College Leadership Team on Retreat
Mary our Mother and Sister: Model of Christian Leadership
This week the College Leadership Team spent a day reflecting on our roles as senior leaders in the Santa Maria community. Facilitated by Doctor Reverand Elio Capra, we reflected on the leadership attributes of Mary and other powerful women. We considered our leadership styles, qualities, mission, and the challenges we face as Christian leaders. Father Elio urged us to be Christian leaders who are future focussed, counter-cultural and brave, leading a community with nothing to offer but our own vulnerable selves.
‘Pause for Clarity’
As we focussed on the outstanding leadership qualities of Mary, we were invited to embody her spirit of humility and service. Just as Mary placed her whole trust in God, our first task as Christian leaders is to pause for clarity, as Mary did, and to place our trust firmly in God.
We were encouraged to keep ourselves from being pulled from one urgent issue to another, instead seeking clarity from God before we proceed with any decision. What also became clear is that Christian leaders cannot simply have well-informed opinions about the burning issues of our time. Instead, Christian leadership is rooted in the permanent, intimate relationship with Jesus and the need to find in Him the source for our words, actions, and guidance.
Through an exploration of art, we considered the radical difference between Christian leadership and the leadership style offered by the world. A Christian leader is a servant, one who is vulnerable and needs the people as much as they need their leader.
4 Essential Elements of Christian Leadership
Christian leadership requires service—lots of it. It means being a shepherd (1 Peter 5:2-3) and taking the lead in difficult circumstances: being the first one out of the boat when the shore looks dangerous and the last one out when the boat is sinking.
Christian Leaders live ordered lives. This means ensuring one’s heart is rightly ordered, mirroring as much as possible the desires of God and seeking to become more like Christ. (Philippians 2:1-13). It requires leaders to have a clear direction and vision for their team and empower others through considerate and respectful feedback and guidance.
Christian Leadership requires a pursuit of holiness. The Apostle Paul says this well in Titus 1:7, where he writes, “For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach.” Much of contemporary culture elevates the self and personal desires above others. In contrast, Christian leaders are selfless and elevate the needs of others above self.
Christian Leaders are attentive. Christian leadership requires ongoing attentiveness and commitment to all areas of life. God calls Christian leaders to be men and women who continually honour God with their lives and lips.
The day ended with a moving Mass, celebrated outside in the beautiful grounds of the retreat centre. As a final prayer, our leaders offered their praise and thanks to God for the opportunity to lead the Santa Maria community, just as Mary praised and thanked God for the way he blessed her. We were invited to write our own song of praise to God as Mary did in the Magnificat. ‘My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord’ Luke 1:37.
Renewed in our mission as Christian leaders of our community, we pray that God will give us the courage, wisdom, and humility to lead those we have been called to serve and bless all our endeavours.
Jilly Landers | Director of Mission