We have received another allocation of RAHT kits for distribution to families. The kits are available for collection by parents from the School Office.
It was an honour to induct our student leaders this week and share the moment with our parents and families again. I have included my address to the students below as an encouragement for our community.
What makes a leader worthy of being followed, worthy of being someone we let guide or influence or shape us?
Who do you listen to when it comes to understanding what a leader does? Who would you follow?
Maybe you would listen to Spider Man who says that great power comes with great responsibility?
Maybe you would listen to musicians like Justin Bieber who says that someone who is worthy must be approved by their mum first or a sportsperson like James Harden who says he only wants to play with people who want to win so much they compromise what they believe in.
Maybe you would listen to Google and just grab a random quote that sounds good for a speech? Something like: A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way!
Maybe you would ask your teacher or your mum and dad who say you can only hang out with Gerald because he always does the right thing, or you can’t hang out with Joelene because she never does the right thing!
What about Insta? Make your work as good as you look or do it for you and no one else…
I want to share with you some advice about leadership from a different angle. I want you to think about what makes you look up to someone or follow in their footsteps or be influenced by them?
I want to challenge you to be someone worthy of being followed and to follow carefully.
In our world today there are so many leaders that are leaders simply because they are good at what they do, or because they look pretty or because it is cool to follow them, maybe because they are rich or have lots of power.
It is not necessarily because they are good people, or they are having a great impact on others.
It was the same in Jesus’ time. The people who were the leaders were the ones who were rich or had an army or those who had knowledge that others didn’t because they weren’t allowed it.
However, it is interesting what Jesus said to people who were looking to be powerful or have influence over others. When he was giving one of his biggest talks to hundreds of people, who included current leaders, potential leaders, and lots of families, Jesus said this:
“There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular.”
“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, gift-wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more ‘do it to them because they did it to you and deserve it’ stuff. Do to others as you would have them do to you. Live generously.”
What Jesus said was radically different to what was going on! It was something they would not have heard back then and we still don’t hear too much today.
Jesus says that the good leaders, the real influencers, are those who live in a way that care more about truth than being popular and accepted, someone who cares more about others than their own needs or careers: good leaders live like they believe this each day.
This is a tough challenge.
As leaders and followers at RCC we must understand this truth and put it into action, because this is what really makes a difference in people’s lives. We have to care about every person so much so that even when they are mean to us we are nice to them. Even if they start to boss us around all the time, we have to see it as a chance to show them undeserved kindness, almost like we were their servant. We have to give respect whether people have earnt it or not.
These words also help us make a smart choice about who we follow and let influence us. We should follow the people who clearly care about us and those around us, who want others to succeed, and we can see this in the way they live every day. They are always doing things for others that make their lives better.
This is why leadership cannot be a popularity contest, because lots of the time you will have to makes choices to care for others that will not make you look powerful or strong or pretty or the best in front of others. But you will make choices that help people feel known, or valuable or safe or forgiven.
It is – but this is where you begin to learn and journey, to make the mistakes and get back up. To look after others and influence them towards a life where they flourish and can eventually make the decisions like spider man that save the world!
I am so proud of our RCC students who lead, and not just the ones with badges this year, all of them who seek to make a positive difference in someone else’s life as well as their own.
So I encourage you, value what is eternal, value what will last: value truth over popularity, value being kind to people whether they deserve it or not, value giving to people what they need, whether they ask for it nicely or not, value treating people just how you want to be treated. I am telling you – this Jesus guy was onto something – and the good thing is he went and lived it to the point that he died for the people who killed him. I’m not suggesting you go out and die for your school mates to save them, but I am suggesting that make choices now that seek to help others and yourself and you start living it now.