That’s typically how it starts, doesn’t it?
I’ve been working with students for nearly 20 years now, and been blessed to work with some pretty great students.
As I consider the stories of these students, and the origins of their own call to lead, I have come to believe that the vast majority of these callings come from one of three places – internally, externally, or from Above.
And one of these three sources seems to play a much more prominent role in helping to birth a student’s belief that they have something to offer in the realm of leadership. Can you guess which one it is?
A call from Above?
Nope. While there are those students that can point to the tangible fruit and signs of a life being well-lived with Jesus, and how they can sense God leading them to love and serve others through some intentional leadership role, these students seem to be in a shrinking minority.
More and more, it would seem, students on campuses are overwhelmingly consumed by the schedules they keep, the pace that they live, and the things that believe they must do and be for others. They may do most, or even all, of it in the name of ‘faith,’ but when pressed, they struggle to articulate any real intention with which they engage in relating to Jesus. They just don’t have the margin – the time and space – to invest in that relationship in the ways that are necessary.
A call from within?
Sure, there are some students who seem to be born with a natural bent towards leadership. Likely they were identified as a “natural” leader at a very young age. They simply seem to have the charisma, passion, or capacity for rally others around an idea and then leading the charge. Yes, we still encounter students like this, but I would say that they are in a shrinking minority as well.
A call from outside?
Yep. Over the course of the past 20 years I have seen, and sense, that more and more students need to have the same qualities and characteristics that we desire in our leaders called out in them. It may be that they cannot see what we see. Their perspective is limited. Or skewed. Or worse, they’ve been fed a false narrative that has them living a less than compelling life. So how could they ever envision themselves as a leader?
While some cannot see their potential, other students sense it, but are waiting for someone to confirm it. They don’t want to be seen as haughty or presumptuous or arrogant, so the figure that if someone else sees it in them, then hopefully you will say something – and confirm what they’ve been feeling. But until that happens, they’ll sit on the sidelines – and wait. And wonder.
Can you relate? Is this you?
IF so, can I make a couple of suggestions…
- Get quiet. Create some time and space in your schedule to get alone and be quiet before God.
- Pray. Ask God to show you how he might want to use you. Share your desires. Then, sit and listen.
- Look around. My guess is that there are opportunities for you to invest your gifts and talents and passions in something you are already apart of.
Don’t make the mistake of jumping right to step #3. Give ample time to steps #1 and #2. Only then will you be able to see the opportunities around you for what they really are.