“Please don’t let this be the end. Please don’t give up on us. We need this training.”
“Now that people know what this is about, next year you are going to have to turn many people away.”
“This kind of investment in our young people is really what is needed.”
These were a few things we heard after our first and (hopefully) annual leadership development conference in Lusaka, Zambia. The conference aimed to help young leaders grow in compassion and discipleship as Salt and Light in practical and empowering ways.
We knew this was going to be somewhat of an experiment. But we also know that 50% of Africa is under the age of 19, with little to no leadership training opportunities being offered them. How could we NOT do this? The conference was an incredible hit, and this was affirmed by the attendees and conference speakers from Zambia.
Pictures speak louder than words. Let these pics give you a glimpse of what the Salt and Light Gathering 2017 was all about. We really want to especially thank those of you who sponsored young leaders to attend. I know they truly appreciated your love and support for them. Thank you.
We had a great group of young adults. Some in university, some serving in ministry, all considering how to live an impactful life. They asked great questions and were eager to learn and be equipped.
Setting the Tone –
We started the conference by setting the tone with worship, and an introduction on the theme of being Salt and Light. We discussed the importance of being 1) expectant 2) fully present and 3) engaged to get the most out of the next couple of days.
The Speakers –
All our speakers are amazing African leaders. They are all servant leaders worth emulating, with hearts for real transformation in their country. Their teachings were insightful, engaging, practical and really spoke to the hearts of our attendees. They so repeatedly encouraged us that what we were doing here was a great thing.
Workshops covered more focused topics such as; world view, stewardship, entrepreneurship, compassion and discipleship, and the tragic effects of the prosperity gospel.
We wanted the young leaders to really interact with the speakers and designed smaller break out workshops where they could ask questions, make comments, and focus on specific interests.
Students were given opportunities to debrief, voice their thoughts, and discuss what they were learning, giving them a voice and encouraging them to process in various ways.
As compassion and discipleship is foundational to Africa Revolution, and because we value putting into practice the things we talk about, we wanted the young leaders to get their hands dirty during the conference. We took our students away from the conference venue and into the community our staff work in and let them experience what it means to give of themselves to others.
Andrea Kaiser, AR staff (pictured above), whom has built relationship for years in this community envisioned the students with what it means to “stand in the gap” (as Nehemiah did). Then the students took a few kids each, focused on them, listened to them, read to them and played with them.
I have seen many kids embrace all sorts of volunteer teams but there is something unique that happens when young adult visitors that “look like them” show up. Their joy became contagious as the students connected with the kids. The leaders were able to translate the stories from English to Nyanja and help the kids get the most out of the story!
Two things all kids love; focused time with adults, and being read to. Seeing how the kids looked at these young leaders was an absolute highlight for me!
These young adults are tomorrows leaders, making a better future for these little ones.
Many of these young adults come from more upper class communities and confessed this was the first time they had been in this desperately poor community. Envisioning and equipping nationals with a heart and mind for compassion is strategically important to us as we move forward.
Graduation and Beyond-
We made attendance mandatory to graduate. Students received certificates of completion and various excellent tools throughout the conference, including the new Jesus Bible from Zondervan. Thanks to Christian Arts, Zondervan, the Passion Project and The Gospel Coalition for the donations of such quality resources.
A huge thank you to everyone who prayed, gave, and participated in some way to invest in these young leaders! I believe we struck a chord and have found a vital need worth meeting. It may not bear fruit immediately, but most good things come after years of hard work, sowing seeds, investing, patience and walking with others. So thank you for being a part of this! Please pray as we move forward with these folks. Some want to join our year long internship, others want to attend next year and bring other leaders in their team. All Salt and Light alumni are now part of our AR Salt and Light network. We are excited to begin journeys of walking alongside these young leaders to help them succeed and prevail for Christ and for His Kingdom. Please continue to pray, contribute and participate with us and we grow servant leaders in Africa.
To see more pics of the conference visit the Africa Revolution Facebook page here.
To contribute to Africa Revolution and the work we do in Africa click here or below.
On behalf of these young leaders and Africa Revolution, thank you to each person and family whom sponsored this great gathering.