On 23 March 2020 as the UK locked down, Peter got to work. Some news reports had caught his eye as the NHS raced to deal with the coming impact. As precious existing supplies ran out, it was clear that hospitals across the country were struggling with a lack of PPE.

As an engineer running his own business, Peter was ideally placed to respond. Working in collaboration with other local companies, they designed and built face visors to supply their local hospital. More than 1,000 were made in the early days until other supply routes were established. They made the technology open source so anyone could use it. 

What made Peter step forward in that moment? What was it that made him forget about his own business needs in that crisis moment and think about the community need? For Peter it was obvious: his faith, his skills and his leadership position are gifts from God to be used to bring transformation. They are not to be hidden away, because Peter is a Christian public leader. 

Many of us will have young adults who are emerging public leaders like Peter in our congregations; yet, if we’re honest, we often don’t quite know how to equip them best. When we think about Christian leadership we’re taught to think church leadership. We think small groups and youth groups not engineers and visors. When we think about mission, we tend to think evangelism; and when discussing call and ministry, we tend to think about pastoring and the church. 


Now all those things are valid – more than that, they are vital. But as we know it’s not the whole biblical picture. From Genesis 1 onwards we are called into the richness of God’s kingdom plans for His world – to reflect Him, create culture, to rule and reign alongside God as stewards of all He has made. 

From Genesis 3 we see the salvation plan and our role in sharing the redemption story as we live it out wherever God has placed us. Finally, with the coming of Jesus we get to help extend the kingdom, to see God’s rule and reign across every aspect of community, national and global life – for the glory of God and the benefit of everyone.

At the Evangelical Alliance we recognise the call to equip young adults to thrive in every context they are placed. It’s why we’ve set up our Public Leadership programme to help meet this need. We recognise it’s important to value the unique mix of gifts and passions God has given our young adults and help them connect these to His kingdom plan and the needs of our world. Whether making visors, tackling climate change, calculating departmental spending or teaching in school, kingdom values work, and we need a new generation of God’s people to step up and lead. 

Public leadership is about equipping Christians like Peter to develop the character to lead whilst looking to their place within God’s bigger story, knowing that this goes alongside practical leadership abilities and having the communication skills to carry them out. It’s about being faithful and vocal in a cultural context that doesn’t always want to hear a kingdom perspective. 

So, what does this look like in practice? There are three key aspects to following Jesus’ model of leadership development. It’s about relevant teaching – biblical and practical – with examples and stories from Christian public leaders who are further down the road. Chances are you will have older leaders in your congregation who will be a goldmine of wisdom and experience. It’s also about mentoring – using that experience to help equip your young adults for the challenges they face. Finally, and crucially, it’s about community. Jesus formed a community, sent His disciples out in pairs, and helped them learn together – and this dynamic is vital. In many contexts, being a Christian and a leader can be lonely, so having a community that supports and prays for one another in the tough times is essential.

As the Evangelical Alliance catalyses public leadership work across the UK, our prayer is that every church may become a hub of a community of public leaders, with young adults passionate about living out their faith and leading wherever God has placed them, for the glory of God and the benefit of everyone.

Public Leadership course 2021

We are now recruiting for our autumn Public Leader programmes in all four nations of the UK. If you have any emerging leaders in their 20s/​30s in your congregation who would benefit from this significant development opportunity details on how to apply can be found at the Public Leader course – Evangelical Alliance.

Further public leadership resources and upcoming webinars are also available online at Public Leadership – Evangelical Alliance.

This blog is part of 7 Conversations, a suite of interactive, integrated resources for leaders in local settings seeking to understand young adults and bring them into a rock-solid relationship with Jesus.

7 conversations your church needs to have to reach young adults

7 conversations your church needs to have to reach young adults

A suite of resources to help your church reach, engage and disciple 20s and 30s Find out more