Yesterday, I talked about how easy it can be to overlook potential student leaders who don’t fit our usual “mold” or who don’t take our usual “leadership track.” Here are a couple of ways to minimize frustrating those students and missing out on how they can impact our ministry.

An open call alongside personal requests. Especially if a ministry is small or mid-sized, it’s tempting to raise up leaders only from students you know or whom your present student leaders know. And while referrals and hand-picking are effective ways to find new leaders, they can’t account for every gifted, mature student in your ministry.

So alongside that, I think it’s always important to provide some sort of open call – whether by offering an application, holding an interest meeting, establishing an explicit pipeline (“if you want to lead next semester, you need to come to this study for six weeks”), or spreading the word through your small groups. Yes, you’ll get some unqualified people – and some of the best discipleship college students can get is through the word No. But you’ll also find out who wants to lead, and you’ll likely stumble upon some excellent candidates.

Mid-year opportunities alongside annual ones. Even if your student leadership backbone is rebuilt only once a year, there should be occasional opportunities for new leaders to jump in to do something. (And I think there’s a pretty good argument to be made for staggering your leadership opportunities, raising up some positions each August and some each January… but that’s not for every ministry.)

At least there’s a good chance you’ll need new small group leaders mid-semester or mid-year. And there’s always an event to be planned, a new initiative to be directed, or an idea for next year that needs a good “directional team.” Each of these are opportunities for old leaders AND new ones.