Showing Up as Leaders

This week we discussed what Young Adult Group is asking of us this coming year. We agreed we’ve more or less nailed the physical “showing up” piece, but what does it really mean for us to “show up?”

We generated a long list of exciting different ways we could step into leadership roles, including co-facilitating discussions, leading art and dance offerings, and guiding meditation.

However, I also got the sense that stepping into more leadership feels “high stakes,” which could decrease the likelihood of follow-through. After our gathering, our facilitators mentioned feeling anxiety beforehand about how the writing activity we did would be received. Would there be push back since we’ve only ever engaged in discussion? When I heard that, I wondered what aspects of our Young Adult Group culture have made introducing creativity feel like a scary thing.

Possibly, these are fears formed in mainstream culture that we take with us to Young Adult Group. One of my fears when facilitating any discussion is that no one will participate. I generate long lists of back-up questions, as though it were my job as facilitator to design a perfect “product.” The “consumers” of my discussions, I worry, will be judging that product with a keen and critical eye, participating if I manage to sell that product or greeting my questions with silence and sighs of displeasure if I don’t.

I know we don’t take a marketplace approach to discussions here, but I don’t know if we’ve identified an appropriate substitute – like a co-creation approach.

One way to demonstrate co-creation could be for participants to commit to stepping into long silences to clarify what we’re being so silent about. Are we confused? Are we unsure of how to articulate an idea? Are we afraid of being vulnerable? Are we uninterested by the question? Co-creation could also mean taking the discussion in a new direction. I know there are times I censure my contributions because they seem off-topic. Certainly, sometimes they are, but I think I have also missed opportunities to add a new layer or bring in a more personal element.

So what does showing up mean for us this year? It could mean committing to creating an atmosphere of co-creation so that as we each take our turn as leaders, we know we’ll be guiding a group of eager others who, when our inspiration runs dry, will be willing to supply their own.










2 Replies to “Showing Up as Leaders”

  1. What does it mean to show up? We have heard of church as the most segregated hour on Sunday morning, and the understanding pivots on race, as intended by Martin Luther King, Jr. But segregation also occurs along generational lines, divided by age and cultural-developmental markers of age. Youth show up in youth groups, elders in elder circles, young adult with young adults. And when larger politics of identity encumber identity as the primary or overriding site of meaning/value/purpose, it may become too easy for us to default to identity. But what about the politics of solidarity, with others who summon us beyond the particularity of any identity without dismissing it either? Calling us into a greater communion in which one’s identity discovers greater definition, depth, and purpose? How do we show up for identity-in-communion that bespeaks a larger imagination of church, society, world? How do young adults show up in that community of faith called Church?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I resonate with the reflection that this gathering led us to identify co-creation as a direction that our group is excited to step into. Yesterday (the meeting that followed this one) already integrated ideas we had discussed and further clarified what co-creation can be. Specifically, the significance of listening and being present with one another and the group at large. I’m feeling drawn, in addition to sharing responsibilities (organizational, facilitation, offerings etc.), to show up for co-creation through communion (using the working definition KP presented in the diagram and through poetry). In other words, the alternative/ “appropriate substitute” is being present–whether meeting or missing each other–with what is in the room at the time. (Which, in my experience, also reduces planning and facilitation anxiety.)

    A practice I’m stepping into (and still articulating) is moving away from willfully “finding” what is worthy (i.e. about us gathering – worship) and moving towards discerning what is already, which seems to lead to worship (worth+ -ship).



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s