What do Mike Yankoski, Tony Campollo, Trygve Johnson and Max DePree have in common? They all have been keynote speakers at Northwestern’s annual Leadership Conference. This year, Shane Claiborne will be added to the list when he speaks at the conference on April 9 and 10.
Claiborne, who graduated from a Christian liberal arts college similar to NW, travels both around the United States and the world speaking about peacemaking, social justice and Jesus.
“Shane is an inspirational person that will challenge our students to think deeply about how they can influence our world in positive, Christ-honoring ways,” Director of Service Learning Marlon Haverdink said.
Claiborne, who has published books such as “The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical,” “Jesus for President” and “Becoming the Answer to Our Prayers,” just completed co-writing a book with John Perkins called “Lead Me to Freedom,” a book about “leadership through the lens of faith,” Haverdink said.
“Many of our students have read Shane’s books or have heard him speak at other conferences, and I know they are excited to hear what Shane has to say to our campus,” Haverdink said.
Claiborne not only has written a book on leadership and Christianity, but he also tries to live it out in his everyday life. He has worked with Mother Theresa in Calcutta, he helped found “The Simple Way,” an organization in Philadelphia, Penn., and he is a member of the Christian Community Development Association.
“The Simple Way” is an organization that encourages people to live their lives simply because God has provided enough for his people to all live with what they need on earth.
“We believe that the Kingdom of God is free of poverty and oppression,” Claiborne’s website, www.thesimpleway.org, said. “We echo and attempt to live out Christ’s prayer that the ‘Kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven.’ We believe that begins now, with Jesus’ followers, and continues throughout eternity.”
Many students and members of faculty are looking forward to having someone so well-known, action-oriented and experienced speak on campus.
“He has really profound ideas,” junior Michelle Becker said. “He thinks theoretically and practically, whereas we learn mostly theoretically.”
Because Claiborne is a leader of the Christian Community Development Association, sophomore Rachel Plockmeyer is looking forward to hearing his thoughts about Northwestern.
“I’m excited to hear him talk about community, and I’m interested in what he thinks about NW’s community because we tend to think pretty highly of it,” Plockmeyer said. “I hope he has some words of constructive criticism for us, because we’re not perfect.”
In addition to listening to Claiborne, students will also have the opportunity to attend two workshops led by faculty, staff and community leaders. All students are encouraged to come, even if they aren’t going to be in an official position of leadership next year. Students can sign up for free online at www.nwciowa.edu/leadership2010.
“Students should walk away with approaches to leadership that they can begin implementing in their lives immediately,” Haverdink said.