News - It Only Takes a Spark

It Only Takes a Spark

Written by Lexi Baysinger. Logo by Lisa Burhannah. It Only Takes a Spark

On Friday, March 28thGreenville College hosted its first annual Spark Leadership Conference. Thanks to the efforts of GCSA, students were treated throughout the day to professors and guests who spoke on different aspects of leadership. The day started in Chapel with author Jeff Shinabarger, author of More or Less, and the topic of what generosity means in terms of being leaders. In his message, Shinabarger shared 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, and spend more.” In the end, it will be up to our generation to break this cycle.

In the afternoon, students had the opportunity to hear President Ivan FilbyJohn Massena, Suzanne DavisNorm Hall, and Jane Bell's views on leadership. Each speaker covered a different topic, ranging from leading as a follower of God to leading through actions to how to lead by following.

President Filby’s message was titled “Leading Isn’t Always Easy, That is Why We Follow the Leader.” Within this, Pres. Filby discussed with students that positions of leadership often have a way of affecting friendships and causing occasional loneliness and doubt. Pres. Filby then offered advice on how to cope with the hardships brought on by roles of leadership. He stressed the importance of moving slower, reading Scripture, praying, and being vulnerable and transparent. While giving great advice and counsel on leadership, Filby's views challenge students to step back from their traditional views of the "perfect leader".

John Massena shared his views on “Leading Through Actions”. However, instead of speaking on the correlation between actions and leadership, Massena confronted audience members with an idea of leading out of stillness. To Massena, one of the most important aspects of leadership is being able to find time for silence and stillness. American culture constantly demands constant action and progress, causing many to burn out before reaching their potential. Non-action, the conscious choice to be still, is one of the most difficult tasks for young generations used to constant stimulation. While silence can make most uncomfortable, it is vital in leadership. After all the Lord constantly works in the stillness of our hearts.

Overall, Spark Leadership Conference was a success. Students were treated with an all-day seminar providing guidance from influential GC faculty and staff who currently hold leadership positions. It was a day where students and non-students alike could learn what it means to be a Christian leader in the 21st century, something that is seldom taught but always expected.

The original version of this article first appeared in our online student newspaper, The Papyrus.

This story was published on April 25, 2014

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