Community spirit highlighted at luncheon

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 4, 2001


PHOTO: Local clergy members join hands and pray at a recent luncheon for St. John Parish leaders. (Staff Photo by Amy Szpara) LAPLACE – Tasty food, community spirit and celebrating good leadership qualities was what a recent lunch at New Wine Christian Fellowship was all about. As government officials, sheriff’s office representatives, clergymen, school board representatives, organization members, council members and business leaders in the community filed in for lunch and a message, members of the church welcomed them. The Rev. Neil Bernard, pastor at New Wine, has held the Annual Government, Business and Clergy Member Luncheon for the past three years to recognize those who lead the community of St. John Parish. “The reason why we host this annual luncheon is because the word of God commands us to honor those in authority,” he said. After a short time of fellowship, lunch was served to the guests by members of the church, and following the lunch a guest speaker addressed the crowd. The Rev. Lafayette Scales of Columbus, Ohio, an author and traveling speaker, began his message by stating, “One of the leadership mandates that we have is to teach others to teach. Leadership is influence.” Keeping with the theme of being good leaders and training good leaders, Scales spoke about good leadership qualities. “Sometimes people acquire leadership through appointment,” he said to the crowd. “Once when I was asked, Are good leaders born or made?,’ I said, Yes,'” said Scales. “They are both born and made.” Addressing a crowd that included St. John Parish President Nickie Monica and members of his staff and many other community leaders, Scales made it a point to focus on what makes a leader a good leader. Passion and integrity topped his list. “If you can walk away from what you do now without hesitation or regret, you have not found your passion, what you are supposed to be doing,” he said. “Leaders are people who can seize the moment, because moments to be seized don’t come around all the time.” Stating that good character was the cornerstone of good leadership, Scales honed in on trust and the need for community members to have faith in their leaders. “Part of what our community is screaming for is integrity in our leaders,” he said. Scales also brought up the example of a child being told to color within the lines and taking that with him throughout life. “But sometimes the adventure is outside the lines. Leaders need to be prepared to go outside the lines,” he explained.