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Leaders inspire others to know and share gifts

Jesus invited the apostles to come, to learn, and to follow as disciples. But later and just as important, he inspired the 12 to go, to teach and to lead - calling on them to join him in guiding people to holier lives.

Following Jesus as disciples and leading people to him as apostles are two entirely different, but vital, responsibilities. Yet those who are called to lead often are positioned with power that can be misused or can inspire phenomenal change and goodness. It is with the sensibility of a servant leader that the latter most often occurs.

Last month, the Stewardship and Development Office held the third workshop in a series designed to offer educational and networking opportunities to those involved in stewardship and development.

The workshop, titled "Servant Leadership," was facilitated by Dr. Dan Ebener, who teaches leadership at St. Ambrose University, has authored two books and is a sought-after presenter on the topic.

In West Point that day were principals, pastors, stewardship and development staff members and parish and school volunteers - many of whom are role models of servant leadership. To elaborate on the concept, Dr. Ebener guided us through the Eight Beatitudes.

We immersed ourselves in the discussion of leadership and the wisdom Jesus offered at the Sermon on the Mount - its spiritual and sensible insights that are characteristic of a virtuous leader, guided by principles of humility, mercy, empathy, service, justice and courage.

In examining these concepts, it is clear that the servant leader is other-centered, inspiring others to see the organization's vision and inviting them to be part of its successful achievement. In this, leaders are perpetuating stewardship as they empower people to discover, nurture and use their gifts for good. These leaders give us the freedom to fail at times, support us when we try again and are the first to celebrate with us our accomplishments.

Dr. Ebener reminded us of the perfect leadership model. Our almighty God, with all his power, gave us his kingdom and the invitation to build that kingdom. He provides us every tool to do so and does not micro-manage us or send us away. We are assured that his desire is we join him in delighting in our gifts and the good we can do with them.

It is critical that we have good leaders in our church who can lead us to holier lives. We are blessed by those who have responded courageously to that call and stepped up in our parishes, schools and ministries. We are blessed by those who carry forward these precious missions and do so in virtuous and empowering ways.

Their efforts inspire us to know and share our gifts. Their leadership brings us all closer to heaven.

Shannan Brommer is the director of the archdiocesan Office of Stewardship and Development. Contact her at

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