Young Adult Cohort

The first ever LEAD Young Adult Cohort included 9 young adults ages 21-30 and 3 mentors who attended the LEAD Conference in San Diego, California in January 2022. It was such a huge success that we are launching the second cohort to attend the LEAD Conference in Asheville, North Carolina in January 2023. 

Who should apply?

We are looking for the next generation of leaders committed to faith and action. Here’s our description of the ideal candidates:

  • Young adults age 21-30 and can be laity, clergy, and/or not sure if you still fit into the Church. 
  • The religious dreamers, misfits, and wanders who yearn to experience a change of place and pace together in order to form relationships and community that extends beyond the LEAD conference.
  • Sees a vision for the world and the Church that others cannot fully see or embrace. Desires a safer space to explore and bring those dreams to reality.
  • Values peer and mentor relationships as a way to gain skills and knowledge necessary to bring about change through community, participation, and connectedness.

We believe by living out our core values of “Courageous, Collaborative, Vulnerable, Relational, and Hopeful” the next generation will finally experience meaningful community, participation, and connectedness in the United Methodist Church.

What will the cohort do?

The young adult cohort will participate fully in the LEAD conference (January 22 – 24) and will have opportunities to interact with each other and mentors before, during, and after the event. To help create community, members of the cohort will be placed into small groups to check in throughout the conference as well as have formal check in times for large group reflection and debriefing. 

The meetings before the LEAD conference take place via Zoom. The cohort will arrive in Asheville on Saturday, January 21, the day before the conference starts to explore the city and get to know each other. The cohort and mentors will remain in the host city for an extra day (Wednesday, January 25th) after the conference ends for time of debrief, additional leadership support, and recreation as a way to build relationships formed at the conference. They return home the next day (Thursday, January 26th) and have a debrief Zoom call 30 days after the conference.

From that point, the mentors and participants decide for themselves whether the cohort continues to meet periodically in an organized manner, or if the cohort has completed their work together and wish to move on to whatever is next.

What is included?

Registration for the conference, hotel accommodations, and airfare or commuting costs were covered by LEAD and sponsors. Each participant was asked to pay a reduced participation fee of $250. We encouraged participants to reach out to their local churches, districts, and conferences for help in covering the participation fee and any other related expenses such as luggage fees, meals, and airport transportation.

What’s next after the cohort?

The alumni of the LEAD Young Adult Cohort have an opportunity to return the following year to serve as peer mentors, help with organizing the conference, or give a LEAD talk. The hope is that this cohort will continue in perpetuity in order to continue to empower young leaders to empower other young leaders.

What did participants say about their experience?

“The cohort was an opportunity to be fully present with other individuals who shared dreams of changing the world. Although we came from all parts of the country and different backgrounds, we were able to  use our experiences to be vulnerable and authentic with each other, to do the work at hand.”

“This was a truly meaningful experience. I came with some deep wounds and this group held those with me and allowed me to hold theirs, all while growing in hope together. I would recommend the cohort to any young person who loves God and the Church enough to sometimes struggle with it and yet still dream of what is possible.”

“My community will be impacted because I have a new found fire of inspiration to continue to do good work. I have recently felt burnt out and tired of doing it ‘alone’ but now I know I am not alone and have many others who are working the same cause as I am; it may not feel like doing much on the micro, but together we can change the macro.”

Application for the 2023 LEAD Young Adult Cohort closes September 15th and you will be notified by October 1st. Click the button below to be taken to the application page.

If you have any questions please contact [email protected] or fill out the form below.

Got any questions about the Young Adult Cohort?

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