Our Youth Leadership Development Coordinator
In Brief I Am a:
Disciple. Daughter. Sister. Auntie. Friend. Mentor. Receptionist. Student. Pastor.
Sunrise admirer. Animal lover. Nature appreciator. Gardening enthusiast. Movie watcher. Puzzle completer. Health wannabe. Friend focused. Coffee abstainer. Tea and chocolate fanatic. Cycling novice. Sunset fanatic.
What I Do
For Tasmanian Baptists, I'm employed as the Youth Leadership Development Coordinator. Really, this is a fancy title to say that I get to invest in the lives of young people and represent the voices of our younger generations across the state.
Most of my time is focused on mentoring and coaching young people, which is what I love doing most. I really enjoy journeying with people as they discover more about how they are wired, what they are passionate about, what frustrates them, and who God is and the relevance of God in their lives. It is such a privilege to journey with people.
I meet with pastors wherever possible, and I'm involved in the Tasmanian Baptist Union conversations and strategic planning, as well as conferences. I also communicate with children, youth and young adult State Coordinators across the nation as part of the Australian Baptist Youth Ministries (ABYM) team. We are currently working on a few things, but more on that later.
What Else I Do
Outside of Tas Baptists, I work as a medical receptionist (going on 9.5 years). It's often crazy busy, especially due to COVID-19. I generally love it though, as it's a real opportunity to follow Christ in the workplace, among the staff and patients.
As part of my reception role, I coordinate the admin for our refugee health program, in which we see 25% of newly arrived refugees each month for their first 4-6 months in Launceston. I am blessed to work with a very wise Christian doctor in this program, and we aim to care holistically for the people we encounter. It is a great privilege to welcome people to our country in this way - to be a safe place and safe people - and it has confirmed my desire to interact with people from other cultures more.
I completed Arrow Leadership in 2019, which has resulted in some amazing friendships and I am continuing with a Bachelor of Ministry part time. These have provided me with an opportunity to volunteer with Arrow Leadership International Development (See ALID on Facebook >>>). This year we had planned to work with locals in another country, helping them develop their own Arrow Leadership program. Unfortunately, this has been postponed due to COVID-19, but we will soon begin coaching some of the current participants in the Philippines and Indonesia in the meantime (virtually, of course).
I also recently became an accredited strengths coach through Strengths Network South Pacific (SNSP), which utilises Gallup's CliftonStrengths tool. This has been really useful in mentoring adults and young adults, and I would love to practice this more within our network.
I Have Some BIG Questions!
Loneliness in society. I wonder - how do we do local community so well, that everyone is truly welcomed, valued, appreciated and has a sense of 'belonging,' regardless of relationship status, belief, gender, sexual orientation or employment status?
Intergenerational community. In relation to the above, how do we, the Church, do life with each other in ways that not only resemble the Kingdom of God, but respect and welcome other generations?
The future of the Church. In particular, the Baptist movement. How do we become young, and how do our local churches embrace required changes so that there are communities of believers for the children of our young people, and those lost in our society?
Undergirding all of this are two key themes/questions:
If "revival begins with personal renewal" (Mark Sayers), what does that personal renewal look like for individuals? How can we empower people to pursue God more, and at what cost to themselves are people willing to live for God? (Matthew 16:24-26).
Will the world know that we are disciples of Jesus Christ by the love that we show to each other (inside and outside our gatherings)? (John 13:35).
What I continue to learn is that people are unique ~ plans change ~ change is good ~ good is a result of grace ~ grace is amazing ~ God deserves the glory.
Jenna Blackwell is keen to hear from you if your church wants assistance developing youth and young adult leaders.