In 2012 Coventry Diocese received funding from the Church Commissioners to run a Leadership Training Scheme for young adults attending churches in Urban Priority Areas (UPAs). The scheme exists to support and train anyone in the 20s and 30s age range who leads groups and activities at their church, or has leadership potential. Volunteers on the scheme take part in monthly Learning Communities and also have the opportunity to apply for up to £2000 of funding to run a Leadership Project, which will assist their church in growth and encourage their personal leadership development.
Training is an important element of the scheme. Participants have attended three residential weekends, each of which covered the topics of discipleship, leadership and church growth. We also have two Away Days each year which provide an opportunity for everyone on the scheme to come together and learn from each other.
There are currently 25 people on the scheme from 12 churches. All churches with participants on the scheme are applying the 8 Essential Qualities in all aspects of their church life.
All participants of the scheme can apply for a grant of up to £2000 to run a Leadership Project at their church. The idea of the Projects is to assist church growth, as well as encouraging leadership development in individuals. Here are some of the Leadership Projects that have been run by members of the scheme:
• Two leaders converted their garage into a youth space (above), enabling them to run groups for children and teenagers in their community.
• One leader took a group of young people on a mission trip to Bosnia, which had a significant impact upon herself and the young people who went on the trip.
• Two leaders, seeing a need to serve their local community, started a Foodbank at their church.
• Another leader took her church youth group on a residential weekend, during which they did a mixture of outdoor adventure activities and sessions about Christianity.
• The scheme also enabled another leader to set up a community garden in the grounds of their church. There is now a weekly community gardening group who maintain the garden and the fresh produce is given to the Foodbank.
• The scheme has also funded and supported one leader in running an Alpha course in his home.
Everyone involved in the 20s-30s Leadership Scheme is encouraged to join a Learning Community. These groups meet once a month and provide training and support for participants. The Learning Communities also provide space to share and discuss ideas about potential Leadership Projects. The Learning Communities currently meet on Monday and Tuesday evenings.
Since 2012 members of the scheme have attended three residential weekends. During the first weekend, everyone discovered more about their personal gifts and passions, and how these can be used more effectively in their churches. The theme for the second weekend was Discipleship. Over the weekend discussions took place about what discipleship is and how it can be modelled. The third weekend saw a more in depth look at leadership; learning from leadership experiences of those within the group and also different leaders in the Bible. During this weekend participants also took part in team-building outdoor challenges, including an assault course and problem solving activities.
Away Days happen twice a year in March and October and are a valuable time for all members of the scheme to come together. The theme for the most recent Away Day was Passionate Spirituality. During the day there was time for personal reflection, Bible study and prophetic prayer ministry. Previously, vicars of the churches participating in the scheme have been invited to attend the day too.