At my Christian high school, one of our random textbooks was called Understanding How Others Misunderstand You. At the time, I’m not sure I read it too diligently, but the title has always stuck with me; it was a book about personalities, and it reminded me that every personality has its weaknesses, not simply its strengths.
Some of those weaknesses would properly be called temptations… which, because they’re so “basic” to who we are, often flesh themselves out in sin and habits and other activities that hurt others and hurt our witness and hurt our opportunities to live out the lives God has for us. Yet for all the work Christian ministers do in discipleship, I wonder how often we help people realize those deep-down traits that need to be handed over to the Lord.
Are you seeing “discipleship at the molecular level” happen in your college ministry? I don’t mean that you need a Personalities seminar (although that can be awesome). But are you and your student leaders actively coming alongside of other students and gently, diligently, plainly confronting the very issues that will hurt them for the next decades… even if those issues may never become an active “crisis”? Satan would love to produce ineffectiveness in each and every one of your students (even if they never take a drink or have sex).
Outcomes will show us how well we’re doing at this. Are there students who enter as proud freshmen but learn humility along the way? Do those who are lazy, or braggy, or a little obnoxious, or chippy learn to fight those temptations – and not simply because they “grow out of them,” but because we love them enough to help?