By: Raymond Billy
Ellie Palmberg said the task of disciple-making would have been overwhelming to her had it not been for last year’s leadership development seminar. After completing it, she said she realized one of the marks of successful leadership is the understanding of one’s personal limitations. One of Youth With A Mission’s pioneers helped her to clearly understand that lesson.
SLAMD — short for Spiritual Leadership & Ministry Development — is being held once again at Port YWAM Kona, Hawaii. The event is a collaborative effort of its host YWAM Ships Kona, and University of the Nations Kona. The seminar will take place Aug. 3 to Aug. 28. YWAM Ships Kona Director Brett Curtis said the candor of speakers such as Darlene Cunningham discussing her ministry high lights and low lights is part of what makes SLAMD so valuable.
“In the beginning, you don’t know what you don’t know so mistakes are made by assuming things. So to sit under wise leaders with decades of experience with a posture of learning and asking questions is so valuable for anyone,” Curtis said.
SLAMD is intended to help participants recognize dangers that could potentially end their ministry careers and how to handle challenges within a ministry team. Students will also learn how to influence people without relying on hierarchal advantage; how to lead a meeting, ask great questions, have implicational thinking, set clear goals and diligently work toward them; how to motivate others to operate effectively using their skillsets; leading with candor and graciousness, and understanding the YWAM values as well as how to apply them.
Jesse Ruiz, who helps lead worship at YWAM Kona, said he and other SLAMD participants were hanging on every lesson the guest speakers taught.
“It was rich. It was amazing and all of the students were so much more attentive knowing these people were seasoned with years of experience. They were able to share stories left and right and give clear, biblical examples. That was so amazing and why it was so impactful,” said Ruiz, 25, of California. “We had all of these senior leaders come and speak to us about their lives and encourage us because they believe we are up-and-coming leaders in YWAM.”
Palmberg, 20, who staffed the Compassion Ablaze Discipleship Training School in YWAM Kona last fall, said SLAMD taught her to lead faithfully, but to trust God with the results. She said she learned that someone else’s spiritual maturation does not depend on her.
“It’s between them and God and knowing that I’m just a facilitator of that instead of trying to be their savior is a really big thing,” said Palmberg, of Seattle. “SLAMD really put that as a culture in me of — in leadership — not trying to take the blame or credit for everything, but acknowledging the fact that God has it all under control. He’s the one who’s going to cause the life change.”
Curtis said that anyone with long-term ministry aspirations should consider attending this seminar.
“I encourage anybody — whether you’re looking to help develop a ministry locally or lead an outreach sometime soon overseas — this course will be a great building block for your development. You will get a smorgasbord of leadership tools that will benefit you for years to come.”