Youth growing leaders 2023

I’m better as a leader now. I’m rooted deeper in Christ … and I feel closer to God as a result of this course” –  Participant

The Youth Growing Leaders (YGL) course is a programme which is designed to unlock and invest in the leadership potential of young Christians in local churches.  The course itself is produced by CPAS and is run annually by Thrive in Warwickshire & Coventry as part of our commitment to investing in leadership and young people. Having been run for so many years by Andy Castle alongside local youth leaders, this year, Ryan McNair took over the co-ordinating of the course and led alongside Kate Wallis of St Paul’s Church, Leamington Spa. Here are his reflections on running this year’s course:

This year’s programme has been a real joy and encouragement as we had eight young people join us, each of them having taken the time to pray and consider if this was something that God was calling them to do. This is an important step in the application process for YGL and encourages young leaders to begin the course with an attitude of prayerfulness and discernment. Over the eight month duration, Kate and I were really encouraged by this year’s participants and their eagerness to learn about the leadership potential that God has put within them. We saw them develop friendships and a sense of togetherness, which was displayed by praying with and for one another.

This being my first year taking over the running of the YGL course, I was excited at the opportunity to play a part in helping young people discover the leadership potential that God has put within them. Having greatly benefitted from a number of leaders investing in me as a young Christian, I know personally the impact that intentional input, mentoring and learning can have on the future leader and I really believe that both the Church and the Kingdom are blessed by leaders who are keen to lead in the way that God has shaped and called them to lead. When young people are eager to go on that journey of learning, it’s a really exciting thing to see and be part of.

An important aspect of the course is mentoring, which allows the young leaders to take time to reflect on what they are learning and to consider ways to put that learning into practise with an older Christian from their own church. We are so thankful to the mentors who take the time to invest in young people in this way and are always encouraged to hear when these relationships really help the participants to grow and thrive. One mentor told me in their feedback: “It has been a joy to mentor this year and to see the others from my church go through YGL. I know that they found it to be impactful, fun and an adventure”.

At the end of the course, we ask the participants to reflect on and share their highlights from the year, hopes for the future and key encouragements from being part of YGL. Highlights included the friendships formed over the course and how encouraging it was for them to learn and grow together. One participant shared the following in their reflections: “It’s given me confidence to learn that God has a plan and purpose for me and that He might actually want to work through me”.

We give praise to God for all He has done through YGL this year and as we now look forward to next year’s course, which is open to applicants, we are hopeful and expectant that He will continue to bless this course and use it for His glory for years to come.

Pray for the young people who have just finished this programme, and that they will continue to have opportunities to lead and use their skills. Applications for the next programme are now open so pray for the next cohort to sign up!