Empowering the Next Generations
By Rev. Dr Apwee Ting, National Consultant, Assembly Resourcing Unit
It was a joy this month to again meet with Uniting Church National Conference leaders.
The Assembly Resourcing Unit along with UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer hosted the gatherings welcoming First and Second Generation leaders in two separate online meetings.
A key focus of the conversation was sharing ways to prepare, encourage and provide a platform for the next generations of leaders.
We asked Rev. Dr Jason Kioa to share his experiences of nurturing next generation leaders at the Tongan National Conference (TNC).
Jason challenged the groups to reflect on seven ways to encourage and grow our young leaders.
- Acknowledging young people, with all their gifts and sometimes struggles are part of our multicultural church. We must let them be themselves and accept them.
- The church has a commitment to make young people feel that the church is their home and that they have freedom to speak and express their diverse opinions.
- First Generation leaders of the church are trained and able to support young people. This will include both lay and ordained, men and women leaders. This provides mentorship to young people and also a model for parents as they better understand their own children.
- The church must learn to give permission for young people to try things and explore leadership in their own way.
- There is a cultural change for people living in Australia. First and Second generations must develop a hybrid identity and we must help the emerging generations learn to live across cultures, understanding and accepting each other.
- We must start moving the decision-making power to younger generations. Let young people run their own programs and let them be part of running the whole program as well.
- First Generation leaders must ultimately be willing to let go of their authority and let young people to lead the church.
Under Jason’s mentorship, the Second Generation of the TNC have come to play an important role in the leadership of the Conference. At TNC meetings, which bring together more than 1000 Tongan UCA members, the Second Gen play a big part in the technical, creative and organisational aspects of the program. There is now a sperate gathering organised by the Second Generation specifically for younger people.
During the conversation, it was suggested that the National Conferences could consider the ways they might work together to support the next generation in their different communities. We’re excited to see the possibilities of this collaboration.
We know that a key aspect of supporting the next generation is mentorship. We give thanks for the commitment and the desire among these national conferences to mentor the next generation of leaders in our Church.
The Assembly is also deeply committed to growing leadership in our emerging generations.
As members of the Circle, I invite your thoughts and reflections:
- How do we prepare leaders in a multi/cross/intercultural church and in a pluralistic society?
Join the conversation on the Being a Multicultural Church Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/beingamulticulturalchurch/