“So when do we learn leadership here? I don’t see a class for that.” A student approached me with this comment after an opening workshop on theology of worship. This astute young woman had carefully perused all the materials we provided. Did a detailed analysis of the schedule for the week. Read and re-read the information about covenant groups, meals, and community guidelines for life together….no where did she find information about leadership.
How could this possibly be a leadership academy if none of our coursework, curriculum, workshops, or focus areas are on leadership?
For anyone who has ever graced the front of a classroom, led a Bible study, or simply tried to teach a child to ride a bike, you may have observed that what is taught and what is learned are often two different things. And with something like riding a bike, there are two kinds of learning. The learning of “names and process.” This is a bike. These are the handles. These are the peddles. You push them with your feet to go forward. Then there’s the learning of “riding.” And there’s really only one way to learn that. To get on the bike and ride. To wibble and wobble. Sometimes to fall. Sometimes to soar down a hill forgetting how to brake. Always picking yourself up and giving it another go. And one day, you’re riding. It becomes like breathing.
Leadership Academy takes the second, bike riding approach to learning leadership. Sure we could give young people an elaborate definitions of leadership. We could take notes in graphic organizers, create detailed analysis of leadership styles, debate the best characteristics of leaders. But we don’t. We don’t do any of these things.
Instead we support young people in learning to lead by allowing them to do just that—lead. Leadership Academy is a place for young people to be in community with other young people to have conversation about faith and life. It’s a place to create worship, to explore questions about who we are, whose we are, and how , the Bible fits with any of this. It’s a time to practice using individual gifts and to risk trying something new. It’s a time to nurture spiritual gifts for leadership through practice and reflection and safe community. If you know a young person in your church, school, or community who’d benefit from Leadership Academy, give them an application.