The Christian Leader asked Joanna Chappa to reflect on her experience as a participant in the Celebration 2010 Young Leaders Track. Chappa is from Grulla, Texas.
CL: How did the experience of attending a conference like this as part of a group of young adults benefit you?
Representation of younger leaders at conferences such as Celebration 2010 and Conection 2010 is quite scarce and so being a part of the Young Leaders Track was quite significant for me. The younglLeaders portion allowed for me to speak and connect with the other young leaders that were there from the U. and Canada and to also be challenged to step out and connect with the older generations.
The beauty of conferences such as Celebration 2010 and Conection 2010 is celebrating what God has accomplished through the older generations, what he is accomplishing through the “up-and-coming” generations and expecting God to do even greater things through the younger generations. It was beautiful to celebrate together, from the youngest to the oldest, the story that our God is writing through us as the Mennonite Brethren, as imperfect people seeking to radically live after Jesus’ call to a missional life.
What did you gain from this?
The most significant moment for me was listening to the amazing, Spirit-moving stories while keeping in mind that we are imperfect people seeking after a perfect God. I realized as I listened to these stories that it wasn’t the strength or gifts of those people alone but rather a community of people that God redeemed for his glory and for his advancement of his kingdom working together, as the body of Christ. And so I gained a greater appreciation for God’s grace within our Mennonite Brethren family. I hope that we do not lose sight of the continual posture of humble service through love.
How does knowing a dozen other young leaders among North American Mennonite Brethren impact you?
It empowers me to know that I will not be alone tomorrow. I am not alone today because there are many passionate, wise and older leaders that I follow after and walk alongside. But when we see the decreasing involvement and passion from young adults within the broader church, it’s tomorrow, the future, that becomes a bit disheartening.
But events and opportunities such as the Young Leaders Track allow me to feel encouraged that I will not be alone tomorrow because there are passionate young people seeking after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and his mission. If we decide as Mennonite Brethren to pour into, disciple, empower and walk alongside young leaders, we will “reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9c). Let’s continue to be disciples that make disciples for the advancement of his kingdom and his glory.
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