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It does not take long in a conversation with Dr. Jay Strack to sense his passion for developing student leaders. His perspective of teens is refreshing. He does not believe teens are just overgrown children but sees their potential as student leaders.

This belief permeates the entire staff of the Student Leadership University organization, as well as the content of the SLU 101 conferences. They challenge students to Think…Dream…Lead! At the four-day conference, the teens are pushed to think outside the invisible box that confines them and to set aggressive personal goals.

It is stimulating to watch from the back of the room and to see students stand up in front of their peers voicing their dreams for making a difference in this world. And lest you think this is just “another” emotional experience, the conference is replete with stories of SLU 101 grads that are making a difference.

For the past two years I have been privileged to teach a session on Personal Spiritual Growth at SLU 101. This has allowed me to see firsthand the impact of this event. Dr. Jay speaks several times throughout the four days; plus, he has assembled a group of speakers who have proven themselves in leadership and ministry to youth. Men like Brent Crowe – President of SLU; Chuck Allen – Leadership Consultant; Pat Williams – Senior VP of the Orlando Magic; Dr. Danny Akin – President of the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Mark Miller – VP of Training and Development for Chick-fil-A;  and Dr. Bill Brown – President of Cedarville University …to name a few.

I recommend that you check out the SLU website, and plan to take a group of your top student leaders next summer. You will also notice that there is a 201, 301 and 401–each taking students to a new level of leadership. I have never met anyone who attended any of these leadership institutes who expressed regret.

I have friends in most of the major youth ministries of the nation whom I respect and SLU is one of those ministries. My purpose for this blog is not to have an SLU “love-fest” but to spotlight a quality work. Dr. Jay often says, “One of the greatest gifts I can give you is to introduce you to my friends,” and I guess that expresses my purpose. 

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