The mission of the Emerging Leaders Team is assist Virginia Baptist churches in evangelizing, identifying, equipping, and discovering missions/service opportunities for God-called leaders and in building community among Virginia Baptists by connecting leaders in networks.
What is an "Emerging Leader?"
An emerging leader is an individual of any age who is in the process of discerning the call of God in his or her life, the call to minister and serve in ways that bring glory to God and build up God's church. Do any of these scenarios describe you?
- You are a young adult in junior high or high school. You've made a commitment to be a follower of Jesus, but you sense that there is something more that God wants to teach you about where following Jesus will take you.
- You are in college and are wrestling with some pretty big life decisions. What should I major in? What do I want to do with my life after I graduate? In the midst of these questions, you are convinced that God wants to use you to make a difference.
- You are in the "prime of life" with your formal education is behind you; you have a job; you have a family. But you are still growing. You sense that God is preparing you for something new, opening doors for new ministry and service in your church or your workplace.
- You are nearing retirement, but even as you prepare to leave this particular career, you know that God still has plans to use the gifts, skills and experiences that you have developed over a lifetime. You are simply trying to figure out what that next step ought to look like.
Who is an "Emerging Leader?"
- A Person of Any Age – Many people, when they hear the phrase "Emerging Leader," immediately think of youth or college students. Young adults can be emerging leaders, to be sure. But if we restrict our thinking to one narrow age range, we're missing the point. The fact is that God works in individual lives at any age, calling out leaders to work in fields that are "white unto harvest."
- Discerning a Call – Too often in the church, our thinking about leadership focuses exclusively on professional or ordained ministry. Biblically speaking, however, the gifts of God's Spirit are much broader than that. Yes, God "gifts" or "calls" people to serve as pastors or church staff members. But God also "gifts" and "calls" people to a broad range of other ministries and kinds of service—both inside and outside the church—to advance the purposes of God's kingdom.
- Among God's People – "Emerging Leaders" are not "Lone Rangers." After all, "leaders" imply "followers." More to the point, however, the point of God's "calling out" of leaders is to enhance the effectiveness of all God's people. As the apostle Paul says, God's gifts are given "to build up the church" (Ephesians 4: 12). In addition, the gathered community of faith usually plays a vital role in helping individuals discern and affirm a call of God.
If any of these scenarios sound familiar, then you may well be an "Emerging Leader," we would like to come alongside you—providing encouragement, assistance in discerning God's voice, and opportunities to 'try on' new ministry—as you grapple with the meaning of that call for you.