Yesterday, I discussed one group of students we should consider directing to discipleship tailored for them and their calling: those entering “vocational ministry.” It’s not that this calling is any more important than other callings, of course. But the truth that these women and men will be responsible for shepherding others means we, as their present shepherds, might want to help prepare them for that kind of role in which James said we will be “judged more strictly.”
As fellow ministers-by-calling, we also have a familiarity and opportunity we might not have with other vocations.
So how might we help college students who plan to pursue vocational ministry after (or before) graduation?
1. Help them understand they need training. Some of your students may have already jumped in to youth ministry, worship leading, or other forms of “professional” ministry. But each of these need skills, mentorship, and other training to be as strong as they can be.
2. Connect them to great mentors. You can connect these students to local mentors – senior pastors, youth pastors, worship leaders, etc.. Some of these may mentor them directly in their field, but others may just help them prepare in general for a potential lifetime of ministry.
3. Consider a short-term discipleship group. Of course, you might want to disciple these students, too. This would be a great “niche small group” to organize every once in awhile – letting you and the students themselves collaborate on what their calling means.
4. Teaching a great understanding of calling and knowing God’s direction (short-term or long-term).
5. Being willing to say No and other uncomfortable words. One of the best way to disciple any of our students is to be willing to tell them No. Sometimes they’re not ready for the leadership roles they’re hoping for, either in your ministry or otherwise. They need to hear that. Other students need to be confronted about certain issues in their life. Does this happen in your ministry? For those approaching a lifetime of vocational work, you may be one of the individuals that helps them find a lifetime of impact… rather than stumbling over their own particular temptations.