It’s that time of year when many college and young adult ministries are selecting leaders for the new year or semester. Giving young adults an opportunity to step into leadership roles allows opportunities to develop their spiritual gifts, explore future and deeper ministry involvement, and fulfill a greater call on their lives to invest in God’s Kingdom. These are all great things, but if young adults have never truly served in a leadership role before, you may be wondering what non-negotiable traits they need to possess and what might be a deal-breaker for having them serve on your team.
Here are four characteristics to consider when selecting young adults to serve on leadership teams:
- They should be teachable. Remember that they are young adults. Many of them have never had a serious leadership role before. They will make mistakes. They will need to learn new skills along the way. You will have to coach them. If young adult leaders demonstrate the kind of humility that allows them to be teachable and crave mentorship, they will be well on the way to being great leaders, even if there are a few bumps along the way.
- They should crave God’s Word. Young adults are connected to more information than any generation before. There is a constant barrage of input into their lives that will shape their worldview. It’s important that young adult ministry leaders crave time in the Bible. If God’s never-changing Word is not the foundation for their lives, many other ideas and influences will shape their ideologies on key cultural topics—often without them even realizing how much the current of culture pulls them to adopt certain beliefs.
- They should have genuine repentance of sin. The basic message of the gospel tells us that there are no perfect leaders out there. Young adults will make mistakes. They will sin. If you are a trusted mentor for young adults, you will often be the first person to help them process sinful patterns that have dominated their lives for years. You must figure out which young adults are best-suited for leadership opportunities, but looking for genuine repentance of sin and openness to confessing shortcomings is always a good sign of understanding the gospel—and thus, leadership potential.
- They should make ministry a priority. Young adults are quick to fill their calendars with all sorts of things. There’s no shortage of competing priorities in any of our lives, but we always make time for the things that are MOST important to us. You would be wise to select leaders who have proven that they will give your ministry activities a priority in their schedules.
There are always exceptions to each of these suggestions. You invest in and minister to your group on a weekly or even daily basis, so God has uniquely equipped you to make decisions related to the uniqueness of your ministry. Offering young adults the opportunity to step into leadership positions will often be spiritual markers in their lives. Thank you for the investment you make in the next generation of leaders!
Bill Noe is the Collegiate Ministry Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. A former campus minister (and current collegiate ministry volunteer at church), Bill loves being a part of seeing college students grow in their walk with the Lord. Connect with Bill on Twitter.