Equipping future leaders

Published 5:26 pm Monday, August 18, 2008

Alex Murdoch doesn’t know exactly what he will do to change the world, but he knows he wants to make an impact. So, until he figures it all out, he plans on preparing himself to meet the challenge.

“I want to be a leader of this society and to be prepared for life’s problems,” Murdoch said. “But I have to learn how to do that and how to lead other people in many ways — at school, at church and in my community.”

Murdoch and five other students from Wilton Baptist Church answered the call to leadership this summer by attending Student Leadership University. Youth pastor Kevin Peters said he began taking kids to these programs in 2006 and will see three of them through SLU 401 next summer.

“I’ve seen a change in the kids that I have taken,” Peters said. “They’ve stepped into leadership roles in school and are speaking out at church. That never would have happened three to four years ago.”

Murdoch, Jonathan Holmes and Joshua Otts attend SLU 301. They traveled to Normandy, Paris, London and Oxford.

These students heard from speakers like His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent and Sir Nicolas Soames, Winston Churchill’s grandson.

“The speakers, they really motivate you to go out and make a difference in the world,” Otts said. “Because you get to see different cultures and meet new people it was great experience for me to use later in life as a missionary.”

SLU 301 culminated with graduation in Oxford. Otts said any teenager would enjoy the program because of the people you meet and the advantage it gives students, especially those looking to attend a Christian–based university. SLU 401, the graduate course, will be in Israel and Jordan in 2009.

“I want to walk where Jesus Christ walked,” said Murdoch of the chance to visit Israel and Jordan next summer. “I want to see the Holy Land.”

In June, three students, Keith Lovelady, Justin Stewart and Rachel Willingham, started their journey with SLU 101 in Orlando, Fla.

“I came away realizing that I need to work on my time management skills cause I’m always late,” Lovelady said. “They gave us examples from the Bible that closely related to our lives and showed us why leadership skills were important to develop.”

Student Leadership University is conducted by Jay Strack Ministries of Orlando, Fla. For more information, visit www.studentleadership.net.