What does it mean to be "a leader"? The truth of the matter is that one need not be a corporate CEO, an elected official, or even a senior pastor in order to be a person of influence. In any walk of life, those who are intentional in what they do - and will take time to engage those around them in deeper ways - will find others willing to follow their example. At LeTourneau, students are challenged to go forth from the university, not just with academic and professional skills, but with something more - an attitude of leadership, a desire to make a difference, and a commitment to change their world.
The Center for the Development of Christian Leadership exists to instill Christian leadership principles and practices into every facet of the LeTourneau University community. A significant aspect of this mission involves helping students discover who God has created them to be, what He has called them to do, and how LeTourneau University can help them prepare for those unique callings. To that end, the CDCL has identified the following Christian Leadership Distinctives:
God has created each person with unique talents, gifts, and passions that He seeks for them to discover, develop, and use for His glory. The foundational step in understanding vocational calling is discovering who God has created you to be. This begins with an honest appraisal of strengths and weaknesses. Self-discovery empowers students to impact society in profound ways as they discover God’s purpose for their lives and proceed to invest their strengths and address their weaknesses, without false modesty or overconfidence.
Knowledge Outcome – Students should seek to deepen their knowledge of God’s design in all
dimensions of their lives.
Behavior Outcome – Students should seek to fulfill and glorify God’s design for them in all dimensions of their lives.
Character has been defined as "who you are when no one is watching." At times, however, it is even more difficult to remain true to your beliefs and values when the entire world is watching. Therefore, it is imperative for students to be deeply grounded in the Christian faith. Christian leadership requires an unreserved commitment to God and His purposes in this world, a confidence in the gospel truth, and a devotion to faith, hope, and love. Fairness, courage of convictions, lifelong integrity, and commitment to justice are the qualities of character that bring life, purpose, honor, and humility. Leaders with a strong, grounded character are willing to give, expecting nothing in return; to sacrifice personal gain for truth; and to forego monetary success to pursue God’s calling on their lives.
Knowledge Outcome – Students should be well-grounded in the Scripture, the Christian faith
(including ethics), and our common Christian heritage.
Behavior Outcome – Students should know, practice, and articulate the Christian faith and ethics.
In our extremely complex world, bright and talented people often hold very different views on meaningful issues. Christian leaders must not only know why they believe what they believe, but also why others believe what they believe. Engaging the world to make a difference requires an understanding of the world. Students need a sense of history, an understanding of the realities of present economic and political climates, an imagination for the future, spiritual discernment, and wisdom born of prayer to give them a balanced and accurate view of the world in which they live. As student's knowledge broadens, he or she gains a better understanding of the world and a clearer picture of how to initiate positive changes.
Knowledge Outcome – Students should be broadly educated in foundational concepts which
enhance life and learning for success in the global community.
Behavior Outcome – Students should communicate, integrate, and use their knowledge of foundational concepts from the perspective of the Christian worldview.
Christian leaders are called to excellence in all walks of life. The deepening of professional and leadership skills enable students to excel in the marketplace and to engage society to facilitate transformational change. A high degree of competence in a chosen field of study, knowing and understanding the language and underlying principles of a professional endeavor, and developing excellent communication skills are integral to ensuring success. Students benefit from active participation in lively debate, thoughtful discussions, and hands-on learning environments in stimulating classrooms, laboratories, and field experience. Christ-centered faculty and staff teach, mentor, coach, and encourage students to develop sharp, critical thinking and analytical skills that empower them to take calculated risks that will identify them as leaders in their chosen professions.
Knowledge Outcome – Student should be proficient in at least one specialized field of
Behavior Outcome – Students should integrate, apply, and communicate their knowledge of their field of study, including appropriate technologies, from a Christian worldview.
Effective participation in communities requires that students learn to work well with a variety of people in a variety of contexts and to envision, initiate, and lead profound change whether at home, at church, in the workplace, within the community, or across the world. Christian leaders in collaborative service meet specific needs of communities through conscientious, decisive, disciplined, persistent, and committed action. They maintain good family relationships, are servants (but not in a servile manner), and are actively involved in church and community. Equipped with an unshakable faith and God-given abilities - and empowered by a heavenly calling to transform the world for the glory of God - true Christian leaders seek to give all they are for a cause much greater than themselves. At LeTourneau, students are challenged to become just such leaders.
Knowledge Outcome – Students should have the knowledge necessary for effective
participation in committees.
Behavior Outcome – Students should practice interpersonal and collaborative skills as responsible members of their communities.
Several academic courses have specifically incorporated parts of the philosophical outline of Christian leadership into their curricula. These courses are designated in the catalog with an (L).
Learning, Faith and Leadership
The role of the Center for the Development of Christian Leadership is to develop qualities of leadership in every student, empowering our young men and women as they seek to fill roles in their homes, schools, churches, workplaces, communities, and throughout the world. Our university through our faculty and staff have identified the following "Ten Characteristics of Leaders," and we are committed to strengthening them - not just at the Center for the Development of Christian Leadership, but across our entire university.
1. Idealistic Visionaries
Leaders create an atmosphere of inspiration and hope that breathes life into others and motivates them to pursue a beneficial goal that was once thought to be unattainable.
2. Competent Communicators
Leaders communicate in order to lead more effectively. They have worked to develop communicating skills and value these skills as motivators, stimulating growth in others; as apologists, defending truth; and as emissaries, calling for societal change.
3. Critical Thinkers
Leaders who are critical thinkers understand the need to process, analyze, synthesize, and conceptualize information in light of principled morality prior to taking action or formalizing beliefs.
4. Responsible Stewards
Responsible stewards recognize the need to utilize all aspects of creation properly. Financial, intellectual, physical, and emotional resources should be developed and used in a way they were designed to be used.
5. Social Humanitarians
Leaders are civic-minded and are not only aware of the issues that are pertinent to people in their communities, but possess empathy for others and are actively seeking ways to meet others' specific needs.
6. Reflective Practitioners
Reflecting on their own strengths and weaknesses, a leader will utilize all available resources to achieve the goal at hand and invest themselves in challenging, difficult, and meaningful work.
7. Creative Entrepreneurs
A leader is not afraid to take risks and is willing to involve him/herself in endeavors that have the potential for both success and failure. Failure, within a supportive environment, although painful, offers tremendous opportunities for growth and development and should not be viewed as terminal.
8. Spiritual Disciples
Christian leaders are committed, above all, to God. This consistent commitment is integrated into all areas and aspects of a leader's life.
9. Lifelong Learners
Leaders are people who understand that the pursuit of knowledge and understanding is a lifelong quest. They attempt to continually seek and learn and understand the issues and ideas that permeate our world.
10. Ethical Standard-Bearers
A leader's beliefs and actions are born out of an ethical standard that considers others' needs above his or her own. Even in the face of tremendous pressure and personal adversity, a leader will act with honesty and integrity.