Developing Student Leaders for a College Ministry

Arliss Dickerson

It is tempting for a volunteer or part time college ministry leader to say it is simpler and more effective time wise to do it all one’s self. Yet, enlisting and developing student leaders is at the very heart of what we are to do and will benefit us and the ministry.

Four Reasons to Enlist and Develop Student Leaders:


1. Student leaders can connect with and impact other students the leader cannot.

2. Student leaders can do basic tasks, freeing the college ministry leader for other tasks.

3. Students tend to grow more in their relationship to Christ when they are serving.

4. Developing student leaders helps build up leaders for churches in the future.

Where Can You Start?


When beginning a ministry or taking over one with no student leaders, there are some different ways to enlist and develop leaders. A Leadership Team could be as few as two or three or larger.

1. Ask some students you know who have potential and are willing to serve.

2. If there are students already involved in the ministry, ask them to suggest two or three who they think have the ability to serve and whom they would like to see in a leadership role. Respect for a student leader is huge and these suggestions will tell you who your students respect and look to in this way.

3. Ask for volunteers to serve on a Leadership Team. WARNING: When you do this, you must accept all who volunteer and this can sometimes place students in a role which is not the best.

Articulate Expectations:

When asking students to serve in some sort of leadership role, explain to them what they would be expected to do. Many times, student leaders fail because they did not have clear expectations. Or, students will decline to serve because they do not know what they are being asked to do. Here are some examples of expectations:

• Live a Christian lifestyle that reflects positively on the Christian faith and the ministry.
• Attend the weekly large group or Bible study event.
• Attend regular Leadership Team meetings or individual meetings with the college ministry leader.
• Do the specific tasks of a leader such as plan the fellowships, do publicity for your events, etc.

Utilizing Your Student Leaders:

There are two different ways to utilize and delegate tasks to these student leaders. The first is to have a regular meeting of the Leadership Team. Here is a simple outline of what might happen:

1. What are our upcoming events between now and our next meeting?

2. Who needs to do what task wise before or during that event?

3. Any discussion or evaluation of our just passed event(s)?

4. Prayer time for specific people and our upcoming events.

5. Praise for what the Leadership Team has done to this point. Always, always express appreciation for what volunteers do. There is always room for gratitude.

Meeting One on One with Student Leaders:

In the beginning having a regular Leadership Team meeting may not be possible. So, as the college ministry leader, commit to meeting one to one with that leader or leaders. So, what needs to happen in that time and how can it be done?

Six Tips for Meeting One to One:

1. Have a set time and place (Tuesdays at 11:00 at the Library). Sometimes, this is not possible, so as the leader you must be diligent to make sure a regular meeting happens.

2. Meet somewhere private, if possible, to avoid interruptions and allow for private conversations.

3. Ask about their classes, family, work, etc. Always demonstrate a personal interest in them and their development. It is never just about the ministry.

4. Discuss any past ministry events for evaluation or celebration.

5. Discuss upcoming events. What is their perspective and ideas? What do they need to do?

6. Discuss prayer requests and pray together for the ministry and their personal needs and concerns. What do they need you as the leader of leaders to do to help them?

Leadership Application
Name_______________________ Cell_________________
Major___________ Overall GPA______ Anticipated Graduation Date________
Local Church Affiliation______________ Hometown Church_________________

What area of leadership are you interested in:

Please answer the following questions on an attached sheet.
— Briefly share the beginning of your personal relationship with Christ?
— How is your relationship with God impacting your life currently?
— Why would you like to serve in a leadership role?
— Other time commitments for next semester? (campus organizations, work, church)

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