On New Year’s Eve, Treib Heining has led a team of 100 or more volunteers dropping thousands of pounds of confetti from skyscrapers in New York twenty seconds before midnight for over thirty years. The moment the confetti blizzard begins, it feels like magic, and on a windy night, the confetti can spread to every part of the city. When urban change agents like you collaborate for a common cause, and God breathes on your effort, it creates magical life-altering moments and reaches your entire city.
The start of a new year brings new possibilities and a fresh look at opportunity. This past January, we gathered our Fuel Network Leaders for a weekend intensive in Los Angeles. Our goal was to enjoy great fellowship and strategize for the new year. Before we dove into planning meetings and procedural items, all of our Fuel Network Leaders, staff from UYWI, and DVULI Communications Director Gerald Bell met in the home of UYWI CEO Tommy Nixon.
After a long day of flying, sharing a meal, some stories, and big laughs was the perfect way to prepare for the next full training day. Great work is ahead for our ten Fuel Network Leaders, but it begins with the community.Meet the Fuel Network Leaders:
Kevin Lapierre – New YorkThomas Brackeen – DC
Jonathan Banks – Chicago
Brandon Grant – Columbus
Jonny Fine – Cleveland
Eric Myhre – Atlanta
Sean Nelson – Houston
Jeff Chupp – Phoenix
Amie Schmidgall – Long Beach
When we gathered the Fuel Network leaders last year, UYWI was looking at new office spaces. This year, we met in the new UYWI offices that also house a full production studio for podcasting. Tommy Nixon, Gerald Bell, and UYWI COO Robert Aboites led our morning sessions. A highlight of the morning was a soul-stirring devotional by our DC Fuel Network leader, Thomas Brackeen. We know that youth pastors, program directors, and urban change agents like you aren’t looking for another meeting, but you want a constructive community.
Our morning sessions focused on who we are, where we are going, and building purposeful urban leadership communities. Our charter coaches and I led the afternoon sessions that dealt with policies and procedures.According to Gallup, companies that foster teamwork have a 50% lower employee turnover rate. What does a corporate statistic have to do with urban ministry? Consistent leadership is crucial to growth and sustainability.
Urban ministry is challenging, and leading your youth alone is even more difficult. Being in a fuel network makes it easier to continue and not quit. Our focus on strategic training is to ensure our leaders have the tools they need to gather and connect leaders in their local communities, leaders like you.
The end of the weekend was just like the beginning. We gathered for a meal and gave our one-word focus for the year. I could share what each Fuel Network leader said, but I encourage you to meet the Fuel Network leader in a city near you and learn more about all we have planned for the year.My word is confidence, and I am confident that the same God who began a good work in you is riding for you and with you through it all! Stay connected. I will have plenty of stories to share about our network cities and more right here.