“Diversity is great, division is tragic, uniformity is impossible and unity is a gift.” – General Linda Bond
In a Division that spans three provinces and hundreds of kilometres of rugged terrain, the opportunities to gather together in one spot, at one time, are few and far between. One such opportunity took place late last month as Oak Island Resort on Nova Scotia’s south shore played host to the Lead Like Jesus Leadership Development Weekend.
The three-day conference included ministry/leadership related workshops, keynote addresses, panel discussions, worship sessions, and time for networking.
“In the end, we had every Corps in the entire Division represented which really went beyond our expectations,” says Major Morris Vincent, Area Commander (Southern Region). “Lots of officers, plus laity from every unit made it so valuable. There is no price tag that we could put on that. It makes all of the planning worthwhile.”
The guest speaker for the event was Major Jamie Braund, Assistant Principal at the College for Officer Training in Winnipeg. Major Braund guided the attendees through a series of addresses focused on what it truly meant to ‘Lead Like Jesus’. A sample of some of Major Braund’s themes include:
— The phrase ‘Lead Like Jesus’ is a very powerful challenge.
— Having a very solid definition of leadership and what leadership really means is so important. Theologian Brian McLaren puts it this way, “Leadership means following Jesus and leading others to follow Jesus in an authentic community for the good of the world.”
— In the New Testament, Christ says “follow me” 77 times. But what does follow mean? Here are five examples: A soldier following a captain – do what you’re told. A slave accompanying a master – there to serve. Accepting the advice of a counsellor – following what was said. Giving obedience to the laws of a city – simple obedience. Following a teacher’s line of argument – understanding. Follow doesn’t just mean blindly go and do, and it also doesn’t mean go behind. Sometimes it means go ahead, go beside or go in a group.
In addition to the guest speaker, the weekend featured a series of workshop sessions that covered a variety of topics. Topics ranged from understanding sacraments, soul care, ministry to youth and intentional evangelism, to social justice, the value of team building in leadership and mentoring and accountability.
One of the hopes of the weekend was that it would start conversations and give people a shared experience that could build greater leadership potential. It was an occasion to come together and learn from people with specific expertise as well as visit with peers from around the Division. The opportunity to be inspired by one another was something that resonated with Major Morris.
“Always in an event like this, one of the highlights is networking,” he says. “Seeing people from different parts of the Division having conversations over meals and during coffee breaks about what’s happening in their specific ministry units is so beneficial.”
From the early stages, the planning committee worked with a vision statement to help guide their approach to the event. That statement read: “The Leadership Development Weekend creates a forum where Salvationists intentionally explore their beliefs, examine their behaviours, and expect His blessings.”
Kim Wilson, a member of the planning committee from the Sackville Corps, said that the feedback she received confirmed this goal was met.
“The comments were very, very positive,” she said. “People really felt that it had been such a spiritual weekend and that they had the opportunity to really commune together. There were huge levels of engagement all the way through.”
For an album of photos from the weekend, CLICK HERE to head to our Flickr page. (More photos coming soon)