Stories from the Summit: Helping Build Leaders in Africa
By Noel Kumwenda
The Young Leaders Summit that took place at Africa University in Zimbabwe from May 19-24 2014 brought a lot of changes to my life. It also changed how I do ministry within and outside the United Methodist church. The summit helped me to appreciate leadership styles, planning process, HIV/AIDS and its impacts to the youth and how I can work on holiness.
As a result of the Africa Youth leadership summit, my leadership roles as Publications Chair, Conference Vice-Secretary and in church and society positions have been simplified. In the past, my perception was that leadership was mainly driven by one-way communication and that one needs to have power and authority to lead. Thanks to the Summit, I understood that every situation requires its own leadership style that matches the circumstances.
Thanks to the Summit, I understood that every situation requires its own leadership style that matches the circumstances.
As a leader, I need to plan and set a vision for the organisation and for myself. Rev. Dr. Mike Ratliff helped us understand the planning process, which I now follow. Today when I plan, I go through the steps I learned beginning with discovering the strengths and resources that we already have, then envisioning the best that could be, continuing with constructing or designing the best that should be and lastly sustaining the best that should be.
The checklist in the planning process helps me plan for events and programs more effectively now.
Most of the time we thought there was no way forward for the HIV/AIDS. However I learnt that other countries in the north of Africa are making strong strides in eliminating the disease through strict discipline. I am now teaching my fellow youth how personal discipline can help one to stay away from HIV and fight against the virus. I learned that it is my responsibility as a person and also as a part of the church to work hard in empowering and showing love to friends that have contracted the virus.
It is my responsibility as a person and also as a part of the church to work hard in empowering and showing love to friends that have contracted HIV/AIDS
During the Summit, we also shared the different challenges that we face as youth in our Annual Conferences. I also learned that though we might have differences in languages, we are one in Christ Jesus. The cultural presentation from the many conferences in Africa helped make clear many of the things that we hold in common. Borders and languages cannot separate us from the Love of Christ.
In conclusion, the summit is an opportunity for me to learn how to lead. I also came to get to know other young leaders from different backgrounds. I just want to make a request that Discipleship Ministries should consider making a refresher for alumni to share experiences in their leadership roles and furtherdeepen our understanding of leadership.
Noel Kunwenda, from Malawi, attended the Young Leaders Summit in 2014.