This handy resource is called Kinetic as it refers to the 'dynamic energy that creates change' and it aims to accelerate leadership development so that those who work through it 'will become the dynamic, energizing and life-impacting leader that God created' them to be.
The book is broken down into 12 sessions. The idea is to work through the book with a mentor - and the introduction provides ideas for who that might be. It is written in such a way that it could be used on a one-to-one basis or even in a group setting. There is no age tag so it is really down to the individual and their youth leader to assess if they are ready to nurture the leadership potential within them. The book is laid out in a study format with space to write comments, answers and thoughts. It includes a DVD with short introductions to each session. The 12 sessions include topics such as: character building, serving others, communication, team work, conflict, mentoring, keeping a vision, staying close to God, wholeness and what leadership actually is. Each session has six sections:
EXCITE! - the aims of the session.
EXALT! - personal devotional to work through.
EXPLODE! - reflecting on leadership myths.
EXPLORE! - Biblical teaching & study.
EXPRESS! - practical application.
EXTREME! - a challenge to "express" to another level.
The repetition to each session offers a structure and familiarity even though the topics are varied. The resource studies many different leaders in the Bible (e.g. Jesus, Nehemiah, King David, Paul, Moses, Joshua and Esther) and uses a simple approach to encourage biblical study of these characters and the themes. This would be invaluable to those who have never/rarely undertaken any Bible study before. It always relates it back to the here and now and the layout of the sessions is great as there is practical application and challenges for the reader to reflect, explore through study and questions, change and grow.
The 'bottom line' throughout the whole resource is that: 'Leadership is all about building relationships with people. If you can't build relationships of trust and influence with people then your leadership impact will be limited.'
I would have welcomed a resource like this when I was training young peer leaders in my youth work. I could not find any resources for this at the time so had to create my own. Kinetic would have encouraged me in my training of young leaders more as it a user-friendly guide that I could have used to shape my training sessions, while they could have continued to personally reflect and work through it in their own time. The balance of Bible study, personal reflection and application is a brilliant approach to training any leader.
It might be good to note that the resource does presume some degree of literacy ability and leaders may need to consider how mentors can work with young leaders who struggle academically. The DVD is a good introduction to each session but cannot be used as a substitute to the study book. Of course, it’s good to add some of your own 'pearls' when running any training sessions. For example, I would probably use some of Pip Wilson's 'Blobs' to encourage people to reflect on the different sessions - this would be especially useful to those who learn through images rather than words. I would also offer some simple group theories (e.g. Tuckman's theory of Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing) as from experience I have found such ideas can help all leaders understand groups and to be encouraged that the different stages are normal (although not always easy to manage) and not to take everything personally.
While this resource is aimed at young leaders, I do think much of it is suitable for young and old alike. I would encourage youth leaders to use this guide to plan a series of training days / programmes in their leadership development and to ensure every potential young leader has their own copy of it to work through. It would not surprise me if youth leaders learnt as much as the "trainees" through using it.
I really recommend this resource and it would be great to hear how people have used it and benefited from it in years to come.
Available from Urban Saints, and good bookshops. ISBN: 978-0-9559277-0-6
Suzi Stock is a full-time childminder in Dunstable, youthwork trainer, tutor and marker on Engage! youthwork course, freelance writer and volunteer JNC qualified youth worker.