Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

This morning I read Tim Elmore’s latest blog post. The first 2/3rds of the post deal with the communication gap between the iY Generation and older generations. (The other 1/3rd of the post is a plug for Tim’s new book on the subjuct, “Habitudes for Communicators”. I plan on picking it up.) The post provides some good observations points to think about as you work to communicate effectively with your students.

What are some ways you are communicating with your students? What have you found to be difficult? What have you found to be effective?

You can find the post HERE.

FYI: I have used Dr. Elmore’s Habitudes and other resources and have found them very useful. See his website here.

Tim Elmore has put together some important realities when teaching and leading Generation iY. Check them out HERE.

What are your thoughts?

Once we know what we are looking for in a leader, how do we find them? This is the hardest part. Wading through a sea of students to pinpoint potentials, then narrowing down committed students willing to give leadership a shot. Or you could be looking at a small pool of students trying to convince students they have potential. Whatever your context there needs to be a place to start the search? What is the best way to start recruiting? Here is what I’ve been learning.

First, establish a process for locating and recruiting leadership. A process or plan of action can help one swim through a sea of students without becoming overwhelmed and drowning. And it can help one navigate a limited pool to determine those with the most potential.

Keys to the process:
1. Be Clear – Make sure students know qualifications, expectations, length of commitment, etc. Students need to know what is being looked for in and what is expected of a leader in the ministry. (This can be easily communicated in an application. List qualifications, expectations, time commitment, important dates and job descriptions in the application.)

2. Be Thorough / Complete – Shake every bush you know to shake. Leaders are not always found in the obvious places. Use other leaders and students to help pinpoint potentials. Look at everyone who has participated in the ministry (small groups, worship nights, mission trips, retreats, etc.) Potentials can show up in many places.

3. Set Reasonable Time Limits – Set some deadlines. One can’t recruit forever. Help students see the need to decide and move forward in the process. Pay attention to the school calendar.

4. A Narrowing Focus – The process needs to help weed out unqualified students and recruit consistent with the ministry vision.

Ideas for the process:
Host an information lunch – Send personal invitations from you and current leadership to attend. (You may want to offer and open invitation as well.) Invite current leadership team members to come and share their experience. Have a Q & A with those leaders. Make applications and job descriptions available for potentials.

Personally recruit leaders – Single out potential students. Set a time to meet with them or send them a personal invitation to apply for the team. Ask current leadership team members to do the same thing. A personal touch can help a potential student move forward and apply.

Make open appeals with caution – If you make open appeals to the general population with in the ministry, make sure your process gives you the ability to say no to unqualified students graciously.

Second, put your process to work.

Start with an application. Develop an application to collect information from potentials and communicate expectations and clear job descriptions for leaders. The application needs to ask potentials to communicate their background (hometown, leadership or ministry experience, testimony, etc.), current situation (major, hours completed, job, how is God moving in your life now, etc.), spiritual giftedness.

Some things the application I use in my ministry includes:
Covenant Agreement – The agreement clarifies expectations of moral behavior and conflict resolution.

Spiritual Gifts Inventory – I give a website for a free assessment. They record the results in the application.

Important Dates & Expectations – I try to outline all the dates of events and other activities leadership team members are expected to participate in. The sooner they have the dates the sooner they can work their schedules around them.

Interview. After an application is turned in conduct a time to interview the potential. The interview allows for clarification of the application, understanding of expectations and job descriptions and opportunity to get to know the potential and vice-versa.

The interview also allows for the potential to verbalize their testimony and God’s activity in their life. I find this to be very important. It helps to better assess spiritual maturity, passions, and communication ability.

Ideas for the Application & Interview:
Ask what you want to know – make sure to ask the questions to collect the information needed. (Don’t go overboard – keep it with in reason.)

Involve other staff, upperclassman or veteran leadership in the interview process – a second set of eyes and ears can open a world of perspective.

The process for recruitment must be set to the context of the ministry. Using the above suggestions can help one pull together a solid process of recruitment.

How do you recruit leaders for your ministry? What is involved with your process? Share your thoughts.

Good leadership (in most cases) starts with a quality person. I think agreement can be found from ministry to ministry or oganization to organization; you want quality people in leadership positions. The “list” of qualities would have many similarities and differences for each ministry and/or organization. Entire books have been written on what qualities a person in leadership should possess. The articles, workshops and sermons on the subject are numerous. So how does one come up with a “list” of qualities?

Starting Point: The Variables.

To find the appropriate answer one needs to start with two big variables of the ministry or organization: Structure and Context.

Structure: How is the leadership team organized (team approach, committees, hierarchy)? What type of positions (small group leaders, officers, team leaders) need to be filled? Some positions will have a need for different qualities than others.

Context: What is the setting the ministry and its leaders operate under? Large campus/church or small campus/church; Small, one college town/Large city, multiple college town; 4 year state school/private college/2 year community college. What is the focus of the ministry? Is the focus on athletes, Greeks, Freshman, or the general campus population? Answers will determine the qualities needed for leadership.

Next – The Givens or non-negotiables. What must every leader posses in order to serve in leadership regardless of structure and context?

A commitment to Jesus Christ – leaders of a ministry tasked to reach a campus with the gospel need to have embraced the gospel and its implications for life with their own hearts in order to lead others to do the same.

Evidence of a growing and maturing relationship with Jesus – belief in the gospel must be bolstered by evidence indicating one’s maturing in their understanding of God’s expectations for life and responding in obedience to those expectations on a consistent bases.

A solid sense of humility (A Philippians 2 mindset) – leaders need to live life with a good estimation of themselves. Understanding who one is and who one is not will facilitate leadership from humility instead of pride.

A teachable spirit – leaders must remain learners. A leaders effectiveness is connected to his/her ability to learn from others, mistakes, change and the Holy Spirit.

In considering qualities, another question emerges.. How much stock do we put in one’s potential? Should potential outweigh character weakness or flaws?

Leadership development means exactly that – develop leaders. Potential must play a role. No candidate for leadership will perfectly fit a list of qualities. There must be a willingness to help students capitalize on strengths and passions and to grow in areas of weakness. A Philippians 2 mindset can be taught and experienced in the context of serving in a leadership position.

These things are not earth-shattering or tremendously insightful, but offer a good base to think through leadership qualities for leaders. What are your thoughts? Do you have some other variables? Would you list other non-negotiables? Let me hear from you. Let’s get the discussion going.

(There are many out there – you can add others that have helped you in the comments. Here are a few I have found very helpful.)

“Next Generation Leader: Five Essentials for those Who Will Shape the Future” – Andy Stanley

“Dynamic Spiritual Leadership: Leading Like Paul” – J. Oswald Sanders

Growing Leaders

Dwight D. Eisenhower defined leadership this way, “The art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.”

This is a fitting definition for leadership in the context of campus ministry – the art of getting students to reach the campus, because they want to reach the campus. But how do we get students to want to reach the campus? It starts with leadership.

The givens:

    Every campus ministry must have leadership.
    Campus ministers (non-student staff) are a big part of the leadership equation in any ministry to collegiates rather it be church based or campus based.

However, the hinge point is this: leadership from the constituents of a ministry is the very breath of the effort.

Collegiate ministry must have collegiates in the lead. The reality of leadership relegates success and failure. Leadership creates the perception and the experience of an organization. Leadership maps the pace and the destination of a ministry. With out collegiates in the lead of a collegiate ministry it cannot achieve its ultimately purpose: reach the campus.

This is a start to a series of post discussing Leadership with in a collegiate ministry. Here are some of the questions I will answer and discuss:

    What are the qualities of a collegiate leader?
    What is the process to recruit leaders?
    How are leaders trained and developed?
    What are the expectations of the leader?

Obviously context is a significant factor in the answer to these questions. I will base my answers on my own context and experience. I invite readers from other contexts to offer insights from their perspective.

Give the questions above some thought and offer your insight. If you have another question you would like to add to the mix, please offer it through the comments.

Until next time…