YMCA Christian Leadership Conferences have trained day and resident camp leaders, child care workers, YMCA staff and volunteers. The program is designed to help people take a closer look at themselves in relationship to their own strengths and weaknesses, religious beliefs and relationships that surround them.
Each Rag and Leather has a specific challenge and is accompanied by a personal goal developed by the individual.
To put Judeo-Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind and body for all.
God places a Word in your spirit … He gives you a revelation.  Then as your life surrounds that revelation it comes to life within you. I love building capacity in seasoned and emerging Christian leaders so that they can serve God more effectively.
Understanding and living out one’s God-given calling is another key ingredient for effective Christian leadership.
Using a pyramid to represent the dimensions of Christian leadership has its shortcomings; however, one of the strengths of the pyramid analogy is that it clearly portrays the importance of the foundational layers. Participation in the program is enhanced by the use of tradition, resource materials and one-on-one sharing sessions. That revelation released into the world through your thoughts, words, and actions is your Godly assignment.  This is a hallmark, a cornerstone of inspirational leadership. You can’t read everything — know everything — do everything — and be everything — for everyone! Be wiling to assess what is right and what is wrong — what is working and what is not working. If you are not willing to make the hard decisions, you’ll never successfully fulfill God’s assignment.
As I do so, I have found it helpful to focus my energies on seven key dimensions of leadership: biblical truth, a growing relationship with God, character, calling, community, team, and skill (see the Christian Leadership Pyramid below). It is imperative that we increasingly live and lead in keeping with a thoroughly biblical worldview.


Scripture says that we have been created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand.[14] This suggests that God has a unique plan for each of our lives. We must grow in our ability to love one another deeply from pure hearts.[16] It is in the context of healthy relationships that people can build trust with each other (of course, there are other elements to building trust such as the perceived competence and credibility of others, but relational “chemistry” is certainly an important piece). Jesus taught the masses and ministered to individuals, but his primary training was with his team of disciples. We need to continually hone our skills related to important leadership practices like managing conflict, making wise decisions, developing leaders, building and communicating vision, and fostering a learning orientation within our organizations. This program also follows in line with what YMCA's strive to accomplish through their mission. We each have a position in the Body of Christ and a distinct mission to fulfill… and God has perfectly equipped us to succeed in His assignment.  All visionary leaders have to some degree recognized and embraced this charge.
Once you understand your assignment, you must focus wholeheartedly completing the tasks God has entrusted to you.  Church leaders often struggle here because they want to do everything and help everyone, but we need to focus on what our unique assignment is. The great news is once you make the tough decisions, God fills the void left behind with His grace and provision.
One of the most useful tools I have found for establishing and growing these disciplines is the Rule of Life.
I believe we will acquire these traits in increasing measure as we surrender ourselves to God, deal with sin in our lives, associate with godly people, leverage Scripture to bring about necessary change, allow trials to shape our character, and expose ourselves to opportunities that foster growth in desired areas.
In addition, the rapid pace of societal change means that leaders must acquire new competencies to increase their effectiveness.
You must listen to the Spirit of God, and be willing to change.  Effective church leadership is always looking to change things and make adjustments to stay focused on their assignment. His joy and blessing will follow you — when you walk in your Godly assignment.  The most fulfilling place for Christian leadership to be is right in the middle of their God given purpose.
A Rule of Life is an intentional plan to deepen one’s relationship with God and to position oneself to love and serve others more effectively. I use a process with my students at ACTS Seminaries that helps them understand their God-given calling, which includes life purpose, core values, and vision.[15] The process invites participants to prayerfully explore Scripture, their defining moments (which often contain God-ordained themes that point people in certain directions), their interests, desirable character traits, areas where they and others have seen God’s blessing on their endeavours, and their areas of gifting and strength.


Effective Christian leaders know that a team can often accomplish more than what team members could achieve individually. Yet, without a growing relationship with God, will we be able to reflect Him in a vibrant and sustainable way? Sharing Christian values and the YMCA Mission in all YMCA programs is emphasized with focus in three areas: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.
Similar to what Peter Scazzero says in Emotionally Healthy Spirituality,[6] I am learning that one’s Rule of Life should encompass all of life.
As people discover or re-envision God’s call on their lives, they are in a good position to determine where and how they should serve. Even though people who do not particularly like each other can learn to work together, fostering relational closeness within a team is the best strategy for going beyond team-building a loving and caring community. Since the first Christian Leadership Conference in 1974 the program has grown and now includes conferences from coast to coast. This would include practicing traditional spiritual disciplines such as prayer and listening to God through His Word, but also cultivating healthy relationships, fostering emotional health, and taking care of my body (among others).
In addition, they are often filled with purpose, passion and a willingness to make sacrifices to live out that calling.
As a part of the team-building process, it is often helpful to learn about each other’s strengths and weaknesses (e.g. I believe that Christian leaders who desire to serve in God-honouring and effective ways strengthen each of the seven dimensions of leadership in themselves and others while prioritizing the foundational elements.
The answers to these questions will help you know the assignment God has placed within you. So that we might be more effective in loving God, loving others and making growing disciples of Jesus both in Canada and around the world.



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