I was in the Red River Region last month for a Multiple Movements training. I got to meet Kristin Hutcherson, an intern on the Oklahoma Catalytic team. She shared some thoughts about the relationship between the staff coach and the student leaders. She has a unique perspective, because she was a leader most of her time in college, and, as student director, was coached by from a distance.
As a student, my coach Tom Bost would always encourage me to lead in these three areas. They helped me understand my role as a student director. But I find that they are even more relevant in my role now as a coach.
1. You are a shepherd.
- How is everyone doing?
- You have to care for them and be in their lives.
- How can I encourage them?
- How can I point them towards the Word?
- This aspect cannot be overlooked by your student directors or by you in your coaching role.
- We aren’t just about rolling out “ministry machines”…we care about these students. We care about their personal relationship with the Lord. Make sure they know that.
2. You are a communicator.
- Everybody must be on the same page. (students and staff)
- Tell them stuff. Don’t assume that just because staff knows or understands something that your students leaders will.
- Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself or to ask clarifying questions.
- It can be really frustrating to a student when you are asked to own something (and you want to) and then you aren’t allowed to or things have to change simply because things were not communicated well.
- It is a student director’s job to be in communication with the staff team and pass it on to the leadership team.
3. You are a vision caster.
- I think this is one of the most important things we do as staff. I also think this is very important for our student directors to own.
- I truly believe that if your students understand the vision, the rest of the “stuff” will fall into place. They will figure out how to best reach their campus. They will come up with ideas, start Bible studies, etc.
- I also think it is important that vision comes first in planning with and coaching our students. It seems backwards to come back after we have done or planned something and say, “Oh yeah, the reason we did this is…”
- You can be creative in vision casting. It does not just have to be reciting our vision statement over and over.
- I think we should encourage our students to do some type of vision casting in every leadership meeting, weekly meeting, Bible study, etc. We should also do some type of vision casting every time we talk with our students.
4. Some final random thoughts about things…
- Leadership/Servant Teams: When re really saw things start to happen on my campus was when these three things started happening. First prayer became a priority. As students, we were saturating our ministry in prayer. Secondly, we got organized. We organized our team, got specific about our roles, and met twice a week together. (One to pray, one to plan.) Thirdly, we began to understand and own the vision.
- We need to make sure that we are pouring back into the lives of our student leaders. We ask them to disciple other students and to do all of these things, but they are so susceptible to burning out if no one is pouring back into them.
- Your students will place emphasis on things you place emphasis on. If you are always talking to them about their weekly meeting, they will assume that is what is important. If you are talking to them about the lost, they will notice that. Sutdents will notice what you prioritize by your words and actions.
Kristin knows what it is like to lead as a student. She also knows that as staff, her role is to lead leaders. There is a difference. Steve Sellers says, “You can’t do big what you once did small.” I love seeing those that we as staff lead, begin to see how God can use them in a profound way. For more, see
- John Mitchell’s article on “Delegating to Develop Future Leaders“.
- Melissa Mitchell’s article, “Training ‘James Bond’“.