To complete the homework please listen to the talk, read the lesson, and fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Thank you!
1. As we heard in the General Session, we have to learn how to share and defend our Faith. We must pass on Christ to others. God wants us to be successful at bringing others to Him, and therefore He wants us to be good leaders. So, let's look at leadership: What is a leader? A leader is one who obtains followers. Sounds pretty basic, doesn't it? Think of some of the leaders you see and experience: What kind of leaders are they? From where do they get their authority? Many times, we can look at leaders and see some similar characteristics:
a. They know their purpose.
b. They know how to prioritize their actions.
c. They are people of integrity.
d. They are open to positive change and speak positively.
e. They look at problem solving as win-win, not ones where someone comes out the loser.
f. They take control of their attitudes and keep them positive.
g. They exercise discipline and self-control.
h. They bring out the best in others.
2. Christ has chosen you to be a leader. You may not believe that, but when you were baptized, you were set apart for service and leadership. God calls you to be a leader. Although He is all powerful, God has chosen to give His love and salvation to us through others. (This is what is called the principle of mediation God shares everything with us, including bringing others to salvation). The big question we have is: According to Jesus, what does it mean to serve? Jesus tells us that leadership is not about power, but about service, about putting the needs of others ahead of your own wants.
3. So, let's look at what it means to be a Christian leader. Christ shows us to be a Christian leader:
a. You have an understanding of your purpose in life, with heaven and Christ as your goal;
b. You bring out the best in others and help them achieve salvation, remembering that the most important person you can save is yourself.
c. Your authority comes from Christ, not from a community or a people. Your ability to lead depends upon the strength of your relationship with Christ (Philippians 2:13).
d. You lead to serve others, not for power nor to exalt yourself.
Service, for the Christian, is about imitating Jesus, not about gaining authority (Matthew 25:40; Mark 10:45).
4. Now let's see what we can do to be good servant leaders:
a. Invite others to church, to Mass and the youth meetings. Many won't even come unless you invite them.
b. Make sure you are participating at Mass: Read the Mass Scriptures on your own before you come to Church. Show up early, give full responses, and sing out on the songs. Don't make Mass a spectator sport.
c. Be willing to give your own testimony. A testimony is a verbal account of what Jesus has done in your life.
d. Remember that when you are at school, you bring Christ to your fellow classmates. Make sure they know, simply by your actions, what your life is about.
5. The actions of a servant leader also involve Stewardship and Social Justice. As a leader you are called to lead by example. The calling that Christ gave you through your Baptism is one that touches you in every part of your life. For many people this is a turn-off, because they feel Christ and the Church are intruding on them. Yet Christ asks for even more: The reality about Christ is that His call always asks us to go deeper, and this includes giving back to Him not only our time, but our talents, and our money.
6. Now, you may be asking, ‘Why does God need my money? Isn't He rich enough already?’ Good question, but the fact is that God is in need of nothing: He asks us to share our resources with each other. While sharing sounds like a kindergarten concept, it becomes more and more difficult to share as we get older because we have more and more 'toys' to play with, and we tend to want to keep them to ourselves. We have an obligation to take care of others for the simple reason that Christ is present in everyone, especially the poor (read Matthew 25:31-46).
7. Now, let's look more closely at just exactly what Christ asks us to do. Many priests and pastors like to characterize it as:
a. We give our time and talents: We share 10% of our time to the Church/poor, giving our talents for building up the Kingdom;
b. We give our treasure: We share 10% of our income with the Church/poor.
In particular, the Church teaches us about the 'Works of Mercy', giving us directives about what we are to do with our time, talent and treasure. There are seven corporal (physical) Works of Mercy, and seven spiritual Works of Mercy.
Corporal Works of Mercy:
Feed the hungry
Give drink to the thirsty
Clothe the naked
Visit the imprisoned
Shelter the homeless
Visit the sick
Bury the dead
Spiritual Works of Mercy:
Counsel the doubtful
Instruct the ignorant
Comfort the afflicted
Bear wrongs patiently
Pray for the living and the dead
If we use the ‘Works of Mercy’ as our guide, we will be able to fulfill Christ's call to serve Him in others.