Uzzielle Santos from Bendigo Baptist Church and Mikayla Kasie from Crossway Baptist Church shares their experience as part of the EMERGE program as they take their first steps in leadership.
Why did you participate in the EMERGE program?
Uzzielle: I joined as part of my church internship. This year is my first year leading a youth group and it’s really daunting! I never really saw myself as a leader type but I knew that I was called for it. I wanted to grow in my role as a leader and be better at relating to others so I went for it.
Mikayla: A friend of mine did the program previously and he saw thought I would be a good leader and even though I never really thought about it before, because of his high recommendation, I went for it and it’s been amazing!
What are you hoping to learn or experience in the program?
Uzzielle: It’s really important to build connections with people who are on the same journey as me. And with such a safe space where we can pray for each other and have really deep and meaningful connections, I’m excited to learn and grow even more as a person especially when it comes to emotional intelligence and learning about different personality types so I can understand myself better and therefore other people too.
Mikayla: Definitely more confidence in my leadership. We’re already learning such wonderful principles that we can apply to our personal lives and therefore our leadership too. I’m also excited to learn about how to delegate and to lead by example.
Any stand-out learnings so far?
Uzzielle: One of the most important things from the first meeting that stood out to me was how to value people. That seems like a very simple concept but it can be very difficult especially with people who we don’t normally get along with. Another thing that stood out was the whole empathy versus sympathy and that empathy is actually a choice and not something that people naturally have or not. That was really eye-opening.
Mikayla: Definitely the confidence that my cohorts have of me as a leader and how they believe in me. The encouragement, the support and the confirmation and affirmation all stand out to me.
How do you see your engagement in this program having an effect in your own church community?
Uzzielle: I’ve never spoken a message at youth group before and it may not be for a while but learning to do so and building my confidence means that one day I can. Learning all about the different personality types is also really helpful in understanding how to work in a team environment, which is helpful especially in ministry. When I was a youth kid, I was very encouraged by the leaders that I had so being able to hopefully be a role model to the girls I’m leading would be amazing.
Mikayla: I’ve always avoided the role of leadership but I thank God for my friend and for those in the EMERGE program who believe in me and have confidence in me to be a good leader. I’m hopeful that what I will learn will help me in my leadership at church.
EMERGE is a commitment of the BUV to resource an intentional leadership development pathway for emerging leaders, in partnership with local churches or agencies.