terrify your student leaders, please

I had the wonderful chance to help lead the student leaders’ retreat for Abilene’s Pioneer Drive Baptist Church college ministry this past weekend. I talked about a lot of things with the few dozen on the leadership team – many of those will show up here this week – but I wanted to kick off the week with ONE big theme from the weekend.

I want to start this week by encouraging you to make sure you’ve worked hard…

…to terrify your student leaders.

As Pioneer’s college minister and I worked through our plans for the weekend, we realized the value of raising the stakes for these student leaders as they face the year ahead. We needed to help them recognize they’re not only “student leaders”; their roles mean they’re actually college ministers themselves. And because that’s true, they’re also missionaries to their own campuses.

College ministers. Missionaries. Those are two roles your student leaders might not realize they’re actually called to. But when they do – and especially when we hash out what those roles mean, it (rightly) gets a little scary for these students: The weight God places on ministers. The expectations of the roles. The dangers inherent – both of the “temptation” form and the “trial” form. The work involved. The potential impact. The potential disaster if God doesn’t work through them to accomplish what they’ve set out to do.

And so on.

But of course, we want our student leaders to feel a little freaked – the kind of “terrified” that drives them to their knees, drives them to seek wise counsel, drives them to build their skills. We want them to be humbled to the point that their hope is placed in the Lord – not primarily in their skills, their opportunities, or the people around them.

Have you terrified your student leaders enough this year?


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