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Christians cannot wake up or spill their coffee without hearing about leadership.
But what is leadership?
About a year ago I was introduced to Leadership Lessons from Dancing Guy by Derek Sivers, and it revolutionized my understanding of leadership. I’ve attached the short video below and included the transcript at the bottom.
Though I have no reason to believe Mr. Sivers is a Christian, and though nothing he said in his video was a quote from the Bible, he still made some extremely biblical observations about leadership that I would like to borrow and apply directly to the Church.
I love the outdoors!
I garden, keep bees, hunt, hike, camp, rock climb, ski . . . I love it all. I especially enjoy survival training.
WildHeart Adventure Camp combines two things that mean a lot to me: God’s Truth and the outdoors.
Victory Academy is a non-profit organization that ministers to young men in the spacious woods of Wisconsin. It’s a beautiful place where truly beautiful work is done for families. Victory runs this 4 WEEK camp with the goal of teaching young men how to survive and enjoy the creation God has given them.
This means far more than merely starting fires.
True success only comes by being grounded in God’s absolute, unchanging truth.
WildHeart works their three “S’s” into everything they do. Whether white-water rafting, camping, or rock climbing, the boys learn the importance of Service, Skills, and Spirit.
Check out their promotional video here and then click through to the WildHeart website for more information.
Here’s an excerpt from their material:
WildHeart Adventure Camp grew out of a burden from God to train young men as leaders in three vital areas:
“Service“- because true Biblical leadership is servant-leadership. Incorporated with the whole program is an emphasis on using the skills learned to serve others. From the first aid training to rock climbing, all skills are taught in a way that helps our guys focus on others first. This aspect is a robust part of the spiritual teaching and growth they will experience as well. I Peter 4:10, “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace:”
“Skills” – because a young man needs to be challenged in areas where he is weak or ignorant so he learns to seek and listen to wisdom. This will help him be a lifelong learner continually seeking wisdom. Proverbs 3 says, “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.”
“Spirit” – because training a young man to pursue God, love him and others first prepares him for a life of godliness and Biblical leadership. I Timothy 6:11, “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.”
The program consists of four weeks of adventure camping throughout the northern woods of Wisconsin and the south eastern woods of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We utilize many state parks, public water areas as well as adventure organization facilities.
Each week includes training in each facet of our core values. From trail development to physical training to swimming and backpacking, our campers never have trouble falling asleep at night. Along with intense spiritual teaching, one on one discipleship and individual studies in the Bible, we mix a strong dose of adventure fun including paintball, rappelling and whitewater rafting just to name a few.
Service projects make up part of the schedule as well as we help with local church projects, the elderly and other non-profit organizations.
Your son will experience life changing growth and leave with fantastic memories of a summer that helped him transition toward godly manhood while enjoying exciting outdoor adventure in the beautiful north woods.
For Your Consideration:
“Let’s Learn from Creation”
Before He made man, God made dirt.
The first job He ordained? Gard’ner.
Yet the stain we all hate
Is the substance from which we were made,
And the job we refuse
Is the one man requires for food.
Children of Light cannot grow
Without the desire to know
More about the world God created.
How sad for a child separated
From the earth his Lord proclaimed, “Good.”
Let’s all reconnect with the wood.
Let’s see in the chaff and the wheat
Lessons ordained for this week.
Let us learn from the sparrow
That our Father will not suffer
His children, forgotten to cry.
Let’s learn from the ant to be wise.
Don’t bother to hug the rough bark.
You needn’t picket or build a new ark.
But take every chance that is there
To enjoy what the Heavens declare
About God Who chose to make sand,
And from it, create His first man.
Two years had passed since I taught my first 6th grade class as SCS. But it was time to say goodbye to elementary. I found out over the summer that I would be moving up to the secondary level. I know not everyone agrees with me, but I love working with older kids. I find their reasoning skills are more defined, and they don’t always take everything at face value. If you’re not 100% genuine with them . . . they see it. I also have a burden for them because their level of independence is catching up with their decision-making abilities. If they do not have a firm foundation in God’s truth, they will flounder and fall once the world is turned loose on them. Side Note: You’re not turning your kids loose on the world. You’re sending them out into the battlefield. I guarantee you the Army didn’t send a bunch of new recruits to storm Osama Bin Laden’s bunker. The commanding officers knew the enemy would destroy them. So why do we send off our unprepared young people into the world as if the world is the one who should watch out?! But I digress.
My new semester lineup included JH Bible, JH Speech, 9th grade English, 11th grade Economics, SH Speech, and Yearbook. I also took on the upcoming 9th grade homeroom. As the year progressed I was reminded every day why I love my job. I had the opportunity to take things like diagramming sentences, Jevon’s principle of diminishing marginal utility, and proper voice projection and apply it directly to my students’ lives. God’s Word came alive in discussions of friendship, moral tone, insatiability, and persuasion. Side Note: If you can’t find God in the mundane, you will struggle to find Him anywhere.
This continued for 3 years, and every summer my school room became a camp ground. But during second semester of my 5th year (3rd year teaching high school), the Lord provided me with a new challenge. Our school, like every other, is full of sinners (we teachers are included). But for the most part, the teachers are the ones pointing the way up the path of righteousness, and there are always a core of students who want nothing to do with it. In fact, they are setting up neon signs pointing down the opposite way. Human nature being what it is, who do the fence-sitting students want to be like? Do they want to emulate their teachers . . . or their friends? So, every day the students become more like each other in the giant cookie-cutter factory. Of course, you’re wondering “What about those kids who genuinely love the Lord and want to serve Him?” I have two questions for you: 1. Where you that kid? 2. How were you treated? I think we adults become senile a lot earlier than we believe when we allow ourselves to think that the scorners in our schools aren’t tearing down our kids left, right, and center. Once again, let’s use the Army metaphor. These new recruits know they want to serve their country, but they have no idea how to fight. If the enemy infiltrates the ranks, there is little hope.
So, how do you help the problem? Train the soldiers with a sense of urgency! I had the idea to start developing student leaders by instituting a Student Body Council program. We had a quasi-student leadership program before but it had deteriorated into a popularity contest between which heathen and which pagan had the most friends. Side Note: If your students leaders aren’t outspoken testimonies for Christ . . . they shouldn’t be student leaders.
Please don’t misunderstand me. No one is perfect. I have seen my fair share of college Prayer Captains, high school Student Body Presidents, and (dare I say) church pastors do one thing or another to disqualify them from their position. But that doesn’t mean we throw the baby out with the proverbial bath water. I say, “No!” We don’t give up discipling because we know they’ll never be perfect!
My plan behind the SBC was four-fold: 1. Give the students visible and productive roles within the school in order to be a good example. 2. Allow the students to suggest and even enact change that would help our school conform to God’s will for us. 3. To teach the students how to handle themselves like adults. Teach them to run meetings, vote, brain-storm, and produce a quality product without being harassed or cajoled by an authority figure. 4. Disciple them. I desired to use this council as an opportunity to find those God-loving young people and work with them one-on-one to become true leaders for Christ.
The student body was started and I have to say that our first experimental semester went very well, and I am looking forward to next year’s council. I’m also excited about some of the SBC’s summer projects!
But this service opportunity quickly shot off another tendril of service opportunities. Side Note: Do what God calls you to do and watch the opportunities multiply! I can’t actually remember how I got it into my head, but I was inspired in part by a friend. Yohannan Lee works at SCS in the kitchen, but he also is a tremendous help to me when it comes to Yearbook. Yo, is a gifted photographer and graphic designer. He created five of our Yearbook covers, takes tons of photos, Photoshops them all, and loves every minute of it. He is also a videographer. It just so happens that photography, graphic design, and videography are some of my passions as well.
Before long he and I created Student Body Films to function as our production company. We also founded Three Hands Studios to handle the technical side. In that first semester the Lord allowed us to produce the following projects and start our own YouTube channel.
The first was delivered by our Student Body President as a way to introduce the new SBC and to tell the student body a little bit about how she viewed her school
The second was just for fun. Our basketball teams were both competing in the Illinois state IACS competition and we wanted to liven things up a bit.
Our third and longest project was designed to help our junior highers as they prepared for the state fine arts tournament.
The final finished project promoted our school play, Anne of Green Gables.
The overall goal is to help the student leaders have an impact far beyond the four wall of their school. We want to show the other students that they can make a difference for Christ if they just try. So far these few videos have been watched over 2,500 in over 20 countries. Next fall we will focus on more educational and spiritual projects as well as the occasional entertaining film.
Side Note: Never be ambitious for power and glory. But don’t pass on opportunities to widen your circle of influence. When He was bodily on earth, Jesus had hundreds of disciples, 12 apostles, 3 in His inner circle, and 1 who was considered the closest to Him (note that I did not say favorite). You don’t have to be intimate with everyone, but if you can write a book, keep up a blog, post videos on YouTube, or preach to people who most individuals will never have the chance to meet . . . then do it!
Pray for our student leaders. If God can capture their hearts and train them to serve Him with all of their minds, bodies, and strength they will be a powerful enemy against Satan and his destructive purposes. Train up the children!