Forward Thinking Leaders Event

Posted in: Stories

A brainstorming session between Cru Military® staff members Delaney Rosario and Michael Cook resulted in a new concept for outreach to their local ministry scope. 

They were discussing their next ministry outreaches for the Naval Postgraduate School and the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California. “Michael and I were chatting about the caliber of the students at the Naval Postgraduate School,” Delaney said. “The Navy treats these students like top officers, sharing how they will later impact the trajectory of modern conflict. The Navy brings in skilled lecturers for the students to hear about upcoming technology, leadership techniques, and foreign policy. Since they focus on all these unique aspects of leadership, why don’t we offer an equally high-caliber event on how spiritual fitness is crucial to excellence in leadership?”

So, the Cru Military team partnered with The Navigators® to create a two-part event called The Forward Thinking Leaders to win, build, and send spiritually fit, ready-to-serve leaders who will eventually enter into high levels of leadership in the U.S. Military and Department of Defense. They recruited high caliber speakers for the seminars – retired Navy Rear Admiral James Loeblein and his wife, retired Navy Captain Carol Loeblein. After the event, the local Monterey Cru Military team was incredibly pleased with the turn-out and positive reaction of the trainees.

“By all measurements, this event was a big success,” Delaney said.

Retired Navy Rear Admiral James Loeblein and his wife, retired Navy Captain Carol Loeblein and Delaney Rosario Cru Military staff standing and smiling
L-R: Ricardo Rosario, Delaney Rosario, Navy Captain (Ret.) Carol Loeblein, Navy Rear Admiral (Ret.) James Loeblein

“Our speakers were outstanding. They were the perfect fit for this event as alumni of the school and one-time disciples of Cru Military team members David and Michael Cook – and their resumes were a draw for many of the students. James and Carol were so enthusiastic to give back to the next generation of military leaders.”

The event attracted 75 people–including some new faces. “We reached 40 people outside of our normal sphere of influence,” Delaney said. “Our ministries here are not that large, so seeing 40 new people was very significant for us.”

All were impressed with the speakers’ topics and transparency.

“James talked about humility, moral courage, and love as guiding principles for leadership,” Delaney said. “He explained that the only sure way to develop those attributes is to develop them in conjunction with spiritual fitness. In other words, if you are not paying attention to your spiritual fitness, they are not going to be attributes of your leadership.  He drove these points home with ’sea stories’ where those attributes were integral to his leadership.”

Carol spoke about a vital tool for spiritual fitness and quality leadership – scripture. 

“Carol brought in a lot of scripture to her talk,” Delaney said. “She explained how scripture memorization was a part of her personal spiritual fitness, and how that carried her through harder moments in her career. Lastly, Carol’s former military experience was an important encouragement to the female service members in the room that day.”

Additionally, James and Carol highlighted two other aspects of spiritual fitness – family and community.

“James told the group that he wished he had spent more time with his family throughout his career,” Delaney said. “I think that was very hard-hitting for some of the ‘go-getter’ types in the audience. Jim and Carol each emphasized that having a spiritually supportive community is a necessity throughout your career.  If you are not grounded in a faith community, you can get lost.”

Emphasizing the value of the Forward Thinking Leaders event, attendees told the team that it’s rare to hear about spiritual fitness and its relation to successful leadership outside the chaplaincy. 

“To hear these senior officers speaking about the need for spiritual fitness was very significant to our students,” Delaney said. “We are praying about an opportunity for another momentum-causing event like this in the not-too-distant future.”