If you are a college student, student ministry leader, or parent of a college student I want you to read this post. College is a window of opportunity. With just a bit of intentionality your college ministry experience could be the difference between a bowl of oatmeal and a Belgian waffle with strawberries and whipping cream. Our college campuses are of course intensely secular places, but there’s really nothing new about that. Followers of Jesus have always been on the outside, a little strange in comparison to the dominant culture. Yet one thing that does seem different today on college campuses is the scale of erosion in the soil of Christian community.
The concern is that without context, it is hard for a young believer to grow and progress in Christ. Without an adequate alternative culture of Jesus-loving friends around you, there is a good chance you will be impacted more by the dominant culture around you, rather than you impacting it. Context to live out our faith is absolutely crucial.
Do you ever wonder, are people really listening when I speak? People may look like they are listening, but how do you know if you are actually impacting them? Afterall, the goal of speaking is not to just get people to sit still until you are finished talking. You want to impact them and help them grow.
You want to serve people in some way through your speaking. I’m still processing each one of the bullet points I’m about to share. I hope I never stop growing, and if I ever do, anyone please hit me over the head with a bag of nickles and remind me to keep improving!
HERE ARE 21 STUMBLING BLOCKS THAT MIGHT KEEP PEOPLE FROM LISTENING TO YOU WHEN YOU SPEAK
Years ago one of my good friends, Howard Baker (who is now the professor of Christian Formation at Denver Seminary), led me through what he called an “Adventure in Prayer.” It was a time of spiritual direction to slow me down and experience Jesus’ love for me in a time, as a leader, that I was being tempted a lot by performance and achievement. Howard’s guidance through Scripture nurtured my soul. He pointed me toward some passages that continue to bring life and more life as I consider them (Psalm 63, 23; Isaiah 55; Psalm 139; Isaiah 43; Hosea 11:1-4).
The Hobbit is a Window into a Spiritual Leadership Reality.
Reading the Hobbit makes me tired. It is one battle after another… with seemingly little respite. Yet the story Tolkien portrays is one of inexperienced and fearful hobbits becoming courageous champions of a cause that they believed would save the world. With a little vision and encouragement from Gandalf, they were on their way, not knowing what would happen to them. Tolkien’s story is full of lessons on spiritual leadership.
Similar to Gandalf’s conversation with Frodo, when Jesus took his young disciples up on a mountain before he ascended to heaven, he also made his mission intent clear… that although they may be afraid and the world seemed like a field too big to plant the seeds of the Gospel (see Matthew 28:19-20), he was sending them anyway… ready or not. He knew they would become courageous as they went. And so they did.