Recently I had the privilege to be part of a team who facilitated the MANI Emerging Leaders Gathering (ELG) for Southern Africa. It has indeed been an enriching experience as we explored the uniqueness of the ELG, how it relates to previous and coming generations, and how it sees itself in relation to Global Evangelisation.
Young people from various regions across Southern Africa gathered for two days in Pretoria under the banner of MANI – Movement for Africa National Initiatives. Their goal was to learn from each other, and to produce a continuous working document on who the ELG of Southern Africa is. This was done in relation to a broader strategy established in March this year when a small group of us gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to establish the Africa ELG network. The Southern Africa gathering was the first of five(5) regional gatherings that will take place in the coming months.
Although a thorough report will be released soon, I can share a few interesting discoveries:
- The ELG are creative thinking entrepreneurs that are able to create that which does not exist yet. They are not scared to take risks. They are chasers of instant rewards and prefer organic processes above structures or systems.
- The ELG generally wants to be involved rather than being mere listeners in the church. They are not mono-church based and are frequently exploring new horizons, which poses its challenges to the future of mega church models.
- The ELG thinks differently about money, although they still have the need to be self-sustainable. They eagerly explore new possibilities and many of them are aware of the conflict between trade and aid.
- The ELG has a need for authentic interaction with the older generation; a need to have a model and to be listened to. They are challenged by the amount of available mentorship that comes with an hidden agenda of recruitment. This cause them to distance themselves from established ministries and initiatives as the interests in them, as person, are often faked.
- The ELG have the ability to identify other leaders and create a platform from where they can step into their purpose. Emerging leaders don’t just follow the path, they build their own.
- The ELG are challenged with the thought as to whether existing evangelization models are still relevant and what is done to stay in touch with the rapid changing world.