Following St. Andrew’s example of leadership

Kirk Odom



It was the end of my freshman year at the University of Southern Indiana, and I had only made it to two or three Newman Catholic Community meetings on campus. My faith was important to me, but I hadn’t quite found my place on campus yet.

Somehow, the Holy Spirit had placed it into someone’s mind to nominate me for an executive board position for Newman. I was nominated as treasurer; it was a minor position, but a position nonetheless. I was confused when I heard I had been nominated, but I accepted it. I thought maybe this was God’s way of calling me to start taking the community aspect of my faith more seriously.

Once I became the treasurer, my sophomore year, I made a commitment to attend every weekly meeting. This is when I realized how special the Newman Catholic Community is at USI. Our common faith allows us to connect with one another on a deep level that isn’t easy to accomplish with other peers. Whenever I hung out with the people at Newman, it was apparent they genuinely cared about one another. Whenever someone asked, “How’s it going?” they were not just asking for the sake of small talk; they wanted to really know how you were doing. In a world where everything feels so surface-level, this was a great change of pace.

Fast forward to my junior year; it was December 2020, and we are holding nominations. Due to some scheduling issues, some of the officers had to step down from their positions for next semester. One of the available positions was president. This threw off things a little bit since presidents typically serve for the whole school year. Due to being available at an awkward time, there were not many people interested in the position. I did not think of myself as someone cut out to be in a leadership position like that, but I decided to go for it anyway. It would turn out I was the only person to run for the position, so I automatically got it.

Within my first month of being the president of Newman Catholic, I wondered if I was even doing a good job. I am not a charismatic speaker or anything like that, so I wondered if I was right for this position. It was at the SEEK conference in early February when my outlook and confidence started to change. I was listening to one of the various talks we could pick from, and the speaker was discussing St. Andrew.

The speaker talked about how great a leader St. Andrew really was, despite not being a particularly great speaker. Instead of being a great speaker, St. Andrew was the ultimate facilitator to Christ. Andrew is credited to being the first disciple, and we see in John 1 that he brought his brother Peter to Jesus. Later, in John 6, we see that it is Andrew who brings forth the boy who had five barley loaves and two fish.

From these two stories, there is a lot of insight to discover. First, we see the importance of bringing others to Christ. The first person Andrew brings to Christ is Peter, who ends up being the leader of the Church as the first Pope. Second, we see the importance of bringing the gifts people have to Christ. Andrew, seeing that the boy only had five loaves and two fish, brings the boy to Jesus.

Through St. Andrew, we see how important it is to see what others have to offer and help them bring their gifts to God, so that God can turn those gifts into something exponentially more fruitful.

After this realization, my outlook on being a leader changed. I now knew it was not about what I could do, but it was about what God could do. Moving forward, I will definitely be praying for St. Andrew’s intercession!

Kirk Odom is a senior History major with minors in Education and English. He will begin student teaching at North Posey Junior High School during Spring Semester. He graduates in May 2022.