Last year Jenny Gwyther was one of 30 young people to graduate from a Onelife Learning Community (OLC). She is now studying Geography at Oxford University, and reflects here about her experience as part of the OLC… An OLC is a brilliant way of connecting with other young leaders and learning about leadership. OLCs consist of a small group of people meeting up over the year either for 24 hours or long weekends; you stay in contact throughout the year and grow together in friendship, leadership and accountability. Each OLC meeting is different, and you learn about a variety of aspects about leadership, such as the way you relate to other people, how best to organise your leadership and how important character is to leadership. Between OLCs you read different books and carry out tasks that you then discuss within
More churches than ever will be involved in 2012
the group. It is such a fantastic way to learn about how other people have led in different contexts and how you can enhance your own leadership. I found that the OLCs gave me great insights into how I best interact with people especially the people that I lead, and also how to apply my leadership skills in different contexts always trying to honour God. I have learnt more about my God-given strengths and how I can best adapt my leadership into focusing most of my time on what I do best, rather than worrying so much about my weaknesses. I really appreciate the friendships that I have made. We kept each other accountable and stay in touch throughout the year which really helped in everyday life; praying for one another and talking through any leadership challenges we may have been facing. The group was amazing, God blessed our OLC
with much laughter and joy as well as the security to challenge the things that we learnt and wrestle together with any issues we may have had. I particularly enjoyed our last session where we could see how much we had all grown in our leadership over the year. We all dressed up, had a beautiful meal and shared our leadership axioms that we had accumulated over the year while encouraging one another over a number of toasts! Through the OLC I have not only been encouraged in my leadership, but I have been challenged. I have been assured of the woman that I am in God and the leadership qualities he has blessed me with. Ultimately, the OLC experience gave me the freedom to lead best in the way God has called me to lead.
@onelifeleaders Onelife Leaders
At the end of 2011 Mike Pilavachi, director of Soul Survivor, became Onelife’s patron. To get to know him a little better, we quizzed him about what has inspired his leadership, and why he cares about the work of Onelife.
What inspired you to lead? I saw other people leading well, and the difference that made in other people’s lives. Great leadership changes so much for the people being led. Seeing the amazing impact it could have, I wanted to aspire to be the best leader I could be. How did you start leading? Well it actually started without me realising I was leading. I helped with the youth group, I got to know the young people, and would pray and chat with them. I never thought that this was leading at the time but looking back, of course that is the essence of leading. It’s in slightly more formal settings later on and maybe with a few more people but a leader is an influencer and we all influence each other, so in one sense we are all meant to be leaders. What lesson in leadership did you find the hardest to learn?
I think when you feel that people have people are different to me and that is let you down. You invest in someone ok. I’ve learnt to listen to them and unand they walk away, or they mess up derstand where they are coming from. or even turn against you. That’s really I hope it’s helped me to love people as hard, but of course that’s what hapthey need to be loved and not as I pened to Jesus; Judas turned against think they should be loved. him, the disciples ran away, Peter What makes a good leader? messed up and denied him and Jesus I would say someone displaying asstill carried on. In the early days I was pects of the character of Jesus: his a little idealistic kindness, his gentleness, and serand I expected vantheartedness. Jesus encouraged the people to be diciples and challenged them in equal more perfect than measure. Most importantly a good I could ever be. If leader understands that it’s not about they let me down, them, it’s about the people they serve I would be gutted, and lead. The good shepherd lays I would take it down his life for his sheep. If you are personally and it not willing to do the same, you shouldwould hurt. So I n’t be in the role. You try, and I am not suppose its learn- saying I always do it, but you try to ing that Christian put the flock first, think what’s best for leadership is them, how to serve them and try to to about loving and listen to their hearts. The journey is as serving people important as the destination. I can get whatever the reto the destination by bullying and ramsults because God roading or I can really take people takes a long term with me and we can learn as we go. view of us, he Why have you become the patron of never gives up on us and it’s about us Onelife? not giving up on other people. It really I think raising up a generation who ashurts. It is not pretending it doesn’t pire to be influencers to change the hurt, it’s recognising they don’t belong church and the world, is the highest to you anyway. Whoever we are priority we can have. I think Onelife leading, God is the real leader and seeks to, and does do that. In Onelife’s just entrusts them to us. short existence there is already signifiWhat do you find useful in your per- cant fruit and I have loved watching sonal leadership development? the hearts of the young people who There’s been some good books over have been raised up. It’s never about the years, but to be honest in the end, position or status, but a deep discipleit’s always been other people’s exam- ship process. I want to get behind ple. When I have seen Onelife in every way I can Mike’s top tip: others leading or have and encourage young Don’t take yourself people who want to grow been led myself and too seriously but take in serving Jesus to connect then reflected on that. That doesn’t mean with Onelife. I believe God very seriously books are not helpful. I young people grow, are remember years ago reading Coura- equipped and are released into modgeous Leadership by Bill Hybels. That’s els of godly leadership through a great book. I have also enjoyed Onelife and I’m passionate about this. psychological insights such as bioenergetics — understanding that other
Business Government Family Religion Media Education Entertainment
Onelife exists to connect and equip young people to become exceptional young leaders in every sphere of society. At the 2012 conferences, delegates will take part in a ‘Seven Spheres’ session where they will have the chance to hear speakers from within each of these different spheres. The speakers will share the specific challenges and opportunities unique to these areas. The following editorials are tasters of this, offering perspectives from Christians on some of the current issues in business and government.
Irrespective of creed, culture, or relig- earning money, but rather earning as ion, if all business leaders took their much of it as possible through legitiinspiration from the example of Jesus, mate, honourable practises (Romans economies would be stronger, busi- 13:7). The more we earn this way, the nesses would flourish and the world more can be shared in advancing the would be more egalitarian. Paul Kingdom. talks about the need to imitate Christ Recognise and resist temptation (1 Cor. 11:1) and ultimately this pro- In Matthew 4, we see Jesus at his most vides the only framework needed to vulnerable, tested in the wilderness. be a godly business leader. Expo- He demonstrates amazing strength of sure to how various busicharacter despite testing nesses operate, how em‘never believe conditions and avoids ployers regulate and how what so many cannot – to employees coordinate, has your own hype’, cut corners and take the provided some principles trust in God path of least resistance, for how I try to run my own instead taking the long alone business. term view… eternity! Model ethical practice Think how an attitude like that would Godly leadership in the workplace have transformed the banking sector – isn’t about demanding that all emno competition for the acquisition of ployees do an Alpha course, but bad debt, no gambling with other peorather about modelling an alternative ple’s money… just banks existing to operational philosophy, centred on look after you and your money. Christ. It’s not about being afraid of Be consistent Joshua saw first-hand the work and faithfulness of the Lord under Moses’ leadership. When the time came for him to lead the Israelites after Moses’ death, he was ready. He honoured the edict to be ‘strong and courageous’ trusting in God’s presence, power and provision… A great leader Pete Wynter speaking at PowerPoint, a large youth ministry maintains composure
when times are tough and also when they are fruitful – fear and frivolity are equally contagious. The greatest piece of advice I ever received from a business mentor was ‘never believe your own hype’, trust in God alone. Recognise the value in mistake: Throughout the Bible we see the value of investing in others’ development; Paul invested in Timothy and many others so they could grow and continue his ministry. In the early days, I’m sure Paul would have done a better job of things himself, but he recognised that this doesn’t allow growth or longevity. True leadership only exists where it invests in the growth of others. The principles of leadership in business are the same as anywhere – dedication to the long term, delegation to see growth in others and demonstration of the values which drive us. It’s easy to see a great Christian leader in business by how clients, peers and colleagues respond to them… When you tell employees to cast their nets over to the other side of the boat, they should be willing, because they trust your intellect, your integrity and your ingenuity. Neil Costley is Director of market research consultancy, Why Research and of Scotland’s largest Christian youth event, Powerpoint. Neil will be joining us at the Scotland 2012 Conference.
In the past year, the Occupy movement has attracted global speculation. Onelife’s intern Luke Cornelius assesses it’s effectiveness, and why leadership is at the heart of the issue. Starting out as a protest of 1000 people in New York on September 17th 2011, the Occupy movement has turned into a worldwide phenomenon that primarily challenges social and economic inequality. By 20th December 2011 it had established 2,751 communities in 82 countries. Amazing though this is, it doesn’t seem to have had the desired impact of change that it hopes to bring. Could this be something to do with their premise that ‘this is a leaderless organisation’. Mayor Hancock of Denver demanded that Occupy Denver appoint a leader. The Occupiers appointed three-yearold Border Collie Shelby as commander in chief! On the whole communities run themselves with the consensus model of direct democracy, which basically means a slightly more complex version of a hands up voting system. They have a daily General Assembly in which everyone can participate in decisions by contributing hand signals in discussions. People line up to have their say and
Name: Kathryn Walton Nickname: Office Engine Favourite tweet: Only just learnt to tweet so yet to discover a true gem! Info: I became Onelife’s Operations Manager in July 2011 and I love it! I get to work behind the scenes helping plan and shape the conferences and other events whilst keeping things running on a day to day basis in the office. The role is very varied, a lot of fun and a great privilege. I also study counselling part-time at LST.
that Neil heads up in Edinburgh
Onelife’s annual fundraiser raised over £17,000. The event at Latimer House, Buckinghamshire was held on 28th January. Guests were treated to a burns night evening with amazing auction lots, including a three night stay in Marrakech.
2012 will see the completion of the pilot youthwork learning community (YLC). Thirteen churches from across the country have completed the programme. Also in 2012 we will be launching two new YLCs in Scotland and the South of England.
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marginalised groups are sometimes allowed to jump the cue ahead of more dominant groups. During a leadership discussion at Occupy LA a small group suggested: ‘leadership represents people as a spokesperson’ and should be ‘constantly rotated’. This betrays the mistrust many have of those in positions of leadership. There is a dislike of those who make decisions on behalf of others and a fear that if a leader remains in power for too long, he/she will become corrupted and abuse the power they have. The view of a leaser as nothing more than a ’spokesperson’ is also problematic. Limiting the role of leaders to spokespeople means you miss out on a lot of good that they might bring to a group. Warren G. Bennis said, ‘Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality’ something that Occupy seem to be struggling to do, with no central figure for everyone to follow, they don’t seem to be going anywhere. In contrast, other movements such as the civil rights movement in 50’s and 60’s America, under
the leadership of Martin Luther King Junior, made a difference for AfricanAmericans forever. Outlawing racial discrimination and giving them civil liberties. You might be able to understand why Occupy protesters are reluctant to have leaders; it is world and corporation leaders that they are protesting against. But unfortunately this view is limiting their ability to change the situation as much as they would like to. One thing I noticed was that the Occupy movement undoubtedly gained traction in the cities and countries they were based in. You only have to look to the recent political agenda, with all three main Party Leaders giving key note speeches on responsible capitalism to realise its now on the agenda, with Occupy's message contributing in some part to this. Their narrative however has never really been clear, with numerous members purporting to represent Occupy coming out to give often contradictory messages at various points. Without an individual or group on which to hang the group's agenda or engage with dialogue, the group often existed more as just a presence, with media coverage focusing on the externalities of the groups, such as the resignations at St Paul's in London, or the altercations with police officers by Occupy Wall street. Mike Green, aide to an MP in the House of Commons. He will be at the south conferences representing the Government sphere.
Name: Bob Wallington Personal Hero: Martin Luther King Jr. or Brother Andrew (A close call) Favourite tweet: @BearGrylls Asked My 8yr old to fill up my water bottle for me mid -workout. He came back smiling. I swigged... he had just peed in it!#chipoffoldblock! Info: I am Onelife's Associate Director. This involves developing and overseeing the OLCs, planning and delivering the conferences across the UK, speaking at various events, supporting and reviewing current Onelife programs and supporting youth workers in their locality, and much more!
Onelife Challenge 2012
Stowe and Berkhamsted school have had recent visits from the Onelife team. Onelife are currently exploring plans to develop a schools-based leadership programme, using some of the material from the Onelife learning communities.
This year’s Onelife Challenge aims to get at least 100 people to raise £100 each. For a fundraising pack of ideas and instructions and to register your involvement in this challenge, please email: email@example.com
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