Posted on November 17, 2023 Emerging Leaders Embrace God’s Call
Emerging Leaders cohort and Sharon Koh smile together

Do you know about International Ministries’ new Emerging Leaders cohorts?

Young adults between the ages of 16 and 29 years old are joining this IM discipleship program because they want to deepen their faith in community with others their age, seek God’s call on their lives, and serve others.

“We are blessed with a beautifully diverse cohort of young adults,” says IM Associate to Short-Term Mission and Emerging Leaders Nicole Cox, who leads the program. “We have individuals from New Jersey to Texas to Puerto Rico, and a few IM missionary kids (MKs). Each young adult brings a different richness of experience and perspective into their interactions with cohort members.”

There are currently fifteen Emerging Leaders in the program, with a Trailblazer cohort for those between 21 and 29 years old, and a Connector cohort for those between 16 and 20. Why are these young adults seeking to commit two years of their lives to bi-monthly meetings online, Bible study, prayer, and short-term mission?

“I am most looking forward to getting to know the other Emerging Leaders, and hearing about what God is doing in their lives, and finding out what God might do through all of us working together,” says Ana, a Connector from Ohio.

Josquin, a Trailblazer from Rhode Island, explains, “As an Emerging Leaders cohort member I am most looking forward to meeting and worshipping with people from different cultural backgrounds.”


Emerging Leaders cohorts meet once every other month, which allows participation from all over the world. In these meetings, young adults have the space to engage in conversation and study the Bible with one another and with IM global servants. Nicole assigns each cohort one of the four gospels with instructions to read the whole gospel and create a unique representation of it.

In the Trailblazer cohort, Alex (from New York) and Ruth (from Puerto Rico) chose to represent the Gospel of Luke by writing an inductive Bible study comparing an English and a Spanish version of the gospel. “Reading an entire gospel felt daunting,” Alex says. “I ended up taking more time reading through Luke than I was expecting because I kept re-reading the passages that I got stuck on. There were sections I’d never read before and quite a few that were familiar. It’s something I could see myself doing again with another book of the Bible.”

A group of Connectors who were assigned the Gospel of Mark created a video of the gospel, telling the story with the use of household objects to represent biblical figures. For Connector Ricky, who is an MK in the Dominican Republic, “The activities, meditations, discussions, and prayers have peeled away the surface level of my faith to produce an impact on how I interact with my neighbors today.”


Last June, twelve Emerging Leaders braved any nerves they may have felt in traveling alone for the first time to go to Puerto Rico for a week in person together. The week included time to serve others, seek God, and attend the American Baptist Biennial Mission Summit.

One group of Emerging Leaders served in a local neighborhood, power washing a home with hurricane damage and painting a second one.

The other group helped a church prepare their Vacation Bible School activities. On their third day, they all partnered with the American Baptist Home Mission Societies to pack 550 educational backpacks and 250 hygiene backpacks for local communities.

“These young adults have a desire to follow God’s calling,” Nicole says. “Some are still in the discernment process with a blurry path ahead of them. Others are working to take one step at a time. During their time together, there was not a day that passed that you could not hear individuals sharing their faith walk, their struggles, and their questions. Each one held the others in respect and love.”

For Naomi, a Connector from Ohio, Emerging Leaders has provided the opportunity to meet more like-minded young people, learn more about mission, and serve in mission: “[I can] step out into who I’m meant to be, and who God has made me to be, and let his light shine through me and not be afraid what others think.”

Do you want to help the next generation embrace God’s call?

Your gift to International Ministries’ General Fund makes possible all of IM’s ministries and initiatives, including the new Emerging Leaders’ program. Give a gift today to invest in the next generation of leaders.