By Caitlin Meadows
On Sabbath morning you’ll find Karen Stacy in her classroom captivating the group of busy, bustling children around her. Though small in stature herself, she maintains a balance of gentleness and command. Occasionally she’ll throw in a little song to help her students focus as they learn. Her goal? That each child will develop a deeper understanding of who Jesus Christ is and of their personal need for Him. For over forty years she has voluntarily devoted her time, energy, prayers, talents, and passion in this capacity. Children’s education, especially their Christian education, is her calling.
Throughout her adult life she has embraced this call in various arenas. First, in the arena of her home through raising her own three children. Then in the arena of education. Karen initially began pursuing her call to educate through tutoring and teaching pre-school. Eventually, when her kids became older, she earned her bachelor’s degree and began teaching in the public school system. Now retired from teaching, she continues to make herself available for tutoring children in her community. To top it all off, she is a beloved and involved “Nonni” to her five young grandsons (with the sixth on the way).
In January this retired teacher became a student again, taking Artios Christian College’s introductory course, Essentials of Vibrant Leadership.
WHY PURSUE AN EDUCATION IN MINISTRY NOW?
Many ask Karen why she decided to enroll at Artios Christian College. With her history of Christ-centered service, why pursue an education in Christian leadership and ministry now? Her answer? Because her passion for teaching corresponds with her passion for learning. Karen recognizes that there is always more to learn! When she heard about LEA 111, it struck a chord with her. Specifically, she was intrigued by the concept that Christian leadership is not limited to church officials, but is a call on every believer. So, she registered for the class. Now she is pursuing her Certificate of Leadership Studies.
HOW KAREN APPROACHES EVERYDAY LEADERSHIP.
After completing LEA 111, I asked Karen what affect this class had on her approach to leadership in her spheres of influence. With enthusiasm she responded: “In my desire to continue learning in order to serve in General Conference ministries, my local church and community, I became a student at Artios in LEA 111. The experience in this five-week course taught me to study the Scripture more and share with colleagues about insights from our readings. I am now encouraged, as a life-long leader, that as a believer I have been called by God as a disciple of Christ to use the gifts He has given me for serving others in all areas of my life. These areas, my spheres of influence, have energized me to follow God’s call to nurture, guide, and model Christ’s example of His character as I serve Him.”
WHAT STANDS OUT MOST?
“What has stood out to me the most in this course” she continues, “is the realization that I am a leader, I am influencing other leaders, and I am leaving a legacy for the next generation. I have been personally challenged to seek the guiding of the Holy Spirit through contemplative prayer for three areas of my life: For grounding even when life seems chaotic, for belonging and abiding constantly in His presence, and to be deeply rooted in intimate relationship and communication with the One who has called me to a life of ministry.”
THE KINGDOM PERSPECTIVE.
Essentials of Vibrant Leadership reaches beyond each individual student. We are representatives of Christ, a part of His Kingdom. In light of this, LEA 111 teaches leadership through the lens of the Kingdom of God. God created us for relationship with Him and each other to glorify Him. We are His body, a part of His eternal Kingdom. Karen adds, “Because I am part of the Body of Christ, my gifts/contributions in ministry can be used to encourage other members to discover and use their own gifts. I will faithfully pray for all members of the Body to fully give themselves to being part of a living, breathing, and thriving organism of ministry. By immersing ourselves in the gifts Christ has provided, we can work together as ambassadors in the ministry of proclaiming the Gospel to the world.”
LEADERSHIP IS FOR EVERYONE.
For too long, the Christian community has operated under the premise that ministry is reserved for a select demographic. Specifically, ordained ministers, church board members, elders, and deacons, foreign missionaries, and ministry organization volunteers. LEA 111 challenges this misconception, pointing out how every Jesus-follower is a leader exactly where God has him/her. Even better, LEA 111 equips each student to embrace their God-given position of daily leadership. Whether you’re the part-time lay leader of your small congregation, working a 9-5 job simply to make ends meet, a parent or grandparent, single or married – no matter your situation, you are a leader. LEA 111 is for you! Like Karen, God created you to lead. And like Karen, you can become better equipped for Christ-centered leadership in your realms of influence. Now the question is, will you?