Symposium offers students ‘timely’ lessons

Published 3:38 pm Tuesday, March 18, 2014

McKenzie School head football coach Josh McLendon was one of the speakers Saturday at First Baptist Church of Greenville’s G.O.D.L.Y. Leadership Symposium. (Advocate Staff/Jonathan Bryant)

McKenzie School head football coach Josh McLendon was one of the speakers Saturday at First Baptist Church of Greenville’s G.O.D.L.Y. Leadership Symposium. (Advocate Staff/Jonathan Bryant)

First Baptist Church of Greenville held its first G.O.D.L.Y. (Giving Ourselves Daily Leadership for Youth) Leadership Symposium Saturday, and though the turnout might have been less than desirable, it was an experience that favored quality over quantity.

“I think the students who did make time to attend were richly blessed with an experience that is difficult to truly quantify,” said Matthew Elliott, one of the event organizers for the symposium.

One of the main means of achieving that goal was in the offering of a diverse array of speakers on an even more diverse group of topics.

Fort Dale Academy graduate Anne Matthews discussed the importance of taking the college experience as an opportunity to learn about oneself.

In her words, discovering what one is passionate about would not only dictate the path toward a successful career, but also a meaningful relationship with God.

McKenzie School head football coach Josh McLendon followed Matthews with lessons on the concept of “coachability” not only as a readiness to change or adapt, but also as a willingness to listen to the counsel of others.

He also spoke of “destination disease,” which forms when one grows complacent after achieving a specific goal instead of setting new ones.

Greenville Walmart Supercenter manager James Packer spoke about how leadership in difficult times often required a unique perspective, and how the laws of self-preservation, entertainment and containment play a role in daily decisions.

Nationally-renowned speaker Aaron Beam closed the program with a revealing story of redemption, discussing his time served in prison and how students could strive to achieve regardless of their perceived shortcomings.

“We tried to provide a diverse group of speakers on purpose, and I think we accomplished our goal,” Elliott said.

“We wanted to provide our students with not only diversity in experience, but also in perspective.  The entire goal of our G.O.D.L.Y. ministry is to prepare, as best we can, our attendees for the challenges they will face in the next phase of their lives and to give them the benefit of experienced leaders who can help take theoretical information from a study on leadership and bring it to life with stories of real-life application.”

Elliott added that Saturday’s event was one of the most influential leadership events he’s ever been involved in.

Despite the small numbers, or perhaps because of them, each student in attendance was able to receive a personal and engaging experience to take with them on the road to adulthood.

“The messages were so timely, so well presented and so focused on the audience that each of the students who attended have followed up with us to let us know how much they appreciated the event,” Elliott said.

And they have posed follow-up questions that give us great hope that this group of students will be of tremendous benefit to our community in the years to come.”