On October 30 and 31, male students of Franciscan University gathered in the Gentile Gallery for talks on spirituality and leadership. Franciscan University’s Athletic Department and Men’s Ministry hosted the Serviam Workshop, which addressed leadership and spirituality in the Catholic community. The event was held over two nights, and the speakers included Deacon Harold Burke-Sivers and John Sablan.
On the first night, Burke-Sivers spoke about spirituality and how men can improve it. He read and referenced a couple of passages from the Bible as examples. With this knowledge, students were ready for the second night of the workshop.
On the second night, Sablan spoke about leadership. He started by explaining that the culture of society is telling men that their spirituality, role in the family and men themselves do not matter. As brothers and soldiers, he said, we all need to tell men that they need to be men. Sablan referenced a recent event in Pittsburgh that made it to the news where a man knocked a woman out on the street, and about six other men took pictures of her unconscious body instead of helping her or calling 911. He really wanted to emphasize that the culture of society has led to this, and it is not okay.
Sablan spoke about what makes a great leader, and the way someone leads depends on who they follow. He spoke how, as Christians, we follow Jesus Christ so our leadership should be about leading someone to a better calling: heaven. Everything we do as leaders flows from our spirituality, he said. He said it is not good enough to stay in the Catholic bubble of Franciscan University to lead but should go out to the missionary fields.
Sablan also presented the acronym, L.E.A.D, which encompasses what leaders do. The L stands for listen, live and lead. Leaders listen to God and what he desires, and they live to be the change in the world. Sablan noted that leaders do not sit around and wait for change but have the courage and grace to lead.
He said that when we sit in resentment toward someone, it is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
The E stands for envision, endure and embody. Sablan told the story of Joseph the Patriarch who envisioned greatness and eventually obtained it after several years of hardships. Continuing from that, Sablan spoke on how we, as men, are called to defend all creation. However, we are tempted to be caught up in defining ourselves, rather than what we do. He spoke on how failure is a reality and that giving up is not an option because that is exactly what we are tempted to do.
The A stands for align, adapt and assert. Sablan emphasized that we need to align ourselves specifically with God and the church, especially since society is always divided over something. We need to be assertive to provide an answer to the question of why we are Catholic with confidence, Sablan said. Leaders also have the ability to adapt to what is going on, but that adaptation should be in accordance with the Catholic faith.
The D stands for die, decide and disciple. Sablan reminded the audience that Jesus gave his entire life for us and that true love is measured by sacrifice. He spoke on how we are called to give up our lives for the sake of other people. Leaders die because they are modeling Christ. Leaders also decide. They know they cannot serve other gods, so they decide that they will serve the Lord and let people know. A leader cannot be a leader though, Sablan cautioned, unless he has followers. Sablan described how we should live a life that embodies Christ. Disciples create other disciples, so people need to see us as living a life that embodies Christ, and we need to lead them to Christ. We also need to step up to be a leader now because we do not have time to wait.
The workshop was received well by those who attended. Men’s ministry holds several events on campus each semester. All men are welcome to attend.