On Friday 2nd on March we set off from Ballina to Canberra, for the Compass Foundation Conference, which gathered senior leaders from christian schools all around Australia. A few topics we were both inspired by were the message from Mark, ‘Listen, Imagine, Create’ and from Jeff who spoke all about leadership and how we can be effective leaders within our school community. Something that shifted our perspective was the idea that so much of our identity is defined through self-promotion and consumerism; through our leadership we wish to build others up rather than ourselves. Mark’s point of view that “Self-awareness and self-expression give way to impression management and self promotion” caused us to evaluate how we are bearing the image of God through our leadership as school captains.

One of the most applicable messages that spoke out to both Jardine and I was the “Listen, Imagine and Create” speech by Mark. Within this message, Mark shared with us some valuable skills that we can apply to develop our christian leadership. He began with the importance of listening to others, and how listening well creates us space to learn and grow within our leadership. He also highlighted that God called us to be creative and imaginative leaders that serve others with the intention to listen well. As leaders, we must put others before ourselves and take time out to listen and consider other people’s visions and ideas. He continued with the mid-process of Imagining, which is the process of planning and evaluation.

Mark explained to us that in order to imagine well we need to be Aching visionaries. Visionaries that see the way the world is, and envision how the world could be. To imagine well, we need to identify issues and go beyond the ordinary. When we imagine a resourceful idea we then Create. To create wisely we must listen and imagine well. If we follow this process we can have an impact to those around the school, and strive to be aching visionaries. To further explain this method of leadership Mark created an analogy of a reader and an author which he quotes, “Change of posture, shift your perspective of being a reader to being an author of our culture.” Mark’s quote identifies how a leader should impact and view the world, which has inspired both Jardine and I to be impactful authors of new ideas to the school and other communities.

Colossians 1:19-20 says
19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Jardine and I want to apply this skill in our leadership to better serve the school as well as God to contribute to the world he is redeeming.

‘Leadership’

Jeff’s message about leadership inspired Ayana and I to come back to school with ideas to inspire others and become better leaders for our school. Jeff defined a leader to be someone with God given capacity and God given compassion to influence people toward His purpose. God has given Ayana and I the incredible opportunity to be the school captains and we believe that he has a purpose for our leadership so that we can influence our peers to pursue his purpose within the school. We were challenged by the idea that leadership is more than just a title and productivity but that it’s about the people and influencing them towards their purpose.

Jeff highlighted the importance of being able to lead yourself before leading others, because culture of society today will try to change and write your story. He followed this with the quote from Edwin Friedman “Mature leadership begins with the leader’s capacity to take responsibility for his or her own emotional being and destiny”. Being Christians we believe it is important that we lead from a Christian perspective; out of our faith and leading other with love. Jeff explained that Christian leadership formation is an act of cultural resistance, and that we need to break away from the negative impacts of the culture our society is setting and display the love of Christ through all that we do.

To do this he gave five formational tips for achieving these things, the first was to pay attention to your feelings because your emotions are indicators of a belief. Number two is to experiment with concentration; a concentrated mind is a powerful mind, having a powerful mind helps with influencing others but it also helps with influencing your character. Three- is to have fun. Four: is learning together, since human development is profoundly social it’s important to do things together; two people are better than one because together they can help each other succeed; if one person falls the other can reach out and help. We believe this is so important throughout our leadership to always help each other and our peers to succeed in all they do and when we do fall or something doesn’t go as planned we want to be people who are there to help and pick them back up. And the fifth formational tip is the most important: sleep. All leadership behaviour relies on the functioning of the brain and basic visual and motor skills deteriorate when people are deprived of sleep.

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