Thinking Material

Tonight I attended 2Love Training – divisional Youth Leadership training with the Salvation Army. It was interesting to see how it differed from my past training experiences with the Anglican church. In the Anglican training I’ve been to, there had been maybe 20-30 participants, which would be representing maybe 25-30% of the congregations in Perth. At the Salvos training, there were again about 20-30 participants, which would represent perhaps 75-85% of the congregations in Perth. Obvious size difference there – and something I’m still getting used to. Of the 20-30 participants at the Anglican training, I might know 2 or 3. At the Salvos, they all knew each other. Connections, networking and relationships are of a higher significance in a smaller denomination.

In the Anglican training, they were introducing us to a new program that they were bringing in from the Eastern States, a form of running youth group that would build up the youth in the parish, and then hopefully they would bring their friends, all while preventing burn-out in the leaders. In the Salvo training, we just focussed on leadership – no specifics of what to do, but ways to find out what to do.

Now, of course, it’s far too early for me to be able to say whether one was better, or not, for in reality, they were both incredibly useful. Just different. But this training I’ve just received gave me far more to think about to help develop my personal leadership style, while the Anglican training was teaching me about a program that could work in a certain situation.

One thing that I did pick up was that identifying your strengths, weaknesses and passions is an essential part of being a leader, and identifying who has different passions is essential in building up a leadership team. You need a mix, in order to cater for all possibilities.

In our corps, we feel we’ve got a good balance between the youth leaders (though lacking in the actual youth), but our main lacking is cultural knowledge. All living outside of the corps area, we lack that local knowledge to know where the youth are, to know what the issues are. If we’re going to experience growth, this is something that we need to address.

In my blog, I also want to experience growth. For the last little while, I’ve not known what to do with my blog. In the past, I have written about my music, and my life at uni. Now that I’m no longer performing all that often, or even playing violin all that often, I need to refocus. I need to rediscover where my passions lie, where the direction for this blog will go. It is important to identify your passions, strengths and weaknesses in order to be a good leader, but it is also important to reflect upon them often, to see if they have changed over time. This might be a little bit of a challenge for me, as for the past 5 years, my passion has been classical music – though at the moment I feel that slipping away from me as I get interested in other things. Confronting as this may be, letting it go and focussing on my passions will eventually lead to growth – growth in my leadership abilities, growth in my blog, and growth in my personal self.

Big shout out to Captain Collo, who was running the training tonight. Big pleasure to meet the writer of a blog that I’ve been reading for some time now. Not exactly as I’d pictured in my head – though I have no idea why the image in my head was what it was – but great to meet him, and was encouraged by what he had to say.

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Author: Ben Clapton

I'm an Officer in The Salvation Army, currently appointed with my wife as Corps Officers at the Rochester Corps in country Victoria (20 minutes out of Echuca). I play violin and guitar, amongst many others, and love golf and running.

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