For over fifty years young people have encountered Jesus through the work of Upcott. One of the ways this is currently expressed is through the Young Leadership Development Programme.
Since 2021, we have run the Young Leaders’ Development Programme with the aim to train and develop young leaders taking the core issues of relationship with Jesus and His Body (the church) and work through how they impact being a leader. We are not a theological college or a leadership school. We run every session with the expectation that there is immediate and direct application in the lives of those who are part of it.
The areas we cover in the first year include:
- The supreme need of intimacy with Jesus as a leader
- Walking with the Holy Spirit and knowing His voice
- Creating a culture of honour
The programme is for those aged 15 years and up. The course is not about raising up leaders for Upcott, although we hope that will be a by-product. Many of these people already lead in other contexts and we believe this course will help them be more effective in those settings.
The course runs in small groups on Zoom, plus residentials. There are three modules per year (between September and April). Each module consists of about six Zooms and a residential weekend all together.
Each Zoom group is intentionally small, between four and six people. They meet for an hour each week. Some of that time is spent looking at the book we’re studying for that module, and some time is spent either doing some kind of practical application or reviewing how it’s been applied during the previous week. We have a Whatsapp group for each Zoom group so that the discussion can carry on during the week, and so that encouraging testimonies and prayer requests etc can be shared.
Spiritual formation is at the heart of all we do and therefore we encourage all those involved in the programme to have regular one to one sessions with someone whose passion is to see Christ formed in them. We don’t mind whether that person is part of Upcott or their local church. We see the most consistent growth in those who are both mentored in this way and part of the leadership programme.
There are some churches that have a significant number of young leaders, and we can work in partnership to provide the young leaders’ development programme within their specific context. Upcott can provide the Zoom content (including the weekends away), and the church would provide the ministry opportunities. For some churches this might look like young emerging leaders, for others it might be for existing leadership teams.
We want the fruit to be a generation of leaders who lead from a life of intimacy with Jesus, led by the Spirit, full of His love for people and operating in the gifts God has equipped them with. Although we want to be as open handed as possible, we are looking forward to the impact this will have on Upcott. Our expectation is that there will be an abundance of gifted, relationally connected young leaders operating powerfully in every area of ministry that Upcott is involved in.