I arrived home from Lviv, Ukraine January 25th, after 8 days in Ukraine and a day in travels each way. It was a short trip after a long 5-year absence from Ukraine, and only by the last day in Ukraine was I fully transitioned to the time zone! But the trip was well worth it.
I had one full day in Lviv before the staff conference started. This day was scheduled, from my experience on past trips, simply to help me arrive ready to be able to teach when the conference started. I enjoyed a day in Lviv with Svitosar, the son of my friends Irena and Misha, whose English was excellent and who gave me a great tour of the city and of the principal universities, at one of which he was a student and a leader in the Christian student fellowship.
The staff conference focused on Situational Leadership and the Leadership Development pipeline (see diagram below). We spent 3 sessions talking about the different leadership styles leaders need to be able to use when appropriate with people they are trying to lead, focusing on helping them to assess which style is appropriate for their specific students and contexts. This training is really helpful because everyone has a preferred style, and without thinking will tend to use that style even when it is not the right style for the person and situation at hand. Each staff person used as a case study for this training one or more of the students who would be attending the student leadership conference the next week. I heard from many of the 20 staff that this training was clarifying for them and helped give them specific directions on how to coach their student leaders over the following few days.
Situational Leadership Training Handout, emphasizing the invitation, coaching,
supporting, delegating process to develop new students into mature leaders.
After the weekend, the staff team was joined by nearly 40 students for the leadership training conference. My teaching, as requested by the conference director months ago, was focused on Biblical models of leadership, using the Sketches of Leadership curriculum recently translated into Ukrainian. The teaching was well received, and my interactive style with generous use of small groups, case studies and large group discussion format kept the interest of the students and even of the staff who were hearing from me for the third or fourth time.
One highlight of the time was simply that many students had sufficiently strong English language skills that it was easy to talk with them outside the teaching time, and so I had several chances to do so over meals and breaks. Hearing their stories, of conversion or of campus discipleship, was inspiring and encouraging. Near the end of the conference two students approached me with a proposal, to continue to do the leadership Bible studies in a Zoom meeting (internet video call) format over the course of the year. Their English language skill is excellent, and they said that they'd have a small group of similarly motivated students to connect with me to go over the passage and discuss the case studies for other leadership topics we didn't have time to cover during the conference. It is always gratifying to hear from motivated students. The first session is in a few days--we'll see if they follow through, but I'm motivated!
Finally, I asked for prayer for my connections with Irena (the CCX staff training coordinator) and Misha (the "Gen Sec" or General Secretary, the national leader of the movement). I had great conversations with both of them, and was able to hear from them about current challenges in their own ministry and to counsel them from scripture and my own experience. I look forward to continuing these relationships, over distance and perhaps with another visit to Ukraine in 2021. Thanks so much for your prayers on behalf of Ukraine, the country, as well as the CCX ministry there! (Below see pictures of Misha, the GenSec, and Vika, the conference director, with her husband Vasily, gifted team leader for the Kharkiv ministry.)
More Clarity About July 2020 and Beyond
We continue to see God opening doors and growing connections, to the point that now we anticipate a very full plate for the summer, and perhaps for the entire academic year beginning in the fall of 2020.
We are actively seeking partners for our ministry now, so if you are open to considering this and we haven't personally contacted you, please do let us know or invite us to speak more personally about our needs, with our thanks! And thanks for your prayers and interest in this ministry.
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Rich and Lisa Lamb