Did you ever stick your neck out? Giraffe was a youth leadership training program of the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) that began in 1983. Young people were encouraged to stick their necks out and participate in a four-week residential training program. Since then, the course has run more than 20 times and was instrumental in the development of many of our current pastors, teachers and lay workers.
Many years after the final Giraffe course happened, the LCA invited Grow Ministries to develop a leadership training initiative for a new era. In 2017, Grow Ministries facilitated its first Grow Leadership program. This was in addition to a Young Adult Forum that was being held each General Synod year. The Young Adult Forum brings together young adults from across Australia and New Zealand to learn about and discuss the matters before our General Convention of Synod. This event was last held in September 2022.
Grow Leadership, in partnership with LCA International Mission, was held in 2017 and again in 2019. The purpose of Grow Leadership is to grow young people:
- in the gospel of Jesus
- to be servant leaders through hands-on experiences
- who can connect theology to everyday life
- who have a strong sense of belonging to the LCA
- to grow a sense of Christian calling in a post-Christian culture
- to develop intergenerational relationships
- to connect deeply with their local congregation.
Grow Leadership provides young adults opportunities to develop their leadership skills and theological knowledge through training intensives and participating in a Stretch and Grow experience, regular mentoring, and congregational leadership.
We pray that with the support of the 2023 Local Mission appeal, this important ministry to young people in the Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand can continue.