In 2011 the UMC LEAD Conference was founded in the Desert Southwest Annual Conference in response to leaders of young adult ministries in The United Methodist Church desire to be more effective leaders in ministry with young adults. The first LEAD Conference was held in early 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada at University United Methodist Church. The conference was modeled around TED style talks about new and creative ways to engage in young adult ministry in the The UMC. Since then the conference has been held annually in cities across the United States. The conference has maintained a similar format, however, speaker topics have expanded to a number of ministry areas to starting new churches, self care, creativity, leadership challenges, lay ministry, urban and rural ministries, and more.

Over the years LEAD has become more than an annual conference, it has become a community of leaders. Recently we have developed the following identity of LEAD:

LEADers see a vision of the kin-dom of God and are willing to go through hell to get there. We support them on the journey.

Mission: LEAD creates space for Christian leaders to be vulnerable and courageous,

connects them around their hopes for the future,

and equips them to bring those hopes into reality.

Tagline: LEAD creates space, connects ideas, and equips leaders.

Core Values: Courageous – Collaborative – Vulnerable – Relational – Hopeful

In October 2020 LEAD entered into a formal fiscal sponsorship agreement with 1703: A Faith Collaborative, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which shares a similar purpose and mission of LEAD. LEAD maintains its own advisory board within this partnership.