Talking to those who intimidate

I was in a conversation recently on the topic of college students doing high school ministry. They said it was like running through the adult gauntlet. When I asked how so, they said that someone ministering on a high school level must navigate several audiences in addition to students (parents, teachers, youth leaders, principals, etc.). This could be rather intimidating.

Read on to see one simple way to help prepare students to minister to those who might be more intimidating such as what they would find in a high school setting or even when they minister in the marketplace after graduation.

I’ve been hearing that leaders in our ministry are asking our staff to take a significant faith step by talking with college presidents. Mark Gauthier has told new staff classes to meet presidents. And Rick Hove, Executive Director, Faculty Commons, asks their staff to do the same thing. Doing so is a more visible and, likewise, riskier proposition than ministering only to faculty and students. I like that.

My wife and I pioneered the ministry at the University of Rhode Island. I got fairly comfortable ministering to students, until one day someone introduced me to the Leadership Interview and suggested I begin going through this with fraternity presidents, athletic team captains, faculty, administrators, etc.

That got me out of my comfort zone. But one of my most memorable conversations from eleven years at URI occurred on when I interviewed the president of the wildest fraternity on campus. I will write about it sometime. But talking with leaders built my faith and raised the visibility of my ministry. I could no longer minister in obscurity. And…it prepared me for greater ministry opportunities.

I don’t have the interview form I used. But here’s one that’s similar.

Leadership Interview

  1. What position do you hold and what are the major responsibilities of your position?
  2. What caused you to seek this leadership position?
  3. Do you enjoy leading and leadership? Why/ why not?
  4. What are your greatest motivations in life?
  5. Who is someone you admire as a leader?  What qualities in them do you admire?
  6. What kind of person are you wiling to follow?
  7. Characterize your leadership style?
  8. In what areas would you like to develop as a leader? What skills would you like to develop?
  9. From your perspective, what are the greatest needs people have?  What are the hot topics those you lead talk about?
  10. As a Christian group on campus, we are interested in how people feel about Christianity and the person of Jesus Christ.
    • What qualities do you admire about Jesus?
    • What do you think he offers people today?
    • On a scale of 1-10, what do you feel is the spiritual interest of students today?
    • If you were in our shoes trying to expose students to Christ in a positive way, what would you do?
  11. Are you familiar with what we share with students on campus?


You may want to change some of the questions. But let me encourage you to ask student leaders to interview other campus leaders above their current comfortable zone, for all the faith growth reasons mentioned.

That way, if they did want to minister on a high school, it wouldn’t be a stretch to speak to parents, teachers and principals. Or, once they graduate, they will be prepared to speak with supervisors, superiors, and owners of the company if they intend to minister in the marketplace.


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