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Graduates taking leadership to the next level

Graduates taking leadership to the next level

Graduates taking leadership to the next level

11 August 2021

Lead facilitator Major Anne Jeffrey, NextLEVEL affiliate Major Dianne Jarvey and NextLEVEL founder Ellen Duffield join course participants and other hosts online for graduation night of The Salvation Army’s inaugural NextLEVEL Leadership training course.

By Darryl Whitecross

Twenty-eight people from various mission expressions around Australia have graduated from The Salvation Army’s inaugural 13-week, eight-module Still Others NextLEVEL Leadership training course.

Mission logo

The COVID-19 pandemic meant the course could not happen in person, but that did not stop the course coordinators Major Anne Jeffrey (South Australia/Northern Territory Officer Personnel Secretary) and Major Dianne Jarvey (Mission Support Department Project Officer/Territorial NextLEVEL Affiliate) from finding a way to get it done.

“When COVID hit, we heard the word ‘pivot’ everywhere,” Di said. “This is what Anne and I did with this course.

“We contacted Ellen Duffield (one of the NextLEVEL founders) and told her our idea to run it over Zoom. She loved it, and the worldwide NextLEVEL crew all stepped in to help make it happen. We even had special guest facilitators come in from Canada.

“We had no idea what this pivot could open up for our organisation. Now, we have developed an online leadership training program that is being used in other parts of the world.”

In partnership with Captains Mark and Tamaryn Townsend and Chris Trodden from Eva Burrows College, the course was hosted by the territorial Officer Recruitment Department.

Anne, who has championed the NextLEVEL program since a pilot was conducted in 2016 by the former Australia Southern Territory, said the program aimed to grow godly character, develop leadership competencies and inspire Christian confidence.

She said a gap in the leadership demographic at corps level in the under-45 age group continued to be a challenge for the Army around the country – not due to a lack of desire to lead but a sense of lacking skills or confidence. The course facilitators wanted to change that situation and ensure that the NextLEVEL program would be relevant and accessible to people within this demographic.

As a lead facilitator of NextLEVEL Australia, Anne said the program was designed to equip lay leaders, staff, volunteers and officers with leadership skills to be used in their corps, mission or ministry across the Australia Territory.

The curriculum covered many facets of leadership, from team building and communication skills to planning for change, growing in confidence and dealing productively with people of different personalities. The training and tools provided delegates with new skills, a better understanding of gifts, deepened faith and heightened passion for pursuing calling or vocation.

Di said course participants came from “all over Australia”, but “for me, it was seeing people from Kalgoorlie, Mount Gambier, Townsville, Katherine and other remote places that otherwise would never have been able to attend such a training opportunity to grow and develop.”

The course started in March this year and finished on 10 May, with students having logged on every Monday night for lectures. The course finished with an online graduation ceremony attended by Ellen from Canada.

Anne said Ellen had developed the program, which had been used extensively and successfully across Canada and the United States and in some areas around the world, but it was the first time it had been run in its entirety in Australia.

She said the coordinating team was considering beginning another series, including running parallel day and night programs “because not everyone can attend at night”, and facilitators were being trained in anticipation of that.

People are invited to register interest, which would help with the timing of the next course.

“We are excited to see where these fabulous new graduates will take their new skills,” Di said.

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