Written by Lexi Baysinger. Media by Kelsey Neier.
On Friday, March 28th, a spark landed on the Greenville College. Thanks to the efforts of GCSA, students were treated to speakers throughout the day who spoke about different aspects of leadership. The day started off in Chapel with author Jeff Shinabarger, author of More or Less. He spoke on the topic of generosity and what it meant in terms of being leaders. In his message, he brought up the point that generosity does not deal solely with financials, it is also intellectual and social, or what you do with your knowledge and time. Generosity, according to Shinabarger is giving without expecting anything in return, a biblical ideal. He explained a cycle that most Americans live in, “Get More. Want More. Spend More.” His overall message was that we would be known by the problems we solve. I think that it will be up to our generation to break this cycle.
In the afternoon, campus speakers took over, and I had the opportunity to hear both John Massena and President Ivan Filby speak about leadership. Other speakers from the day included Suzanne Davis, Norm Hall, and Jane Bell. Each speaker covered a different topic, ranging from leading as a follower of God to leading through actions to how to lead by following.
John Massena’s talk dealt with the topic titled “Leading Through Actions.” But instead of giving a speech about how actions are the way to lead people to do great things, Massena brought up the idea of leading out of stillness. To Massena, there isn’t much more important to leading than being able to find time for silence and to sit in stillness. After all, our culture is one that demands us to be doing something all the time, and that causes a lot of people to burn out quickly and rarely reach the potential that they could. He talked about the idea of non-action, the conscious choice to be still and not be doing something. This is one of the hardest things for our generation to do because we live in a culture of stimulation. The concept of sitting and breathing is foreign to most of the people of this generation. Silence makes most of us uncomfortable, but Massena says that it’s one of the most important things for a leader, after all our God is One who works in the stillness of our hearts.
President Filby’s message was titled “Leading Isn’t Always Easy, That is Why We Follow the Leader.” Pres. Filby spoke about the challenges of leadership and how being in places of leadership affect life. The challenges he discussed were interfering with friendships, a pervasive loneliness, and doubt. These challenges are a reality for every leader, especially the doubt. Everyone who holds a position of leadership feels as if they have no idea what they are doing, they doubt themselves, but often can’t admit this to the people around them because it would de-credit them. Pres. Filby then offered advice on how to deal with being a leader. He stress the importance of moving slower, reading Scripture, praying, and being vulnerable and transparent. These values definitely challenge the standard American view of what it is to be a leader. Mostly because these challenge the idea of a perfect leader, which isn’t possible, but is what people expect.
Overall, Spark was a success. Students were treated to talks with the people on campus who hold leadership positions. It was a day where people could learn what it meant to be a leader, which is something that is seldom taught to people, mostly it is expected that people just know what they are doing.