A group of students in front of a frozen waterfall at the end of our hike
We kicked off the third day of Summit listening to Dr. Rick Lytle, Dean of the College of Business, talk about inspiring a shared vision. Outside of the guest speakers who we got to listen to, this particular lesson on leadership was probably my favorite. One of the biggest things I walked away from was the simple idea that,
“We don’t think big enough, often enough.”
This is an incredibly difficult concept to grasp, because often as leaders we try to cover all the bases and make sure we don’t have any obvious liabilities. However, in this process it is very easy for leadership to lose sight of any big goals it may have.
One incredible example of a group who never lost sight of its big goals is Mission Lazarus, a nonprofit relief organization located in Honduras. Mission Lazarus was founded by ACU alum Jarrod Brown; luckily for us, Jarrod and his family were actually at Summit, where we had the opportunity to listen to Jarrod speak and then to work through a case study with him and his wife, Allison.
Jarrod Brown, of Mission Lazarus
Jarrod began his speech by talking about the kind of person he was when he was here at ACU. He explained that he’d been completely consumed with the idea of making money, and that God really had no place in his life. Immediately after graduating, he jumped on the corporate ladder and landed an unbelievable consulting job that most COBA grads would love to attain.
However, he began to realize he wasn’t fulfilled, and after visiting Honduras on a short-term mission trip, Jarrod began to feel God leading him towards permanent residence in Honduras.
Jarrod’s story struck a chord with a lot of the students at Summit. After all, most of us are currently studying business here at COBA, and a lot of us would like to get a great, high-paying job straight out of college. Because of the parallel that Jarrod’s story had with many of our own, the points he made about living for Christ really struck home:
- The most important investments you will make are those in your family.
- Don’t settle for the status quo.
- Live what you claim to be.
Listening to Jarrod, I was reminded of the unique opportunity that I have to be a part of COBA. I can’t imagine studying business anywhere else, and if I do anything but use that opportunity to bring God glory, then I am making a lesser choice. Instead of allowing myself to do what I want to do, I need to seek God’s will for my life and my calling, something that I can begin working on right now. As Jarrod pointed out,
“You need to decide who you are and what you stand for today.”
What do you stand for?
Much like the first day, the second day of Summit was packed full of small groups, speakers, and team activities. However, on this second day the emphasis was on the role of leadership in the church.
In order to help us better understand this complex topic, Rick Atchley, senior minister of The Hills Church, delivered one of the most challenging messages I’ve ever heard on the desperate need for leadership in America’s churches today.
Rick Atchley, Senior Minister at The Hills Church
During his lecture, a lot of Mr. Atchley’s words made an impression on me. However, one of the biggest things I walked away with was his statement that,
“You must minister from your blessing instead of for a blessing.”
This point really got me thinking. I’m only nineteen, but throughout my life I’ve seen numerous individuals go into ministry and then get burned out. Mr. Atchley’s statement made me stop and think about how critical it is to allow ourselves to be filled by God before we try to serve and minister to others. I also wondered how often we as the church forget about this step and then wonder why we seem to have nothing to offer others.
In addition to hearing thought-provoking speakers like Mr. Atchley who caused me to examine and reassess my thinking, I also loved the case studies in which we got to participate.
The unique thing about these case studies is that they were written by our guest speakers and draw on real experiences from their lives. After discussing the case studies amongst ourselves, we then discussed these case studies as a class with the speakers who wrote them.
Throughout this process, we were given the opportunity to process the way we would behave before hearing how older and wiser individuals actually chose to handle things.
All in all, listening to Mr. Atchley challenged me to rethink my role in the church and in God’s bigger story for my life.
What is your role in that story?
Students participated in relays and other games during team activity time
Over Christmas break I had the opportunity to spend five days in Buena Vista, Colorado participating in COBA’s 15th annual Leadership Summit.
That’s right; I earned three hours of upper level business credit while listening to some of the most prominent church and business leaders in the world and living in the midst of this:
Because I was so busy hiking through the Rockies and eating dinner with guests like Stephen Quinn, Chief Marketing Officer of Wal-Mart, I didn’t have time to blog while I was at Summit. As a result, I’m now playing catch up, and while a couple of paragraphs come nowhere close to capturing the life-changing experience that is Leadership Summit, I’m going to do my best to give you some highlights from each day. Hopefully this meager snapshot will give you a better idea of the life-changing five days that compose Leadership Summit.
Leadership Summit: Day 1
Because Summit supports the perspective that leadership should transcend all aspects of life, our first day on the mountain was about leadership in the family. As a result, our speakers on this first day were very family-oriented.
This remarkable ensemble of presenters was made up of Greg and Erin Smalley, of the Marriage and Family Formation department of Focus on the Family, Glenn Stanton, director of Family Formation Studies at Focus on the Family, and Lisa Anderson, director of young adults for Focus on the Family. Together, these speakers delivered powerful, humor-infused lectures on everything from the importance of communication in relationships to the top reasons young adults don’t mature.
While I was impressed with the messages delivered by all four speakers, my favorite part of the first day was actually the time we got to spend in small groups with mentoring couples. COBA invited four couples young couples to talk about what life had been like as they entered the real world, pursued careers, and started families. As a result, they were able to give us students some insight into how the next ten or fifteen years of our lives might play out.
As I listened to these incredible leaders share stories from their lives and advice on how to deal with other people, one of them reminded us of this quote from Teddy Roosevelt:
“People don’t care how much you know unless they know how much you care.”
This is why relationships matter, whether in the family or in the workplace. At COBA, we understand that knowledge alone is not what makes a great leader. A great leader goes beyond knowledge, because a great leader is someone who cares.
Dr. Andy Little
COBA has named Dr. Andy Little as Director of Global Programs in the College of Business Administration. In this role, Dr. Little will help craft and oversee COBA study abroad strategy and operations and will act as a resource for SITC study abroad programs and liaison to ACU’s Center for International Education (CIE). Dr. Little will help COBA identify and evaluate study abroad non-hub sites as needed and will serve as a resource for ACU hub (Oxford, Montevideo, Leipzig) and COBA/SITC non-hub faculty hosts.
Dr. Little brings a passion for study abroad, experience co-leading the COBA 2012 study abroad experience in Honduras, broad multi-disciplinary interests, and strong networking skills.
Prior to Dr. Little assuming this role, Dr. Darryl Jinkerson did prodigious work on a new study abroad philosophy and strategy for the college. He propelled us forward with his plans and networking. We are thankful too for Mike Winegeart‘s leadership for several years previously and to Stephen Shewmaker‘s ongoing partnership and leadership in the CIE for ACU study abroad.