The Emerging Leaders’ Summit (ELS), held on 17–20 October 2023, was a platform for millennial leaders to rethink the challenges and opportunities in our rapidly changing world. It aimed to equip these leaders with inspiration, knowledge, skills, and networks as they bridge the evangelical world today and tomorrow. About 210 leaders from 29 countries gathered to discuss, strategize, and redefine the landscape of gospel sharing and leadership.
In designing this program, the steering committee, including representatives from across the world, sought speakers who would provide new thinking on established terms in the evangelical world. This was coined a “rethink” and themes on church, mission, leadership, discipleship and collaboration were highlighted. The program included focused prayer for all continents, inspirational talks, panel discussions, interactive workshops, as well as table group discussions. As a display of intergenerational leadership, the moderators, speakers, panelists and table group facilitators included leaders from different age groups.
Overall, participants reported experienced deep spiritual renewal, gained relevant new knowledge, reconsidered practical ministry issues and fundamental questions related to power in the church, and developed extensive new networking connections.
Jim Olang, communications director for the Association of Evangelicals in Africa and an ELS participant, described the event as “a rallying cry to infuse every sphere of influence with purpose, to assemble believers not just for collective worship, but with the strategic intent of deploying them as emissaries of Christ’s teachings. This is a summons to gather in order to scatter, to amass spiritual fervor with the aim of disseminating the Gospel’s transformative power far and wide.”
Here are a few samples of participant comments:
- “We need a church with a radical sense of urgency because comfort and prosperity have become a plague to our church.”
- “Ministry without collaboration is like a journey without a destiny. To reach our destiny, it is essential to collaborate with people and move on.”
- “Collaboration must begin within our own environment before we can spread it to others.”
- “The urgency about making disciples and then having disciples make disciples is very important in fulfilling the Great Commission.”
- “The church has forgotten its primary duty to fulfill the mission it was called for. Through this conference, I have made a new commitment to mission.”
For a brief taste of the ELS experience, you can view this summary video.