From July 9 to 13, 2013, the seventh national student Leadership Summit was hosted by Mid-America Christian University. Five of the student Leadership Summits have been hosted in Washington, DC; the last two have been held on Church of God college campuses: 2011 at AU and 2013 at MACU.
Incredible student leaders participated in this Leadership Summit (LS). The 125 high school and college leaders had to go through an application process and submit good references to be a part of this event. LS is designed to give emerging student leaders from student ministries around North America a hands-on learning experience to grow in servant leadership. There were thirty adult leaders also present, for a total of 155 in attendance at this pivotal launch pad event.
The summit is designed around family groups, typically with ten or so high school students, two college students, and two adults who learn, serve, and process together during the week. These groups become strong leadership-learning laboratories and safe places to share. College students are the main facilitators.
This year’s theme was Leadership Redefined, taken from Ephesians 4:1–6, with five subthemes: Be Humble, Be Gentle, Be Love, Be One and Be Worthy. On Tuesday night, students were asked to take off their shoes before they entered the service, indicating that for this week they were on holy ground. Steve Chiles spoke to us about being humble leaders, and experiential stations had been set up so that after he spoke, students could write to God, wash another’s feet, take Communion, draw, and express themselves to God. Shartel Church of God sponsored a pizza party afterwards.
On Wednesday, Marsha Reeder spoke on being gentle leaders in the middle of life’s disasters. Students went out to help with tornado relief in Moore, Oklahoma. They helped tear down a heavily damaged home and clear the lot with the nonprofit group ARC; temperatures that day neared one hundred degrees. That evening, family groups processed and shared God stories and MACU sponsored a dodge ball/capture the flag game and pizza party in the campus gym.
On Thursday, Mike Thigpen spoke to us about being love and what that really means. The students traveled to the Oklahoma City bombing memorial and then had some family group time at Skyline Church downtown. That evening they spent time downtown at Bricktown and enjoyed ice cream sponsored by Warner Pacific.
On Friday, Dr. Cliff Sanders spoke to us about our spiritual gifts, and then students broke up into sub groups to talk about a certain gift with a leader who had that gift. During lunch, forty students attended a gathering for students sensing a vocational call to ministry or missions. After lunch, students pulled up carpet to help MACU as they replace their old carpet. They pulled carpet up in numerous hallways in twelve minutes. Many hands make fast work! In the evening, Andy and Candace Stephenson spoke about being one in the body of Christ. Students had an incredible family group time of affirmation that evening that lasted until after midnight for some.
On Saturday, Eric Reeder (leader of LS2013) challenged us to live out servant leadership by being humble, gentle, love, one, and worthy. Students left excited to live leadership redefined.
God is at work in CHOG students. Special thanks to Eric Reeder and the LS team for their leadership and to MACU and President John Fozard for their incredible support. Keep your eyes open for LS2015 coming in the summer of 2015.