Training Young Leaders: Uptick

Uptick partnered with Arrabon to develop resources and provide training to young and emerging ministry leaders engaged in urban and cross-cultural contexts and justice.


5 minutes

Nov 12, 2021

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Uptick, a ministry of the Baptist General Association of Virginia that finds and forms the next generation of Jesus shaped leaders, partnered with Arrabon to equip early career pastors in metropolitan areas to build bridges with civility for the flourishing of their communities. Over a series of several engagements Arrabon developed biblically-rooted content to help train pastors for effective cross-cultural and social justice-oriented ministry. The initiative is called Uptick Catalyst.


In 2018 Uptick received a grant to expand its proven model of leadership formation to focus on young pastors serving in urban, cross-cultural, and social justice-oriented areas of ministry. It knew how to reach and shape leaders, but needed help developing content that was appropriately contextualized to their ministry environments.

I was convinced the next phase of innovation for Uptick was to engage leaders working in the metropolitan contexts and around social justice issues. As an organization that is predominantly white, we intentionally wanted – and felt conviction that we needed – more diversity in the Uptick family — to have that become the norm.”

Laura McDaniel, Director of Uptick Catalyst


Arrabon started by establishing a biblical vision for how race matters for the kingdom of God in a resource that is now available as the Race, Class, and the Kingdom of God study series. It subsequently took leaders through a course of Race and Kingdom Identity which examines specific stories and characters from scripture to help leaders see the powerful ways God uses our ethnicity to empower our ministry. In recent months Arrabon has been collaborating with the Uptick Catalyst community to develop the Matthew 25 study series, focused on stories of healing and grace that model God’s command to serve the “least of these”.


Arrabon’s partnership with Uptick Catalyst has been innovative since the start. It continues to be an important space to identify the unique needs of ministry leaders working in minority or cross-cultural and urban contexts. It is also a valuable way to engage early career leaders in shaping and refining the resources that can help them but also serve leaders who come after them.

The teaching and training I received from Arrabon has already changed the way I do ministry. It helped me see how central our racial and ethnic identities are for how we reflect Christ in the world.”

Pastor Vernon Gordon, The Life Church, Richmond, VA

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