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New student council president exemplifies leadership
August 30, 2004
By Ericia Boggs
Boyce student council president Scott O’Neal has a burden to lead. “Leadership shouldn’t begin just when we get our diplomas. Leading takes place now,” he said. Photo by David Merrifield
Scott O’Neal has always been a leader.
In his family, he is the oldest of six children. At his home church, he led worship in his youth group. And at Boyce College, the senior B.A. student is currently the student council president.
But, his role at Boyce is not necessarily what O’Neal had in mind when he enrolled. In fact, he came to Boyce in fall 2001 with a desire to “sit back and enjoy what Boyce could give me,” said O’Neal, a biblical and theological studies major from Minneapolis, Minn.
“I was super-involved in high school, and I told my parents, ‘I have run myself ragged serving in the church and the youth group, working hard in school, getting very good grades, etc. I need a breather and I deserve a break,’” he said.
Thus, O’Neal at first only involved and invested himself in a few things. But he began to regret this inactivity, and soon received encouragement to become more active.
“[Former student life coordinator] Jonathan Leeman invested in me and saw potential,” O’Neal said. “He encouraged me to get more involved and to lead and to take initiative.
“I felt that I didn’t have a network of friends. I had tons of doubts about how well I could lead here, but Jonathan pressed me and demonstrated leadership and initiation.”
O’Neal’s calling to leadership was confirmed this summer while on staff at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. There, O’Neal worked with the youth and led various events, including a missions trip, junior high camp and weekly junior and senior high events. At the latter, he taught a series of lessons on apologetics.
“This summer God really confirmed my call to my heart and through others,” O’Neal said. “I love to teach and believe I am called to either be a professor of biblical studies possibly overseas, or I would also love to be a pastor.”
O’Neal said he will return home to Minneapolis after he graduates in May 2005 to attend The Bethlehem Institute (TBI), a two-year apprenticeship program at Bethlehem Baptist under the leadership of pastor John Piper. If O’Neal graduates from TBI, he will be the first to have had Bethlehem Baptist as his home church.
For now, however, O’Neal’s call is at Boyce College. After being encouraged to become involved in leadership at Boyce, O’Neal was elected to the student council’s activities coordinator position in the fall of 2003 and then moved to the ministry coordinator position in the spring.
This year, O’Neal is ready to begin his duties as student body president and serve Boyce College along with vice president Brandon Daugherty, ministry coordinator Chris Davis and activities coordinator Brooke Anderson.
“This is a great time to be at Boyce,” O’Neal said. “We are really coming into our own. The investment that the Student Life [office] has made at Boyce is really producing fruit through student leadership. This is a breakthrough year.”
O’Neal summarizes his heart for the students at Boyce through the council’s mission statement: “Our mission is to model living, leading and loving like Christ through service, spiritual initiative and soul care.”
His opening charge to the students as they begin this new semester is that their “goal should not just be to seek enriched minds alone or to seek after service with hands alone, but to seek Christ, to desire God’s will to be done, to have their hearts broken for the lostness of the world, [to] love others and show them the Father and [to] love people in both the church body and in the world and point them to Christ.”
Ultimately, O’Neal challenges the students in their personal lives “to look at Christ, model Christ and live like Christ” by loving and serving others and living holy lives.
“When we look at Christ, especially in Philippians 2, we see Him being the ultimate leader,” O’Neal explained. “He led by humility — through death on the cross. I want to tell the students that leading takes place now. We are all called to follow Christ’s example and be leaders.
“Not everyone can be student council president, but everyone can lead. First, find a mentor — someone that challenges you. Then, take initiative and start leading. Find someone that you can mentor and minister to. Leadership shouldn’t begin just when we get our diplomas. Leading takes place now.”