Dawson UMC Lead2Lead Initiative

Proposed and reported by Amy Foster, afoster@greatplainsumc.org
Dawson UMC, Wichita, Kansas (now serving in Sterling, KS)

Project Summary

Did the project go as expected?
The project did not always go as expected due to schedule changes in the students lives, making scheduling preparation and mentoring challenging.

How were people impacted through the project?
We hoped that relationships would be strengthened between all participants (children, youth, adults).  I believe that the younger children really enjoyed the companionship and relationships with the older youth; creating essential bonds that important in the life of the congregation.

In designing the Lead2Lead Initiative it was our hope that participants of all ages would have an increased awareness of their own gifts and weaknesses of their spiritual gifts.  I believe that the youth involved in the leadership aspects were given more hands-on experience, giving them more confidence and more willing to step up to opportunities within the church.  Over time, I observed the youth taking more “ownership” of the program.

Which of the 5 earmarks of Culture of Call did this project address?  How?
  • Personal Exploration – Through “hands on” and practical experience, participants were given space to utilize and discover their various spiritual gifts as they learned to lead faith based activities that included music, art, drama, story-telling, and service.  Participants also gained experience in lesson planning and preparation.
  • Mentoring – Adults mentored middle school aged youth, encouraging and preparing them for active leadership roles within congregational life.  The youth in turn, through their active leadership encouraged younger children to explore ways that they too live a life of discipleship.
  • Spiritual Nurture-All participants were an active part of biblical study, worship, and prayer through Lead2Lead activities.
  • Community Expression of Supporting Individual Calls-Participants were affirmed on a regular basis.  Participants were also given opportunities to share their experiences with the wider congregation at appropriate times in corporate worship and church leadership meetings.

What could you share about this project with others?
I strongly believe in this educational/discipleship model.  It is flexible enough to fit almost any church demographic (small vs large, urban vs rural, etc).  It also encourages the development of intergenerational learning and fellowship.  It really also helps people of all ages see the value and gifts that young people have in the life of a congregation and can hopefully make handing off leadership roles (in due time) not quite so intimidating or scary.  I see this model as a wonderful opportunity to raise up leaders and to provide volunteers in churches where there is a lack of volunteers or lack of financial resources as it can streamline educational programs and learning.  The congregation at Dawson UMC is very grateful for the funding and opportunity to explore this ministry model of discipleship.

Final Report Survey

Which of the 5 Culture of Call earmarks did you project include?
Personal exploration
Spiritual nurture
Community expression of supporting individual calls

How did you use the funds?
The funds received by the Culture of the Call grant were used to purchase curriculum and supplies for the "Lead to Lead Initiative" at Dawson UMC, Wichita.

Will the project that you undertook be continued?  How?
I am hopeful that this project/initiative will continue during the 2018-2019 School year.  I am hopeful that adjustments have been made in the current church budget for this program to stand on its own.

How did this project cultivate a culture of call in your church or district?
This project gave young people in our congregation an opportunity to learn leadership skills and also to grow to realize that they are quite capable of sharing their faith with persons of all ages.  The curriculum integrated multi-sensory learning so that also helped the young people discern some of their own God given strengths and gifts.

Who was the primary audience of your project?

Is there anything else you would like for us to know about your project?
The congregation at Dawson UMC is very grateful for the funding and opportunity to explore this ministry model of discipleship.

You can contact Amy via e-mail:  afoster@greatplainsumc.org