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Christian Leadership Development Sessions


What Is CHARACTER About?

The word character is derived from the Greek word kharakter, which means an "engraved or stamped symbol." When used the describe a person, the word implies that there are certain traits or qualities that are engraved into a person's being and leave behind a "stamp" that is their mark of who they are. As Christian leaders, we are invited to ask ourselves what our "stamp" is. What traits and qualities will we embody as we lead others?

These elements of character are slowly formed within us, especially at this transformative time of life known as "college." During this time, our identity is shaped, our character is formed, and our traits and qualities are established. We are all on a formation journey, but as Christians in particular, we are invited to be formed into the character of Jesus.

The CHARACTER program is about Christian formation. We identify Jesus as the perfect example of traits and qualities that we, as Christian leaders, would like to embody. Leadership begins here, in our character formation, and not in how charismatic we are, how well we work with teams, and how well we communicate (as important as all of that is!). In fact, when Jesus calls the first disciples to leadership in Matthew 4:19, His first statement is not "Go, do good works," but rather it is "Come, follow Me."

The goal of the CHARACTER sessions is to establish in students the characteristics of one who emulates Christ. Without this, leadership is not necessarily Christian. It is our hope and belief that students who take on the characteristics of Christ find themselves better equipped to face the challenges of leadership in student ministries in the future.



Interested in applying to our 2016-2017 cohort?

Click Here to apply by October 9!


A Brief History

CHARACTER began as a pilot program in the Spring of 2016 with 12 first year students. The vision started with a desire to intentionally invest in and train first year students, especially those seeking to serve in ministry leadership roles in the future. Within a few months, several important staff members involved in spiritual life on campus caught on to the vision and helped bring it to life.

The first cohort went through a curriculum of workshops led by faculty and staff on campus, including two meetings at faculty members' homes. Faculty and staff from across many departments were involved, such as Housing & Residence Life, the Counseling Center, International Programs, Intercultural Affairs, Campus Ministry, and more. At the end of the program, students were treated to a benediction by Dean of Students Mark Davis, in addition to receiving a certificate of completion from the University Chaplain Sara Barton.

These students are now serving in several different leadership roles on and off campus, such as being a Resident Advisor, a Hospitality Crew member, the Inter-Club Council President, and more. Some of them have shared their story briefly on this page, and some will come in to this year's workshops to encourage the next cohort of students.


The 2016-2017 Cohort

The 2016-2017 cohort will go through a 12-week program, split up into 6 weeks in late Fall and 6 weeks in early Spring (we will not meet during breaks). Applications are due OCTOBER 9, and the program will begin the week of OCTOBER 17. Each week will be a 90 minute meeting, many of which will be led by some of the best professors and deans/directors on campus. There will not be any homework, but there will be suggested activities throughout the week. And best of all, it's FREE!

Below are some more highlights from the program:
• A curriculum designed for Christian spiritual formation and leadership development, including topics such as "The Vision of the Kingdom," "The Road to Transformation," and "From Isolation to Congregation"
• Discussions led by faculty and staff such as Dusty Breeding (Campus Ministry), Dr. Connie Horton (Counseling Center), Sara Barton (University Chaplain), and more.
• All resources provided, such as books and materials, StrengthsQuest and similar inventories, and snacks and fellowship activities
• Special invitation to a FREE 3-day retreat from January 6-8, 2017 (before Spring semester) for ministry leaders on campus such as SLAs, Student-Led Ministries, Campus Ministry, etc.
• Connection to staff members on campus who are looking for future interns, student workers, and ministry leaders
• Certificate of completion signed by the Vice President of Student Affairs and/or the University Chaplain

On your application, you will be asked to indicate which times you are available throughout the week. Based on that, we will select a cohort meeting time of 90 minutes each week, starting the week of October 17 and continuing until late February. Please be aware that you are expected to commit to the full 12-week program if you apply!

Applications are due Sunday, October 9 at 11:59 PM. We will review applicants and select a cohort of 12 students within a week. If you have any questions, feel free to email! We look forward to receiving your application!