Recently I sat at dinner with four other collegiate ministers and realized that there was over 100 years of combined ministry with college students and young adults represented around the table.
Over 100 years of conversations about relationships.
Over 100 years of mission trips and serving together.
Over 100 years of investing in college students for future leadership in the church.
As collegiate and young adult ministers we have a unique seat in the lives of young adults. Often times they come to our ministries with a clean slate and are looking for opportunities to express who they are and what they can do. The far reaching influence of my friends that I spent time with recently is not by accident. The intentionality of investing, coaching and modeling has resulted in thousands upon thousands of college students and young adults living lives in a missional manner.
What are some of the common threads that collegiate and young adult leaders express that have far reaching influence?
- Keeping a Watchful Eye – Constantly be on the lookout for those emerging leaders in our ministry. Who are the people that others follow? Who has the respect of those within their friends that can gather a following. These people don’t have to be our most outgoing students. Some of the most effective leaders have a silent, yet powerful influence. Always keep a watchful eye for those that have influence in our ministry.
- Intentionality – As leaders we must be intentional about investing in future leaders. For those that have influence within our ministries, be intentional in investing in them for future. Coach them. Encourage them. Say the hard things to them. Catching leaders in this exciting stage of their lives and being intentional with investment will go a long way in the formation of their leadership potential.
- Don’t Give Up – It may take a while for them to see in themselves, what you saw in them from the beginning. Don’t give up on them. The power of you continuing to believe in them and invest in their future influence goes a long way.
The Apostle Paul models this whole idea of mentoring in a powerful way through his continued investment and coaching of Timothy. I’m sure there were a lot of honest and encouraging conversations between those two guys. The idea of mentoring our future leaders is worth it.
Don’t miss the opportunity to invest in the future of ministry with college students and young adults because you’re not paying attention right now.
Mark Whitt is the Collegiate and Young Adult Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. Before joining Lifeway he spent many years on the campus of Murray State University as a campus minister.