student leader upgrade #9: honor that leads to upgrade

This is a post from the past, but it’s an important fit for this series. While these methods may not seem to upgrade your leaders directly, they will indeed lead to substantially better leaders – both now and in the years to come.

I had the awesome chance to speak to a church’s college ministry student leaders a while back, and I aimed to raise the bar on their ministry this year. I told them they are truly college ministers in their role – and therefore each a missionary to their own campus tribe.

It’s valuable to do what we can to help our student leaders understand the weight of their task. At the same time, we should be letting our whole ministry know how highly we regard their peer leaders.

Here are some methods that might help:

1. Hold a commissioning ceremony (even at a church)

You might make a real impact in leaders’ lives by performing a commissioning ceremony at the beginning of the year – with all the solemnity, instruction, and even “pomp” that gets the point across (without overdoing it) for your group. And even if you’re not a church-based college ministry, consider holding this ceremony in front of a gathered congregation of believers. (Regardless of where you hold the ceremony, you could even have students invite friends and family!!!)

2. Write letters (and let students know)

You could take the time to send a letter to students’ back-home contacts: parents, pastors, youth pastors. Announce the student’s leadership position, the roles they’ll be playing, and prayer requests. While this is a good idea anyway, it will also raise the bar for the student himself – especially if you give him a copy of the letter and the recipient list.

3. Honor in front of peers (even regularly)

I’m a big believer in the “You cultivate what you honor” principle. But not only does putting your leadership in front of their peers help raise up new leaders, it also helps “raise up” those present leaders even more! Of course, while this might look something like the commissioning ceremony, you could also honor/terrify your leaders through pictures on the wall, names and contact info on the web page, or other regular, obvious means.

one last note

If this whole idea of “commissioning” leaders in front of a church, letting their home base know about their role, or publicizing their role with their peers seems really uncomfortable… are you sure you’ve got the kind of leaders you want to cultivate more of? Always good to think about.

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