For your student leaders (and especially your upperclassmen), here’s a pretty simple way to help prepare them for a lifetime of ministry (and not just “vocational ministry!”): Get them “backstage” with ministry leadership – in your ministry structures, or elsewhere in town.

More plainly: Find opportunities for select student leaders to sit in on leadership meetings – not simply within your college ministry (if they’re not already), but also in meetings with your ministry higher-ups, staff meetings at your church or other churches, even meetings of church elders, non-profit staffers, or other places ministry leaders are “making the sausage,” as it were.

In a way, this is treating your student leaders like “residents” – men and women preparing to be something more, not just men and women fulfilling a great ministry role now. And while some of those meetings could be boring or wonky or tedious at times, they can also help your passionate, zealous, and still very young leaders realize that ministry involves much more than what they see on stage or they see “on the front lines.”

But you know what? Those opportunities are also likely to make your student leaders feel quite honored and empowered, give them insight about paths for their future, even begin preparing them for the day they’ll be an active participant in a room like that.