spring idea: new leaders in prime time

While thousands of college ministries are jumping back into it this week, we’re moving quick-like with some spring-specific ideas. I’m categorizing these with the Frideas, so you can check them out here.

And without further ado, today’s idea: Install your new student leaders before the school year ends.

This is a method I’ve heard various college ministers extol, and it makes a lot of sense to me. The norm seems to be for new student leaders to step into place as the new school year begins (whether those are service-oriented or teaching-role student leaders). But it’s worth asking, Is this the best way for your ministry to make that transition?

When some college ministries take this route instead, they commission the new student leaders immediately following Spring Break, to replace, apprentice, or serve alongside the former student leaders. (Of course, for those on the Quarter System, that might look a little different – although the same arguments could be made for starting your leadership cycle with the Spring Quarter altogether.)

In any case, there are a few advantages to commissioning student leaders early, and they’re potentially BIG:

  • Gives new leaders a chance to get their feet wet
  • Promotes summertime as key preparation / thinking / tweaking time, because leaders already feel invested in their roles
  • Allows former student leaders to mentor, co-lead with, or at least help / encourage new leaders
  • Energizes the ministry during a traditional “energy dip” in the school year
  • Highlights the role of student leadership / honors new student leaders in a more public way

There are several variations on exactly how this can take place. But the advantage of promoting leaders while you’re still (barely) in the school year’s “Prime Time” could be worth it!

And of course, if it doesn’t go well, you can always move Leader-Switch back to Late Night.

If you’ve got any spring-specific campus ministry ideas, let me know! I might be able to include them this week.


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  1. Benson,

    This is the first year we have implemented this idea. We did an 8-week training season with potential leaders in the fall trimester. Then, having chosen leaders, we hit the ground running with them fully on-board in January for the spring trimester.

    One key thing: these leaders will serve for 1 calendar year. So, they will still be on the leadership team next fall, when we start this crazy campus ministry cycle all over again.

    It’s early, but I can already see some great benefits from this:

    *Students are thinking long-term…what about next fall? How will what we do this trimester affect next trimester?

    *Usually the spring is a slower time for us, momentum wise. Not so this year. The new leaders have brought great energy to a usually tough time.

    *We are able to go deep with our leaders and give them the time they need. Since the fall trimester craziness is out of the way…we can invest in these guys on a deeper level, since our time is not in as high of demand as in the fall.

    *That’s just a few.

  2. We are doing the tried and true 12 week discipleship by design course by harvey herman. We are combining the up and coming leaders and current leaders in this training time.
    Highlights of these leadership training meetings:
    *Bi-weekly dinners served at beginning of training time. Leaders to bring $3.
    *By combining current leaders and up and coming leaders they are building team.
    *we will have 2 retreats for them. one mandatory leadership retreat in april.
    *and we are planning a new thing, spiritual transformation retreat in late feb. which is optional for leaders.

  3. Brandon & Rhia –

    Thanks for your notes on this. I love for college ministers to think through both of those “tweaks” – either having their leaders serve January to December (like you’re doing, Brandon), or training upcoming leaders and present leaders together (like Rhia’s doing). Those methods won’t fit every ministry – but we need to have more ideas “on the table” for our consideration! Thanks for that!

  4. Pingback: frideas for the spring | Exploring College Ministry blog (daily notes on our field)

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