Value number 6: Courageous Leadership
Thoughts from Headmaster, Rebekah Hagstrom
Liberty Classical Academy values courageous leadership as an essential element in the development of students. One of Liberty Classical’s founding verses states, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act, making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday” (Psalms 37: 5-6). In Proverbs we hear, “the righteous are as bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 29:1) God calls us to act boldly, to act in righteousness, to act as Christ calls us to, knowing it can be uncomfortable, contrary to the popular culture, and possibly subject us to attack. As we have seen throughout history, people acting boldly change the world for good.
William Wilberforce, having become a Christian in 1785, acted boldly and righteously in pursuing the abolition of slavery in England. For the better portion of his life he exercised courageous leadership in pursuit of this righteous objective. He lived to see the passage of the Slavery Abolition Act 1833, three days before his death. While the Jews lived in exile in Persia, the walls of Jerusalem lay in ruin leaving it vulnerable to attack. Nehemiah found this situation intolerable and acted boldly to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in a hostile land with the permission King Artaxerxes. To counter a plot by Haman to kill millions of Jews, Esther, the Queen to King Ahasuerus of Persia, risked her life in revealing herself to be a Jew. Doing so enabled her to persuade the King to not carry out the killing of these Jews under his authority.
Christ was compassionate and loving, but truthful; servant hearted but bold; forgiving and full of grace, but unyielding in honoring God’s precepts. Christ was the ultimate leader who drew people to himself through his love, concern and ability to relate to them and speak truth into their lives. He was genuine. He was never hypocritical and always had the courage to call out those who were. Christ placed acting boldly for righteousness sake above his personal comfort. At Liberty we emphasize the leadership characteristics Christ demonstrated, while encouraging students to follow his example.
“Look, I’m sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16).
Bold as a Lion
Liberty provides students the opportunity to lead courageously throughout their education in preparation for their life ahead. Whether in a college classroom, a future Board room, and everything in between, we pray our students will speak up to boldly defend the truth; both Biblical truth and truth based in natural law. We pray they will speak out for what is right rather than cave-in to popular culture, secular memes, worldly group think, trends on social media, or collectivist mindsets often based purely on emotion. Like Christ, we pray they will courageously demonstrate love and concern for others without compromising Biblical principles. Liberty equips its graduates to persuade others to think independently on matters of public policy, economics, education, faith and culture with their powerful skills of logic, reason and public speaking.
Lastly we pray Liberty grads will have an overwhelming desire to move into places of influence for the very purpose of leading courageously. Liberty’s mascot is the Lion, symbolizing might, majesty, and boldness. Liberty Classical Academy takes seriously its mission to develop courageous leaders who will impact the culture for Christ.
Thoughts from former K-12 Director, Jeff Button
As shared by Headmaster Hagstrom, both Scripture and our civilization’s history is full of examples of bold, courageous, Godly leadership. At Liberty, we are seeking to train the next generation of these leaders, men and women like Wilberforce, Nehemiah, and Esther.
Leadership In Action
How are we doing this in the classrooms and halls of Liberty? At the middle and Upper School levels, students are paired with Lower School buddies in order to provide both leadership and companionship opportunities throughout the school year. We know that the Lower School students genuinely look up to these older buddies, and consequently, the older students are self-encouraged to be good leaders and role models for these Lower School students.
As our students progress through the program, they are provided with many leadership opportunities. Even in the early years of a Liberty education, students are required to develop their communication and public speaking skills, knowing that all courageous leaders will need these tools to effectively share their ideas.
One Lower School example is how our 5th Grade students run for the office of President and Vice-President. They have to present their ideas, give a speech to the entire Lower School, promote themselves, and once elected, are expected to follow through with their promises throughout the quarter that they serve until new students are given the opportunity to lead.
Students in the Upper School develop and share Nuntium Ex Corde (A message from the heart) presentations with all sixth through twelfth grade students during morning assembly. These experiences build students’ confidence and presentation skills while encouraging a deeper study of scripture and its heart-penetrating truths.
Courageous Mock Trial Team
This past year, we have seen courageous leadership played out through our newly-formed Mock Trial team. Our 7th - 9th grade students, being new to the rules of mock trial, courageously competed against juniors and seniors at the U of M Golden Gavel Competition. Our students drew upon their skills that were developed here at Liberty Classical and held their own against state-winning teams.
Examples like this are common at Liberty, and this spirit of bold servant leadership will prayerfully be put to good use as our students graduate and move on to the world outside.
Boldness with Humility and Service
Liberty Upper School students lead courageously by serving others both in and outside of school. Our students can elect to take courses on leadership, where they study about and learn from some of the greatest leaders in history. In these classes they ponder the big questions of leadership ethics, and how to serve and lead well. Our Upper School students are taught that true courageous leadership is built upon not only boldness of spirit, but humility and service. Students are required to volunteer at least 40 hours during their Upper School career, but many go above and beyond this requirement of service and volunteer 100 hours or more during their four years.
We desire our students to serve and lead well no matter where they are placed. At Liberty, courageous leadership is expected, and opportunities are both formally and informally provided for students of all ages. The world is in need of bold, courageous, humble leaders. Through all of these experiences and many more, our students are being taught that courageous leadership in the spirit and example of Christ can truly make a difference in the culture and in the world.