a heart-to-heart before the start

I’ve occasionally noted that college ministers are tempted to give far too much weight to the opinion of a single student. Any sort of minister has to watch out for that tendency to extrapolate because one likable member mentions a concern.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to students’ concerns – and all the moreso when those students are serving as leaders.

When is the last time you sat one-on-one with each of your student leaders, simply to ask them their deep thoughts on your college ministry? It’s important that they feel the freedom anytime to share a concern – and not just a concern about sin. But you get that ball rollin’ by raising the issue in a pointed way. You’ve got to ask.

You need to know the concerns – small or large – that your student leaders have. No, you probably don’t want to know those. But it’s important. Not that you’ll change everything they mention, and in fact – without being defensive, hopefully – you’ll probably have some chances to clear up some of those concerns. Others will hit you squarely between the eyes, and you’ll make a change.

But asking the concerns your leaders have also makes you consider your path, get “fresh eyes” on your ministry from trusted sources, and take the temperature of your leadership core as a whole.

Part of knowing the “condition of your flocks” means knowing where they find frustration or lack optimism about your ministry. There’s no better time than now.

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