Oct 21, 2008

Whetstone to sharpen future student leadership

by Danielle Talbert

Liberty’s Department of Student Leadership began a Bible study for potential student leaders. The study is called “Whetstone” and will run for six weeks.

Campus Pastor and Director of the Office of Student Leadership (OSL) Dwayne Carson created and leads the weekly study. Whetstone is held every Sunday at 8 p.m. in the Towns-Alumni Training Center. Resident Assistants (RA) and Spiritual Life Directors (SLD) lead worship.

The study is designed to give student-leaders a head start on the background they need to become an effective leader.
Whetstone was started and is geared toward any kind of leader with a stated purpose to be an RA or an SLD, however, students who want to learn how to be stronger leaders in general are also invited to take part. Carson wanted to be sure that students knew this was not another church service, but an in-depth Bible study. The course is also a good investment for ministry majors who will need the valuable leadership training for their future callings.

“I’m driven in that I would want next year’s team to be a little better,” Carson said. He also said that before one can grow an organization, one has to grow the leaders.

Every year, indispensable experience is lost with graduation. Carson expressed that in the past, once the leadership is at the growth point where they are most beneficial to the students, their four years are finished and they graduate. With Whetstone, the leadership training will begin earlier to ensure leaderships’ full potential is reached before they even start in their positions. Carson said the goal is to train for the future before it occurs.

The name “Whetstone” is derived from Ecclesiastes 10:10, “If the ax is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed but skill will bring success,” and Psalm 127, which refers to arrows. Carson said that in order for an arrow to work properly, it must be straight, strong and sharp, which is the purpose of a whetstone.

“Before chopping wood, my grandfather would run the ax over a whetstone because he understood that you have to sharpen an ax before you use it,” Carson said. He said the same applies when preparing leaders. Leaders must be strong and sharp in the word of God, just as Moses told Joshua, David told Solomon and Paul told Timothy.

Future RA and SLD applicants will be taught valuable preparation in being a student of the Bible. The topics examined will range from prayer, love, humility and thankfulness, all of which Carson feels are essential qualities every leader must possess.
In the years to come, Carson hopes to continue the program and change it according to need. The plan is to start with RAs so they can perform at their maximum abilities then to spread focus to other student leadership positions. This spring the study will be moving from strengthening to sharpening. The focus will be on the enhancement of very specific areas to ensure leaders’ confidence.


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