One of my earliest college ministry regrets actually could sound a little mean: I’m disappointed I didn’t ask a student leader to step down. He had spent over a semester breaking his commitments and otherwise displaying a lack of integrity. But we kept him in place.
Since then, I’ve come to realize better that confronting students’ sin – even sometimes with a clear consequence like removal from leadership – can be the best form of disciplemaking we can offer them. Many of our students have risen through the ranks of some youth group, somewhere, “playing the game.” Maybe they’ve even spent time doing the same thing in college – “leading” without integrity, ministering without focus or commitment, claiming to be spiritual but proving to everyone they’re missing something in that pursuit.
We campus ministers are, for many of them, their last checkpoint… literally, we are the last point at which these character issues might be checked. Once they graduate, change and self-realization will likely be much harder; this may be the last time they’re rather teachable.
Are we willing to provide those checks – boldly, explicitly, wisely – to those who need them?