MISHAWAKA- The annual Leadership Weekend conference took place on Bethel’s campus Jan. 31-Feb. 1; this year’s guest speaker was Mark Matlock, an insight leader for Barna Group who travels the world spreading the Word of God. Matlock has worked with various groups and individuals such as: MercyMe, Chris Tomlin, Crowder, American Bible Society and the Seed Company.
Leadership Weekend was started 13 years ago by Vice President for Student Development Shawn Holtgren; Holtgren felt that it was a season when Bethel needed more student leaders.
“The heart of the Leadership Weekend is to invite students to influence our campus for good and to shape the future of Bethel,” Holtgren said.
Holtgren oversees planning the overall schedule for leadership weekend and many others have assisted with the smaller details to bring the event together.
Matlock came prepared to speak, but also allowed students to direct the conversation, using the opportunity to share from his experiences around the world and the journey God has brought him on so far. Holtgren says that, in addition to great content, Matlock also brought experience, knowledge, and mentoring wisdom.
Matlock says that young leaders are the future for the church.
“We’re living in very difficult times for younger adults to follow the faith,” Matlock said. “The church is in need of massive reimagination, and from a generational standpoint, people in their twenties are going to bring just that.”
Beyond the church, Holtgren says that the future of Bethel is in the hands of its students, and Bethel’s staff and faculty are pouring into investing in and enabling students through Leadership Weekend.
Matlock wants to remind students to not get frustrated, but to stay faithful to the Word of God in their roles as student leaders.
“I just turned 50, and there have been times where I wanted to throw my hands up and walk away,” Matlock says. “In these times, God has proven Himself faithful; find these types of stories and cling to them when you’re in the same situation. Just know that it’ll pass. Psalms talks about time and place for everything; the time of doubt will change if you stay on course.”