
  • Faith Formation: transformational discipling through church, family and community
  • Leadership: thinking creatively about leadership practice, with a focus on collaboration.

Add to this the amazing hosting by Reaching a Generation, the intimate sharing of community groups, the great times spent with local children, the excitement of an ostrich hunt, the quietness of a solo day in the bush, the fun of game drives, the wonder of starry skies and the ‘oasis’ of deep spiritual refreshment. It was an exceptional time!

The LE 2018 community continues as each participant now works on their Ministry Project, engages in online forums and is mentored by a local leader. And then in December: online Graduation!

A wider vision

Three of the participants from LE 2016 were on the Facilitation Team for LE 2018. Several more are becoming active participants in the Global Children’s Forum.

This is our wider dream: a growing cadre of experienced children’s practitioners around the world, who are equipped to take their place as regional and global leaders, and who do this in ways that reflect Kingdom values of servanthood, transparency, generosity and trust.

And LE 2020 is in the pipeline….
You can watch the latest video about LE here.