Developing Tomorrow’s Leaders
Q Ideas, there was an idea. It was a simple idea. As Christians, we should be about the business of restoring cultures, not just individuals. For founder Gabe Lyons, this meant setting out “to reintroduce Christians to what had seemed missing in recent decades from an American expression of Christian faithfulness; valuing both personal and cultural renewal, not one over the other.”
This purpose led to gatherings. What if we could have the difficult conversations? What if we could hold these conversations on the campuses of our colleges and universities? Since the Q stands for “questions”, this seemed like a great place to host these events. And what if we could go one step further by helping local students develop their leadership and presentation skills?
Q Union is such an event. A scheduling difficulty kept Grace College from hosting the event when it was simulcast live last October. It was rescheduled for this past week.
This year’s Q Union event was kicked off by David Brooks, from the New York Times, who spoke on cultivating virtue. Like planting a seed, David urged his audience to understand success as committing to other people. When we create covenants, we don’t do so out of self-interest. We establish covenants in order to create something new, something larger than either party involved.
Other speakers included Kara Powell, of the Fuller Youth Institute. She spoke to how we should confront our technology addiction, maintaining our productivity without enslaving ourselves. She said enslavement happens when we feel the need to have technology simply to feel okay.
Jason Petty, more famously known as spoken word artist Propaganda, spoke passionately about living in today’s complicated moment, understanding our own identity and how this connects us with everyone else.
We also had three Grace College students share as part of the event. Though they had the predictable fears of getting the hiccups or spilling something on their clothing, just before going onstage, mostly they were determined to make sure they communicated their message with precision and clarity.
Elizabeth, a sophomore Communication and Theater major, spoke on seizing our moment, noting this will be unique for each individual. Concerned with portraying her zeal for this topic, she was instructed to frame her message in a way that would benefit others. She spoke to the uniqueness of each individual, encouraging each one to embrace their past and use it to improve the overall conversation.
Though the youngest of the group, freshman Communications major Kierstyn was determined to learn and grow as she shared the importance for everyone to understand their personal biases. She noted how this included herself, something she wrestled with throughout her preparation. Acknowledging that understanding leads to unity, Kierstyn encouraged an understanding of ourselves as well as others.
All three of the students spoke of the importance of these presentations leading to more conversations. After all, what good is a lesson if there is no real world application? That, in itself, is just one of the small lessons students learn while enrolled at Grace College.
While the classroom experience is typically what we expect from our time at college, it is the supplementary opportunities which help create the whole person who is ready to achieve success in the world.