Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Sometimes, I surf around Youtube and watch a variety of different videos. From clips of my favorite scenes of TV shows, to cute animal videos, to music videos and beyond. One particular genre that often catches my fancy is that of educational videos, specifically things like TED talks and other speaking presentations. On the one hand, I find them as a resource to better my own presenting and preaching, since such videos tend to have the same mechanics and techniques as used in a homily. On the other hand, I like to learn about new things and there’s so much content out there of ideas and concepts that I’m not yet familiar.

Recently, I came across the presenter Simon Sinek, who specializes in corporate leadership and workplace dynamics. Many of his talks are the stuff that you might hear at an executive conference, with insights on how to make your business flourish or how to find success as a company. He is not the only person talking about these things; it seems that there’s a whole industry behind making businesses better and more successful. What caught my attention with Mr. Sinek is that his viewpoint is somewhat unique and what he sees as valuable and effective in a leader. Rather than following what most businesses do and prioritize productivity and financial profits, Sinek suggests that leadership, true leadership, is found in creating greater relationships within the organization and beyond.
As Sinek says, “Being a leader isn’t about being in-charge, it’s about caring for those who are in our charge.”

To me, this is a fascinating take on the role and responsibility of what a leader ought to be. Throughout my life, I’ve been in various positions of leadership and also been under various people and their leadership. Sometimes it really worked and the whole group really functioned above expectation. Sometimes it fell flat and
even with really talented individuals, goals and objectives were unfulfilled. My current role as a pastor of a parish provides ample opportunities to lead; on a business level, on a community level, and even leading individuals with personal challenges they are facing. What I have found most effective in leading others is what Sinek talks about; a kind of servant leadership that cares for others and allows for their success.

That probably shouldn’t be surprising. Christ Himself told the first leaders of the Church to serve one another and not be worried about being first, but rather to seek to be last among all. He left the ultimate model as the Good Shepherd, laying down His life for the sheep. My prayer and desire is that I can live as that kind of leader and pastor here at St. Charles. Please know that I take seriously the responsibility of caring for those in my charge. I hope to continue to grow in my leadership and help the parish to flourish in the years to come.

Peace and Goodness,
Fr. Dan