Posted by: Justin Wallace | April 15, 2010

Student Leaders…

It’s that time of the year again. You’re trying to finish the year well while looking forward to a new year. Most of us are so tired that we’re giving it everything we have left in the tank…which isn’t much. And at the same time we can’t just sit and let the engine idle…we have to look forward to the fall and start planning.

This is the time of the year when we begin choosing student leaders for the fall. Bible study leaders. Ministry leaders. Officers. Interns.

We each have  a different process for choosing these students. We have applications. Interviews. Times of prayer. Hard decisions to make. Meetings to be had. Evaluations.

I thought it would be awesome to open up a discussion about this process.

How do you choose your student leaders?

How do you decide which student does what?

How are you planning for the future?

Please share you thoughts, ideas, failures and success stories.

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Responses

  1. Though I had been in campus ministry over 20 years at the time, I made a BIG mistake in my approach to leadership when I first arrived at App State in 2004. Overwhelmed by the unexpected size of the group (250 when I was told to expect about 40-50), I put an emphasis on finding leaders, but not preparing leaders. What I found in my second year was I had many leaders who knew how to sound like mature Christians, but were not living in spiritual maturity.

    After several incidents of small group leaders being seen drunk, failing to show up for their groups in favor of snowboarding, and competing with one another as to had the most popular group, I decided (duh!) that we had to take a different approach to selecting leaders.

    First step was to require all students interested in leadership to participate in a six-week discipleship group (we call it “Vessel Group”) which just covers basic Christian doctrine. What I discovered was students had the Christian lingo down but most had very little understanding of what it truly meant to follow Jesus.

    Secondly, through this group, we get to hear and observe where students are at spiritually. And after the conclusion of the group, we sit down with each participant and talk in-depth with them about what they learned and where they are at in their relationships with Jesus. They also come to understand what we believe and are passionate about in our ministry. Thus, if they become leaders, they will be on the same page as we are.

    Thirdly, as we have grown our leaders, we trust them to provide insight into what the potential leaders’ lives are like outside of CCF. They have grown to have such respect for and ownership of the ministry that they want only students who will carry on the vision that we have for the ministry and have lives that will glorify the Lord.

    Honestly, when we first implemented this four years ago, there was not much enthusiasm and a lot of resistance. Our numbers plummeted for a couple years, but this year we have rebounded and had our largest, most enthusiastic Vessel Group yet (17). And out of that group, two students made first-time commitments to follow Jesus and were baptized last weekend.

    Literally, this approach to raising up leaders has transformed our ministry and the students coming in this year have repeatedly commented that one of the things that drew them to CCF is the quality of our student leadership.

  2. Great thoughts Jim!


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