So you want to lead, but you don’t know how? Or maybe you’re already leading and you have no idea what you’re doing. Or maybe you just know you want to do something but you don’t know where to start.
First of all, you’re in good company!
None of us know what we’re doing most of the time. And as a Christian, I think it’s actually a good thing when we step out of our comfort zone to say, “God, I know this needs to be done, but I have no idea how to do it. Would you help me?” So if that’s you right now, praise God! You are in an amazing spot, and God will use your faithfulness in ways you can’t imagine right now.
So, even though I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time either, let me try to help! From my time with Power to Change, I do have a few tips and lessons I’ve learned along the way that I hope will help you as you step out in faith to reach your campus.
Seems obvious, maybe–start with prayer. If you are feeling ill-equipped to reach your campus or lead others, pray that God would equip you and give you confidence. If you’re feeling unsure how to start, pray that God would provide opportunities.
Jesus, when he was with his disciples, told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38) So pray that he would send you out, and that he would send others with you.
Whatever your fears, your needs, your nerves–start by bringing them to God in prayer.
2. Rely On The Holy Spirit, Not Yourself
It’s easy to think that to be a leader, we have to have certain abilities or already know everything. But instead of trusting in your own abilities, look at this as a chance to trust God’s work in and through you.
“Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” – 1 Corinthians 3:16
He has given us his Holy Spirit so that we aren’t just dependent on our own competence or skill. If you are looking at what needs to be done on your campus and thinking, “I am so not qualified for this,” that’s awesome! Because you already know you need the Spirit’s help, and that’s a great place to start.
3. Don’t Do It Alone
When we see the goal of reaching our campus with the gospel, it can definitely feel daunting. And it can feel even more so when you feel like you’re the only one doing it. So find others who will join you in this mission!
First, talk to your church. Ask the congregation to pray for you; ask other students who attend to join you on campus; ask an older friend or leader to help mentor you to be a leader too.
Then, ask your Christian friends on campus to join you. Don’t know other Christians on campus? Try something we like to call ‘FAST’ (because it really won’t take you much time at all).
Go out on campus and ask groups of students, “Hey, I’m trying to start a Christian club. Do you know any Christians on campus who might want to hear about it?” You might meet Christians right then, or you might get contact info of Christians others know, but it’s a great, quick way to find out if there are others on campus who could do this with you.
4. Mind The Gap
If you see a gap that’s not being filled in your own spiritual walk, there are two ways to look at it. You could see that you have a need that’s not being filled and despair. Or, you could see that others probably have that same need, and step out to try and fill it so that no one else has to go without.
For example, you may see a need for discipleship in your life. But maybe there are no staff or student leaders on your campus to disciple you. Why don’t you try stepping out to fill that gap for others? As you disciple other students, you’ll see that you have a lot you can learn from each other. And you could be the start of a chain of discipleship that means no future student will have to be in your position.
If you don’t know where to begin, check out Discipleship 1.0, which can help guide you through the process of discipleship. Try starting there!
5. Use The Tools Available To You
Leading out in evangelism can be scary, but there are lots of different tools that you can use to help you get more comfortable with it! Two great ones are Perspective and Soularium, because they come with instructions and questions to ask.
Try grabbing another Christian and approaching some friends or students hanging out on campus, and ask them to go through one of these things with you. And know that it’s okay to learn as you go! You don’t have to be an expert to give it a shot, and you’ll get better at all of these things the more you do them.
6. Take Every Training Opportunity You Can Get
If you have a group now that you’re trying to lead, there are probably lots of times where you still feel like there are skills you need to hone and training you need to receive to really lead well. So don’t turn down the opportunities in front of you to learn these things!
Power to Change provides many opportunities to get focused training: a regionally-based fall retreat called Summit; a Christmas break conference called P2C PLUS; reading week road trips to do missions informally on other campuses in Canada; and missions trips all over the world that are packed with training and opportunities to grow.
Recently I went on a road trip with a group of students to a different campus in our region. At the end of the trip one student told me that on her own campus, she was shy to lead in evangelistic conversations and usually didn’t say much. But being on a different campus for a few days and learning new skills for sharing, she had gained a new boldness. She said she feels confident she can lead out on her own campus now, too. This change only took a few days of training and the willingness to go when the opportunity was there.
Can you imagine how God could use a few days at a conference or a few weeks on a missions trip to help equip you? These opportunities exist for you, so don’t pass them up!
7. Don’t Be Afraid
Easier said than done, I know. But I’m not saying “Just stop being scared!” I’m saying, put your fears in context. When God tells us we don’t need to be afraid, he tells us why, too: because he is in control.
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” -Isaiah 41:10
God tells us what to do with our fears. He says to bring them to him, and see them not in light of our abilities or other people or whatever we’re scared of, but in light of who he is and where he’s taking us.
When I was a student involved with Power to Change, there were lots of things I was scared of. I was scared that I didn’t know enough, that my friends wouldn’t want to talk about spiritual things, that I would try to lead and just end up doing or saying something wrong. But now, when I look back at my time in university, the things I am most proud of are the steps of faith I took, and the things I wish I could change are the times I was held back by my fears.
So remember that when God calls you, he has a plan in mind. He already knows where he is taking you. Think of Moses: we remember him as a great leader, an important religious and historical figure, a man of great faith. But do you remember how Moses responded when God first called to him from that burning bush, asking him to lead his people?
Moses stood there and told God, “I don’t know what I’m doing. No one will believe what I say. I don’t speak well. I can’t.” (Exodus 3-4) Imagine if Moses had let those fears hold him back. Think of what he would have missed out on if he hadn’t trusted God and decided to lead, even though he felt unqualified and unprepared.
Would you like to start a ministry on your campus? We would love to help!
We long for the day when no student graduates without engaging with the life-changing message of the gospel. So, we’re always looking for how we can help more people discover Jesus and connect Christians together!
Have you ever thought about what it might be like to be a trailblazer in a campus movement, right where you’re already studying? Maybe it sounds crazy, but it’s actually a lot of fun! We’d love to help you, as you help other students discover Jesus. Click here and we will help you get started.