Author: Julie Gertenrich
Two years ago, myself and 30 other Young Life staff received an invitation to a new training course called the Legacy Leader Project that was researched and designed by staff as an “advanced leadership” training course.
I didn’t know what to expect, but when I got off the plane to the first training I was struck by the diversity of other YL staff who would be joining in with me in this group. Our first meeting brought me literally to tears. Senior Mission leaders welcomed us, and each proceeded to offer a heartfelt apology. The apology consisted in their realization that to be a staff person of multicultural ethnicity or a woman on Young Life staff has often been a lonely, sometimes wounding experience in our mission. They shared their frustration, wanting to change the face of leadership in the mission, and yet year after year, it continued to look the same. The Legacy Leader Project was their attempt to provide training and preparation to be able to launch us to advance. For me, the honesty of this conversation was worth the price of admission. To me it signaled a new day had dawned for us in the mission of Young Life.
We started with a two- day training on the spirituality of the Enneagram Personality Test. It has been one of the most significant tools for self-awareness and growth in my whole faith life. Rather than a static assessment tool, within the Enneagram there is both movement for health or disintegration and I can finally understand others who are wired differently. It has been huge not only for self-understanding, but as a way to understand others.
The Legacy Leader training team alone was stellar. We also spent time with Christena Cleveland, Ruth Haley Barton, and Shane Claiborne. We played a ministry version of Shark Tank where we entered into a competition to win grant money for ministry projects. In the end, we were each given a $2,500 grant for a ministry project to grow and match at home in our areas. I was able to grow my $2500 grant to $30k for a leadership pipeline and Staff Associate in my area, through prayer and sharing vision.
In a mission with leadership that doesn’t look or act like you, it's hard. It’s hard to see yourself sticking around for long, to believe you belong, and to see your longterm value in the mission. The Legacy Leader Project was a loud statement to me: “We believe in you. You belong. We value your voice."
Many of us in this first cohort have recently taken jobs as Regional Directors or Associate AD's. I just was hired as Metro Director myself. Through Legacy Leader training, I am walking into this role equipped with tools and confidence! I want to be known for my leadership, my heart for Christ and kids, and my development of others. As you have conversations with your supervisor regarding your development, ask if they can submit your name to receive an invitation to be a part of Legacy Leader Project.