the shape of leadership

Church Planter, Pastor, University President

A conversation with North Central University’s Scott Hagan

Influence Magazine on September 12, 2018

Scott Hagan is the seventh president of North Central University in Minneapolis. He began this role in June 2017, following a highly successful ministry as a church planter and pastor. He is the author of six books and more than 60 articles on leadership, influence and biblical application. Hagan is currently completing his Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University.

INFLUENCE: What is the state of Christian higher education at NCU?
I inherited a great university that is poised like few others in the United States. I see myself as a servant and steward of the university, and I’m looking to the future of NCU with an aggressive, but calibrated optimism.

My prayer is that all our students become full of the Holy Spirit, learn the Scriptures deeply and live as committed Christ followers. We have incredible open doors as we expand our footprint through several new online initiatives and local church learning cohorts. Because of our unique position in the city of Minneapolis and access to jobs, we had a significant number of our seniors graduate with no student debt last year. The morale and well-being of NCU is flourishing.  

How can we become more effective in raising up a new generation of Spirit-filled leaders?
If we want to see greater leadership legitimacy in our next generation, leaders with intellectual readiness and emotional maturity, we must strengthen the conduits of older-younger relationships. The generational drift is widening exponentially. Something beautiful and reciprocal happens when a proven life connects with a promising life. That’s why I enjoy the college campus setting.

“Something beautiful and reciprocal happens when a proven life connects with a promising life.”
— Scott Hagan

Technology has a deceptive side to it. You’re not going to sit at home when you’re 18 years old and become a great leader solely off an iPad. The miracle of wisdom and wonder requires the human-to-human transaction.

Why are these intergenerational relationships so vital to education?

The younger generation, having been nursed and fostered by affluence and technology, build their behavioral priorities on concepts of passion, talent, gifting and destiny. They believe they are born for something unique and singular, and doing anything less is paramount to a trapped and botched life.

But even if you’re born for something, you still have to learn how to do it. My hope is to build promising lifelong leaders who are adaptive and innovative by connecting them to proven lifelong leaders who are also adaptive and innovative.

Tell us about your new book, The Language of Influence and Personal Power.
I originally wrote the book as a tool for the men and women in our local church to use at work. Something they could utilize personally, but also to give away to their co-workers, something that would add value at work. Even though it was self-published, it just really took off all over the country. Companies like Apple, Salesforce, as well as a host of college and pro sports teams, started quoting the book or handing it out to employees.

Last year, a publisher connected with Kensington Publishing and Penguin Random House in New York contacted me. They loved the content and bought the rights to publish the book. The book is a great leadership resource for local churches or secular companies because it helps people see power and influence from a totally different perspective than what they see on television.

I’ve heard from several people that it’s become a powerful conversation starter for the gospel by simply utilizing the common ground of better leadership ideas.  

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2018 edition of Influence magazine.


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