Tuesday, July 06, 2010

SMR Week 4: Incarnate Leadership with John Witte

On June 28, John Witte, Dean of Residence Life at Calvin, shared with us ideas about Leadership using Christ as a model. Before discussing five aspects of Incarnate Leadership, John asked us to consider that we can’t always know how our present state will play into the greater story of our lives. Looking back at major moments—growing up, high school, choosing a college, choosing a major—has a way of reminding us that God was there. It’s often unclear how God’s presence played a role in major life events until after the fact, sometimes years after. John encouraged the group to remember that God is with us this summer. We are in Colorado, at Snow Mountain Ranch, belonging to the Leadership Challenge Institute for a purpose. Maybe it will take years, maybe less, to realize why we are here, but God is with us—working in and through us.

John Witte then delivered to us thoughts on leading like Jesus. Undoubtedly, as Christians, we desire to model our lives as our Savior has called us to. John pointed out to us aspects of Jesus’ life and ministry that are important to remember and model in our own lives. They are:

Jesus dwelt with those he led
Jesus’ disciples beheld him
The glory of Jesus was a reflection of his Father
Jesus led with grace and truth
From the manger to the cross, Jesus sacrificed.

Using John 1:14 as the basis, we worked through these points about Jesus’ life to try and understand how to be more effective, authentic Christian Leaders. John 1:14 says: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

On Wednesday morning, a group of Calvin students, with John Witte and his sons, kayaked atop the peaceful waters of Grand Lake. The sun was warm, the water still. It was a great morning to paddle amidst the mountains on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park. The vacation homes that line the lake were nearly as awe-inspiring as the peaks that serve as their backdrop. However—and spending weeks in the Rocky Mountains has illustrated this point to us with absolute clarity— large houses, boats, and fancy cars may showcase an earthly wealth, but these mountains around which we live and play showcase a wealth of love that God has for His earth and His people.

Posted by David Hartwell on 07/06 at 03:37 PM
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Thursday, July 01, 2010

Steve Peterson: Leading with Integrity

Last Monday Chaplain Steve Peterson led the LCI group in a discussion about what it means to have integrity and how that relates to being an authentic Christian leader.

Integrity inspires trust and trust inspires confidence,” he said.

But before we got to that we spent some time discussing what integrity really means. We gave personal definitions—being consistent in words and actions, what you do even when no one is around to see, being unified, lacking corruption, the list goes on. All are good definitions, but defining integrity and living with integrity are drastically different things, the latter requiring living faithfully and living strong in our values.

And this brings us back to the quote on confidence. Having confidence in your leaders is crucial, and we, as leaders, aspire to be viewed as confident. Confidence, here, is not to be confused with arrogant or egotistical, but rather it has to do with a firm sense of unwavering trust, faith.

From Matthew 23 again, we learned about Jesus’ revulsion against hypocrisy. In this too, we as leaders need to focus on being integrity-building and not image-building. Remember, integrity inspires trust and trust inspires confidence.

Last Wednesday the Calvin Crew journeyed about 30 minutes down Highway 40 to Hot Sulphur Springs. Despite some slight mosquito irritation and the smell of sulphur, the 20+ natural hot tubs lining the mountain rocks were tranquilly peaceful. Not too shabby a way to end a day in the Rocky Mountains. 

Posted by David Hartwell on 07/01 at 11:50 AM
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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Power Of Influence: JB Britton

Please forgive the infrequency of the blog posts over the last couple weeks. The reason is anything but a lack of having things worth mentioning. We’ve been very busy out here.

On Monday June 14, we were treated to a presentation by JB Britton, the associate Dean of Student Development, about the importance of influence in a leader’s life. Once again we were told that there is more to being a leader than just having power or status or title—we don’t have to be “in charge” to be a leader.
Being influential—being somebody others want to follow—is important to being an authentic Christian leader and begins within. It involves being a person of respect, being one who cares for others, and being action oriented. In discussion, we mulled over examples of leaders who exemplified integrity and personal leadership and compared them to other leaders that did not. Following someone because you are required to is quite different than following someone because of who they are and the values they represent.

For scripture this week, we read through Matthew 23 where Jesus derides the Pharisees and Church leaders for caring more about outward appearance than about following God’s true teaching. In the passage, Jesus explains that washing the outside of the cup is not enough, “wash the inside first and then the outside also will be clean.” All leaders should follow these words.

For some examples of good and bad leaders, and for a fun Calvin outing, we made our place among the seats at Red Rocks Amphitheater for an outdoor showing of The Princess Bride. The Film on The Rocks series brought us this classic from our childhood on Tuesday night. Though many of us have seen this movie more times than we can count, there is new appreciation to be had when it’s viewed outdoors with 9,000 other fans mouthing along to the words, “As you wish” or gasping for Wesley and Buttercup while they battle the Rodents of Unusual Size (R.O.U.S’s) in the Fire Swamp.

It was a great week with JB and his family and one that prepared us well for the next with Snow Mountain Ranch’s Chaplain, Steve Peterson.

Posted by David Hartwell on 06/30 at 07:07 PM
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