ARISE 219: Helping to Equip Emerging Leaders

ARISE 219By Tali Hairston, Director of the John Perkins Center for Reconciliation, Leadership Training, and Community Development


In early September, the John Perkins Center was involved in “a collaboration of urban youth workers” — ARISE 219, a youth leadership conference from a joint venture with the Salvation Army, Scripture Union, Union Gospel Mission, and World Vision.

Equipping Youth Leaders

This meeting was based on Lamentations 2:19: This “city lament” proclaims, “ Arise, cry aloud in the night at the beginning of the night watches; pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord; lift up your hands to him for the life of your little ones who are faint because of hunger at the head of every street.” ARISE 219 organizers sought to equip youth leaders with the critical tools and rhetorical skills needed to work among Seattle’s urban youth.


While things started off slowly, the month of August began with community members getting on board and registering in numbers. Kelly Lutcher, the new head of the Salvation Army’s leadership team, became a factor in getting the community engaged. Kelly and her husband, Mike, are seasoned veterans in urban ministries. Early on, she impressed co-collaborators with her warmth and zeal, as she shared stories about their work in the field. During ARISE 219, the attendees shared a similar experience. Throughout the conference, the Lutchers revealed a wealth of understanding when passionately sharing what God is doing in urban communities.


Most of our readers won’t have a point of reference for how this collaboration began. In brief, the Salvation Army and Scripture Union united to produce a conference in 2006. Since then, leaders from Union Gospel Mission, World Vision, Urban Impact, and several churches provided one-day leadership trainings for urban youth workers in the Seattle/Tacoma region. At the same time, a core group of local leaders were involved in the Reload training through Urban Youth Worker’s Institute. Several have trained or preached at the national Urban Youth Workers Institute conference as well.


Last year, we began formulating the plan to create a broad-based urban youth workers’ alliance that combined the best of a conference in terms of equipping, and the best of a retreat in terms of relationship building. Underscoring the relational approach, we sought to recognize the expertise that resided within our participants.


‘A New Journey Together’


At ARISE 219, we began a new journey together that connected a culturally and ethnically diverse group of Christian leaders that reflected the tremendous diversity found in White Center. On Friday evening, Lina Thompson, national training director for World Vision, provided a challenging plenary session. Afterward, we hosted a coffeehouse conversation. During this session, workshop leaders shared their personal biographies and advertised their prospective sessions. By beginning the conference on a more personal note, we set the tone for our weekend together.


Beyond the Friday evening, our goal to acknowledge our attendees’ expertise shaped our workshops in two important ways: We provided a few sessions that incorporated brief training sessions with prolonged opportunities for sharing and strategizing. Other sessions were information-dense and low in dialogue. This approach met the needs of a broad-based coalition of youth workers. Many of them will testify that they benefited from organizational knowledge, real world experience, and diversity of gifts. Everyone benefited from hearing from both the podium and the floor.


Over our two days together, the workshops' leaders taught, confronted, and encouraged the youth workers in attendance. In the end, all arose refreshed and invigorated.


Bob Zurinsky

Tali Hairston has guided the Perkins Center at SPU since its founding in 2004. He is leading Seattle Pacific in a comprehensive initiative born out of a dream and a partnership between SPU President Philip Eaton and the legendary reconciliation advocate Dr. John Perkins.

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