Why Formation Matters in Student Leadership | Mark Ryan

9 November 2021

My friend and Compass colleague Jeff Nagle uses three simple words to help reframe leadership: Be, Do and See. As leaders we often focus our attention on doing, on the activity of leadership. That is, how we present ourselves in public, how we build and lead teams, how we make decisions, and how we enact change. However, the leaders who last are those who not only attend to their leadership skills, but deeply invest in their own formation.

 

"I can only answer the question “What am I to do?”
if I can answer the prior question “Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?”
Alasdair MacIntyre 

 

Our desire as Christian schools is that we may play our part in raising student leaders who will faithfully translate the Gospel into every aspect of society and culture. But this necessitates that we allow space for student leaders to understand their being and their seeing. As they recognise their true identity as image bearers of God, and as they orient their vision of life around God’s restorative mission, the doing of leadership takes on new and profound meaning.

In fact, when the doing of leadership is not adequately grounded in the being and seeing of leadership, it can often be fragile, vacuous, and at worst, even dangerous. In other words, leadership formation really matters.


 

The Offering an expansive vision of our identity and calling also seeks to address the disconnect that young people often feel between their faith, their work, and the issues of the world around them. It is heartbreaking that many young Christians walk away from their faith as they enter adulthood because they don’t see how the Gospel changes everything.

The Compass Student Leaders’ Conference is not a leadership conference in the conventional sense. We don’t jump straight to the “how to” of leadership. We start with the premise that we live and lead out of story. Alasdair MacIntyre rightly notes that: I can only answer the question “What am I to do?” if I can answer the prior question “Of what story or stories do I find myself a part?”.


 

At Compass we talk a lot about story.

The stories that shape us. The stories we live out of.

Our hope at Compass is that as student leaders are formed by the Biblical story and its vision for life, and as they consider how they are invited to participate in God’s unfolding story for the world, that they might be inspired in their leadership at school and the opportunities they will have across their lifetime.


 

That their imagination might be transformed.
That they might wrestle with the implications of the Gospel for every facet of our culture.

 

That they might bring life and creativity and blessing to our world
 
 


Our hope is that students in Christian schools all across Australia may become leaders who:
Know the Gospel. Know the Culture. Translate. 

REGISTER NOW | 2022 Compass Student Leaders' Conference

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