Pathways Conference helps young Presbyterians find leadership skills

Indianapolis (PNS) What are the words that you believe describe the characteristics and qualities of leaders?

For youth and young adults who attended the “Theology of Leadership” presentation by Steve Wilde, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Livermore, Calif., the following words came to mind:

Humility – Empowering – Confidence – Courage – Trustworthy

Energy – Inspiring – Communication Skills – Egalitarian – Takes Risks

Passion – Listens – Accepting – Inclusive

The July 1 presentation here was part of the Pathways Conference at this year’s Big Tent event. The conference was put together to give youth, adult youth workers and college ministry leaders the opportunity to explore God’s path for their lives.

“You are gifted. God has given you gifts,” Wilde told the crowd of about 50. “The challenge is to find those gifts [and explore] what it means to lead, to be a Godly leader to others.

“So, you must ask yourself,” he continued, “‘How does God call you and create opportunities for [you] to lead?’”

Referring to the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson’s presentation from the night before, Wilde agreed that today’s youth face an ever-changing world, one that is shrinking thanks to technology.

“We can get information like that,” Wilde said, snapping his fingers for emphasis. “The map keeps changing for you, so you must approach things in a new way.”

Wilde said there are two types of challenges all leaders face: “technological,” which can be solved with knowledge and skill sets, and “adaptive,” which must be solved with imagination and a new way of thinking.

“As we each figure out what we’re going to do with our lives, that is an adaptive challenge,” Wilde said. “Trying to figure out who God is and what God wants you to be in life will not simply happen. It’s a life long journey.”

Jessica Reid is a communications associate working on Presbyterian Disaster Assistance’s Haiti Response. She is covering the Pathways Conference at Big Tent for PNS.