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Allegheny West Conference Leadership Training Embraces, Trains New Leaders

By Taashi Rowe/Bryant Taylor

More than 270 local church leaders of the Allegheny West Conference (AWC) attended the conference’s first Leadership Summit in Charleston, W.Va. The three-day event, which included general and breakout sessions and worship and praise, was designed to help participants encounter Jesus, change their perspective on what the local church can accomplish, and spread lessons learned to other leaders throughout the conference.

“We are trying to change the whole culture here in our conference,” said Fredrick Russell, president of AWC. “We recognize that in order to develop healthy churches in our conference, which is our unapologetic aim, we have to grow healthy leaders and that will have a direct impact on growing healthy churches.”

Russell added that one of the goals of AWC is to identify emergent leaders, particularly young adults, who are ready to take more active leadership roles in their churches.

Speakers included Wesley Knight, PhD, pastor of the Decatur (Ga.) church who presented seminars titled “Playing Safe is Risky” and “Leading Yourself to Lead Others;” Jesse Wilson, DMin, a professor at Oakwood University (Ala.) who led “Becoming the Leader God Called you to Be” and “Eight Things Every Leader Should Know”; and Russell who spoke about “Leadership From the Bottom Up.”

Allison Wiles, an elder and clerk at the Rock of Faith church in Pittsburgh said the weekend was revealing for her. “This weekend showed me just why God called me to be a leader,” she said. “I have seen just how much He loves me [that He would] choose me to minister to His people. God is awesome and I present my whole self to Him. He is in total control and I’m going to carry out His mission."