This week’s blog is taken from an article written by Dr. Filimao Chambo, Regional Education Coordinator & Regional Director for Africa. His summary remarks on my commencement speech were included in the online publication, “Out of Africa” ( Vol. 15, October 19, 2009). I invite you to read Dr. Chambo’s comments and the attached full commencement address (Click Here)
NAHEC Swaziland Celebrates First Graduation Ceremony
NAHEC (Nazarene Higher Education Consortium) in Swaziland celebrated the graduation of 220 students who successfully completed the academic qualifications for nursing, teaching, and pastoral training at Sharpe Memorial Church of the Nazarene in Manzini, Swaziland, on 03 October 2009. This was an historic and joyous event, as less than two years earlier, on 22 October 2007, the Nazarene College of Theology, Nazarene College of Nursing, and Nazarene College of Education in Swaziland merged as the initial step towards the formation of a Nazarene University in Swaziland. The three colleges are now operating under the auspices of the Nazarene Higher Education Consortium (NAHEC).
In his commencement address, Dr LeBron Fairbanks, Commissioner of Education for the International Church of the Nazarene, proposed that “caring for others… is the measure of greatness”. He addressed three leadership questions that have captivated him during his years in Christian higher education:
#1. How can we live together as Christians so that our relationships are redemptive and a witness to unbelievers of the reconciling work of God in Christ?
#2. If, “in Christ, all things are made new,” then how does our relation ship with Christ transform the way we lead?
#3. In conflict situations, especially when seemingly irreconcilable expectations are placed on the leader, how can we lead in those situations, really lead, with “the mind of Christ”?
Fairbanks continued, “Our responses to them, I believe, determine our measure of greatness. Good and Godly people will differ and often collide with us over vision and values. In these moments, great leaders choose to ‘care deeply”.
To summarize: outstanding leaders are usually known for their decisiveness and fierce resolve. For great Christian leaders, you will also find that they:
1. Speak Gracefully. They watch the words they speak.
2. Live Gratefully. They don’t whine or cry but are grateful.
3. Listen Intently. They seek first to understand.
4. Forgive Freely. They are proactive in extending forgiveness.
5. Lead Humbly. They harness the power of community life and make decisions with much grace and deep humility.
6. Pray Earnestly. They believe that God can work in them to become the change they desire to see in others.
1. What do you believe is the true measure of a person’s greatness?
2. What is your response to the characteristics of “Caring Leaders” outlined in the address?
Caring Christians… Care Deeply. They value people, not power.
Determine to make this care and concern for others,
this gentleness and kindness,
your measure of greatness!