Never The Same Camps, Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU), and 12Stone® Church have partnered together to help develop the next generation of Wesleyan leaders through a free, two-year leadership training class: The New Level Youth Leadership Forum. The first training session was held November 11-12, 2013, at 12Stone® Church’s central campus in Lawrenceville, Georgia. The forum will meet twice at 12Stone® Church and twice at IWU, with each session focusing on one of four types of leadership: relational, organizational, self, and platform leadership.

Rev. Charlie Alcock, assistant professor of youth ministries at IWU; 12Stone® High School Ministry Pastor Derik Idol; and Rev. Jeff Eckart, founder of Never the Same, recruited the group of 25-30 young leaders from local Wesleyan churches around the United States.

Following the first meeting at 12Stone®, Kevin Rhatican, director of Youth Operations and tech director at Fountain Springs Community Church in South Dakota, said, “Having conference-quality teaching and time for discussion with other youth staff from all over the country was priceless.”

Eckart drew on 25 years of youth ministry experience for his teaching on relational leadership, followed by round-table discussions and mentorship sessions. Although the group represented many different church contexts, all are focused on the same goal: loving the next generation as Christ loves the Church.

“Many pastors do not make it to retirement,” said Idol. “They fall in ministry, they get burned out, or discouraged, so this commitment to pour into the next generation of pastors is designed to help them make it—to walk with them through it.”

Participant Josh Ivy, assistant pastor at Kannapolis First Wesleyan, said, “Between the fellowship, the Spirit, the resources, and the inspiration, my heart is full.”

Idol’s hope is that these youth pastors will be encouraged and equipped through this process, to remain strong in their call and commitment to ministry. God is present and moving among this next generation of youth pastors.