Student-Led Movements

It’s 2012. I am anticipating a great year of ministry. I’ve been thinking recently about what this year could look like. I’ve thought: Wouldn’t it be great if…
…we could really see students, faculty and volunteers take on significant roles in ministry?
…we could launch new movements on 1000 new campuses?
…we could leverage virtual ministry and our own strategic thinking to see even more ministry than we could do by ourselves?

I have been challenged recently in my thinking along these lines while reading about “Student-Led Ministries”, a specific focus of the Global Campus team. The focus is on students planning, leading, organizing, sharing Christ, discipling others, building leaders, owning budgets and making budget decisions. They have the freedom to lead. Staff have a specific role in jump-starting those movements, not controlling the ministry. Students figure out how and what they will use.

Many of us can look back to our own days as students when we led evangelism and discipleship efforts. I remember at Penn State I had a chart on the back of my dorm closet door listing every dorm floor in East Halls where someone was sharing their faith and listing those who had come to Christ that year. We may have had 150 students leading the ministry efforts in those years.

Phillip Baron, is an Area Of Affairs Campus Director, living in the Philippines. Campus ministries in several countries report to him. He has helped their Area of Affairs structure their campus ministry to allow students to lead.

He describes student-led ministry this way:

  • Student’s personal vision drawn out and connected with God’s plan and CCC vision
  • Students raise and manage funds
  • What happens is up to the students – success or failure – leadership remains with them
  • Students innovate, create in areas of evangelism and discipleship; lack of resources leads to innovation. Risk taking.
  • Dependence on God, not on staff.
  • They figure out how to best network with others on campus, for great evangelism and discipleship.

Phillip says it requires staff

  • to believe students can do all that God wants done on the campus
  • to let students fail, take risks
  • to coach students, but students do all things
  • to train students in transferable methods
  • to keep movement building simple
  • to focus students on the heart.
  • to identify personal identity issues threatened by student leadership
  • to agree together on what they will do and not do
  • to help students internalize WBS
  • to show them once or twice, then it’s up to the students
  • to limit their time on campus to 1-3 hrs/week, max
  • to be willing to let a campus ministry die – don’t rescue a campus.

I like what Phillip says in another article,
“Student-led movements are not just about adding another campus to your ministry scope. It isn’t building more with less bricks even though it feels like you are. It is building something greater than what you or your team can do by yourselves.”

While the focus here has been on student-led movements, the principles can also be applied to faculty and volunteers as well. Why not consider targeting a campus where you don’t have anything going yet? Place Facebook ads targeting the campus for the next two to three months. Sign up to receive emails and minister on-line to those who respond to those ads. And trust God to start a movement with those who are interested.

You can read more about Student-Led Movements from the Global Campus team.


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