The vibrancy of the witness of Christ followers in the world is greatly impacted by the effectiveness of leadership within the body of Christ. Therefore, Next Step is committed to cultivating dynamic young leaders within the context of the Wesleyan family and beyond. Through a variety of opportunities for mentoring, Next Step seeks to identify, nurture and support leadership within the body of Christ.
Next Step mentoring opportunities include the Matrix Connexion Project (in partnership with Kingdom Catalysts), the Justice and Mercy Initiative, the Order of the Flame (in partnership with World Methodist Evangelism), and the Next Step Kingdom Bringers Network.
Matrix Connexion Project
In the context of small cohorts of young clergy, Matrix is a mentoring program utilizing the wisdom and resources of proven leaders within the Wesleyan tradition. Mentoring focuses on six areas of critical concern for pastoral leadership. Three times in each year of a two-year cycle, cohorts of 10-20 persons engage in events in which an expert in each identified area provides mentoring. Members of the cohort have web based access to each mentor for questions and dialogue for the two months following each event as well as continuous web based access to one another for the entire two year cycle. Participants should be in their first ten years of ordained ministry and are accepted by recommendation and invitation. Areas of mentoring include:
1. The spiritual life of the minister
- Discipline and resources
2. Leading Change – strategic planning and stewardship
- The nature of the church
- Steward discipleship
3. Outreach and assimilation
- Evangelism and discipleship
4. Preaching and communication to the world
- Worship and communicating to the world outside the church
5. Prophetic Witness
- Wesleyan social and personal holiness
6. Developing, empowering and deploying persons for ministry
- Staff and volunteer ministers
If you would like more information on the Matrix Connexion Project, or if you would like to recommend someone for the program, please contact Kimberly Reisman.
The Wesleyan ConneXion
The Wesleyan ConneXion is a clergy leadership formation program of the Indiana Conference of the United Methodist Church which also provides creative ways of sharing resources within the Wesleyan tradition to foster renewal in ministry and mission. Downloadable resources are available and teaching events open to all clergy and laity are offered regularly. For more information contact Andy Kinsey.
The Justice and Mercy Initiative
One of the hallmarks of a Wesleyan approach to Christian faith is the intimate connection between personal and social holiness. Both personal acts of mercy and communal work for justice are necessary for a full understanding of holiness. Through the Justice and Mercy Initiative, Next Step engages in leadership formation by providing hands on teaching and other events for the purpose of empowering lay and clergy leaders to expand God’s Kingdom through ministries of mercy and justice, word and deed. Examples of topics addressed by the Justice and Mercy Initiative include hunger, poverty, racial reconciliation, immigration issues, human trafficking, education and others. Various partners in this initiative include (but are not limited to) Jacob’s Well, the Binghampton Development Corporation, and SOS – Service over Self.
The Order of the Flame
Started in 1996 by World Evangelism (a division of the World Methodist Council), the Order of the FLAME (Faithful Leaders As Mission Evangelists) is composed of more than 600 specially selected young pastors and spouses from the churches in the Wesleyan Tradition in North America: African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Christian Methodist Episcopal, Free Methodist, Church of the Nazarene, United Methodist and Wesleyan. Next Step partners with World Evangelism in this effort to raise up a new generation of young leaders in the Methodist movement. If you would like more information on the Order of the Flame, or if you would like to recommend someone for this program, please contact Kim Reisman.
Kingdom Bringers Network
Next Step provides an avenue for peer mentoring through the Kingdom Bringers Network. Utilizing Next Step discussion boards, participants are encouraged to share ministry and general life experiences such as best practices, challenges and difficulties, joys and concerns. Through the KBN relationships are established for common nurture, support and sharing.