Apr 25, 2016

Develop, Mobilize

3 Reasons We Must Train New Collegiate Leaders


Neil Reynolds reminds of the need and importance of training new collegiate leaders to reach college and university students.

If I could poll every collegiate leader out there I’d like to know how they got into it. I can’t think of very many pathways into collegiate ministry. There aren’t many collegiate ministry degrees out there.

Besides, you don’t learn to do collegiate ministry in a classroom. I have a seminary degree and it’s been incredibly valuable. But, without practical, on the ground training, I couldn’t do what I do. I apprenticed for two years with a collegiate minister and it was invaluable.

I now lead the ministry I apprenticed in. We still have our apprenticeship program and we currently have two guys in the pipeline. As long as I’m working with college students, I want to be actively involved in training future collegiate ministry leaders.

You can call it an apprenticeship, an internship…call it whatever you want. It really doesn’t matter. Here’s what matters…

If every collegiate leader spent two years training a future collegiate ministry leader we’d have twice as many leaders equipped to lead collegiate ministries in just 2 years.

I can think of at least three other reasons why every collegiate minister needs to be training someone to do collegiate ministry…

1. Opportunities for training are limited.

I mentioned this already but it bears repeating… opportunities for collegiate ministry training are limited.

There are schools dedicated to educating and training leaders for other fields of ministry. That’s great. We shouldn’t begrudge that fact. But, since we know this void exists it’s our responsibility to stand in the gap to train future collegiate ministry leaders.

There’s no one in a better position to train the next generation of collegiate ministry leaders than those of us who are currently leading collegiate ministries.

If universities are one of the most receptive mission fields in the world, we need to be training leaders to go there.

2. There’s a need for collegiate ministry leaders.

In some denominations and networks the end result of limited training opportunities is a shortage of collegiate ministers. For instance, in my denomination there are only 125 collegiate ministries. Why? It’s a catch 22.

Without training opportunities you don’t have leaders. Without leaders you don’t have ministries.

Even if there’s already a ministry on a campus, shouldn’t there be room for more? Jesus said “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few” (Luke 10:2). However you slice it, we need more workers.

Why should we all be training future collegiate ministers? We need more workers to send to the harvest!

We have an apprenticeship built into our ministry so I’m always training at least one future collegiate minister. In my mind, some of the most important time I spend each week is developing these leaders.

3. It’s a great way to multiply to new campuses.

If our ministries are going to multiply to new campuses, multiplying ourselves as leaders seems to be a great place to start.

Our apprentices spend two years with us. I show them how I do what I do. Then, they go somewhere else and do it. It’s that simple. You don’t have to be the greatest collegiate minister out there. Just show someone what you do.

When training future collegiate ministry leaders is a staple of your ministry, you build multiplication into your system. Our apprenticeship lasts for two years. When it’s over, I’ve multiplied myself. It’s a great way to embed the DNA of multiplication into your ministry.

What are you doing to prepare future collegiate ministry leaders? I’d love to learn more about the different ways this is happening. Chime in by leaving a comment below.

If you’re interested in learning more about our apprenticeship, this simple document will give you a little more info.


about the author

Neil Reynolds


Neil is a campus minister with CCSC at Arkansas Tech. He lives in Russellville, AR with his wife Katie and their two daughters.