Year of Equipping

By Wayne Stapleton
VP of Cross-Cultural Engagement & Emerging Leader Engagement

When I was a local pastor in Warren, Michigan, I felt a need to invest in the young men in my church. I invited several of them to a breakfast meeting, where we chatted about life and what God was doing in their lives. We developed regular meetings. I called them my Blokes, and for several months we met over breakfast and talked about life.

Ministry across generations is as important as it has ever been. We have seen massive generational shifts and changes over the past decade or more. The Gospel, of course, never changes, but old methods of engagement can miss new cultural developments. As faithful participants in the Great Commission, we must prayerfully innovate.

As a conference, the NAB has consistently sought to lean into God’s desire for us as a church to be witnesses to our neighbors about who he is. This has been our vision, which we have described as being a sign, servant, and foretaste of the Kingdom of God. For over a decade now, the NAB has intentionally developed and delivered spaces for training, discussion, and spiritual growth to this end. Our strategy has included Blue Ocean, Discovery, and Ethos, each of which involve training leaders and members of NAB churches, helping them to live into this vision for their communities.

In a desire to continue to extend this vision into and through our churches, members of the NAB Executive Team are planning a cohort uniquely designed to reach emerging leaders, those twenty- and thirty-something women and men who are active leaders of our churches and who will continue to serve NAB churches for the decades to come. We prayerfully seek to continue to expand our points of connection with NAB churches and leaders and deepen the learning and relationships in our conference.

We are planning three, three-month modules, each reflecting the three modules in Blue Ocean. The first will address questions of who God is and what he is up to; we want to bring revitalization and a fresh biblical vision about the nature and character of the God who wants to reach the world with his mercy and love. The second module takes on the topic of spiritual formation, as we will discuss how we are (re-)formed in God’s image; if God truly desires his people to be conformed to the character of Christ, then it is incumbent upon us as his people to really process what this means for us and those we are reaching with his good news. Module three addresses how Christian community flows from the first two; we will discuss what we are to do in light of who God is and how we are formed.

Each module will have multiple components: a book pertaining to the subject matter, Zoom discussions, and one in-person meeting. The goal of this experience is to develop and enrich the relationships of our emerging leaders, to provide instruction and conversation about the movement of God in the world and how we participate, and to deepen the preparation of our emerging leaders for the future of the NAB.

Would you consider which young men and women in your church or sphere of influence would be great candidates for this Year of Equipping? Who can you connect us with so we might share our goals and the format of this experience? When considering who should be a part journey, think of the twenty-somethings who stand out in your church context.

The application deadline is May 31, 2024. Those who are accepted will be notified in June.

We have seen God do amazing things, and we are prayerfully expecting many more. We look forward to partnering with you on this journey of transformation for our emerging leaders. We know our churches will be deeply impacted by how God uses this experience!