Port YWAM Kona played host in August to a leadership seminar for the second straight year. Participants say that after taking the four-week Spiritual Leadership And Ministry Development, or SLAMD, training, they feel more competent to make disciples.
“SLAMD was an outstanding time of growth for me,” said Canadian Rhys Fowler, 19, who plans to serve as staff for the YWAM Ships discipleship school that begins in October. “I was able to think through different scenarios in leadership as well as dig into valuable leadership principles from a biblical foundation. It was a pleasure learning from some of YWAM’s most seasoned leaders.”
The list of leaders who served as guest speakers includes Jim Orred, who helps oversee the University of the Nations Kona campus, Danny Lehmann, international dean of the College of Christian Ministries at the university, Youth With A Mission pioneer Darlene Cunningham and Andy Byrd, who helped pioneer the evangelistic ministry Circuit Riders.
Orred told participants that everyone can be a leader if they accurately identify their innate abilities and use those abilities selflessly.
“Leaders need to take initiative to serve others in the way God has wired them,” said Orred, later adding “Leadership is living for the success of others.”
Dan Lindsay, of Atlanta, said Orred’s message — which was repeated by multiple speakers — gave him a new perspective.
“I thought being the leader meant you could have the freedom to do whatever you wanted. I found out that to be a good leader you are actually the most accountable for the success of the people you’re leading and it’s not about you. It’s about them,” said Lindsay, 54, who works for the nonprofit Holt International Children’s Services.
Sean Murphy, who co-led SLAMD with Joanna Mutch, said humility is supremely important for those in positions of authority in ministry.
“Lead as the least and the last and the servant of all,” said Murphy, who will co-lead a Discipleship Training School at Port YWAM in January. He also urged “If you’re on a ‘high horse’ about leadership, get off of it.”
Brett Curtis, director of YWAM Ships Kona, said the seminar was meant to help young leaders learn from the successes and failures of ministry veterans.
“If we can understand these things and avoid the same issues that those who went before us bumped into, that’s the beginning of wisdom,” Curtis said. “Have the fear of the Lord on your life, knowing that when God called you to lead people, it’s a big responsibility. People are our most valuable asset, so we need to be very intentional and careful to lead them well.”
Mutch, who helps oversee campus affairs at the University of the Nations, said SLAMD was successful because the speakers were candid and the students were anxious to inherit understanding.
“It was incredible to be in such an intimate setting and hear their journey and wisdom in such a relatable way. The grace, perseverance and commitment of our leaders inspired and challenged me,” said Mutch, who also oversees the Engage discipleship school. “I think it was successful because everyone doing the seminar wanted to be there, was eager to learn and our speakers we keen to share what they have learned over the years of being in our mission.”