YOKE is committed to developing leaders. In fact, it’s one of our core values. We are committed to equipping and empowering the next generation of servant leaders, not simply to do YOKE better, but to be better neighbors, spouses, parents, employees, and church members. Our annual Leadership Summit, a weekend of focus on developing leaders, is the highlight of our training program.

Our guest speaker, Eric Minton, spoke about how healthy ministry flows from a healthy self-image and a healthy relationship with Christ. Phillip Joubert, from Hope Fellowship, led us in worship. Dr. Keith Bailey of Harmony Family Center taught about how Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) can impact a child’s development and behavior and what we can do about it. Our goal is for our leaders to be refreshed, to experience community, and to be better equipped for a lifetime of ministry. Hear from some of our leaders about how we did.

The YOKE Leadership Summit is a unique experience where the leaders get to focus on their own spiritual growth and do it with a great support system that often doesn’t get seen. Working with the students is an incredible experience but having time to focus on growing our faith with others who have the same ministry is essential.  – Dan Beckett, Union Grove

The training was genuinely helpful. We’ve used it already at our club and its been super effective. It was really great to get to just be poured into for a weekend and reflect and listen. Having meals together and hanging out during free time and worshiping togetherhelped me to build and feel like part of the community even more than I already did. – Nick Beam, Holston

Going into the weekend I wasn’t in the best place and I was dealing with some internal battles. That weekend was the best thing I could have done for myself. This weekend was so valuable for my team and I because we all finally got to connect in a way that’s difficult with our work and school schedules. I am so thankful for a team of people that will take time to pour into leaders and help them grow!  – Jessa Gaut, Eagleton

It was so great to have a break from school and work and have some time for fellowship and worship with the YOKE family. The Leadership Summit is a GREAT opportunity to build friendships with leaders from other counties, since we don’t get to see them as much as we see our own team or those in our county. My biggest takeaway was that idea of my “radical okayness.” When we become content with our own imperfections, we allow God to use our messy lives for His glory. That idea is peaceful, freeing, and empowering. – Abbey Fritts, Alcoa

The biggest takeaway for me was the imagery of us (YOKE Folk) standing as big trees just absorbing all the toxic CO2 and producing oxygen for our kids. It is so cool to understand our position of standing in the gap, but also that we have a root system connected to and through Christ. It’s valuable because as much as we’re there for the kids, we are also there for each other, holding each other strong when times get hard.  – Nehemiah “Nemo” Landon, Vine

YOKE’s Leadership Summit gave me what I really needed. For our club, the ACEs training gave us a way to relate to some of the more unpredictable kids with some simple techniques to help calm them. I tried it out with one of our kids this week and was amazed to find him asking if we could play basketball after club – definitely a first! And for myself, the Summit gave me refreshing free time (spike ball for life!), rejuvenating worship, and fellowship with some of the most amazing young men and women in the Knoxville area. – Ian Schomer, Northwest

The Leadership Summit was very impactful to me because of the community that formed over the weekend. We leaders all have nicknames for each other, and we all are in a group chat together. We all feel part of the YOKE family now that we have built that community. Honestly, leadership weekend really showed me that God is in control of our lives. When we give him control everything is going to work for his glory. The weekend really excites me for the rest of this school year. It motivated me to do what God has called me to do. – Kasie Ray, Jefferson

Leadership Summit was a breath of fresh air – literally, thanks to Dr. Keith Bailey. It helped unify our YOKE team, bring all of us together as a YOKE family, and gave us important tools to help us serve our YOKE kids this semester.  – Abby Orrick, Rutledge

The Summit was super refreshing. It was wonderful to catch up with old friends and new YOKE Folk. I loved the metaphor of how we absorb the kids and their backgrounds and then turn around and give them the oxygen of God’s love. It’s something that doesn’t just apply to middle school students; you can use it in every area of your life. – Ryan “Rhino” Hudson, Farragut