Regardless of when you served with YOKE, you likely have fond memories of our leadership training weekends. You might remember the great food – like YOKE’s famous banana pudding or spending time outdoors with friends and colleagues.  Some of you may even remember the time that our bus got caught in a snowstorm on the interstate. As SUV’s spun out on the ice surrounding us, we wisely decided to turn around and head back to Knoxville.

For many of us, leadership is where we formed life-long bonds with our team and other YOKE Folk. Some of my best and longest friendships came out of YOKE, and many of those began at a leadership weekend. Many of the alumni I meet agree that we left those weekend sessions having grown in our relationship with Jesus, feeling more burdened for middle school students, and called to live a life of service.

As we approach our 50th year of ministry, YOKE is still investing in leaders. Some things have changed, like the location, the technology, the name, and the staff, but the message is still the same. At this year’s Leadership Summit, our scripture focus was Mark 12:28-30 and we tried to focus on each aspect – heart, body, soul, and mind. We had sessions on how to study Scripture, cognitive development with YOKE Board Member Doug Mapp, and had a fun session hosted by Tonya Stoutt-Brown on having fun with skits. We wrapped up Sunday with a special time of prayer and worship where from each area were prayed over by all other the leaders before being sent out for a new semester of ministry.

“We want our leaders to be equipped for a lifetime of ministry beyond YOKE and the Leadership Summit is one of the best tools we have for that,” said Executive Director Jonathan Haskell. “Our goal for this weekend is for our leaders to feel connected, to feel equipped, and to feel refreshed,” added Jonathan. According to the feedback we’ve received, we accomplished all three.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more pictures from this year’s Leadership Summit.