Sep 25, 2017

Lead

What Collegiate Leaders Need Most


David Worcester sifts through all the resources a collegiate leaders need most and settles on this as the prize above all.

What do you feel like you really need for your ministry to be successful?

More time? A bigger budget? More energy? More coffee? Rest? More student leaders?

Those are all vital. As I’m writing this a couple weeks after the insanity of the fall outreach, I could use more of all of those things; but that’s not what I really need.

What I need most is wisdom.

When God appeared to the newly anointed King Solomon, God graciously asked him for whatever he wanted! Instead of asking for more wishes, or riches or anything else, he asked for a discerning heart. I want to challenge you to make his request your prayer.

“So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (Kings 3:9)

Solomon saw himself as a humble servant called upon to shepherd God’s people. He knew that he needed a well of wisdom from which to draw if he was going to lead well. The same is true of you and me. Your people are not your people; they are God’s people. You need God’s wisdom to shepherd God’s people.

Solomon didn’t ask for riches or long life or peace, but God was so pleased with his request that God give him the understanding he asked for as well as all those things. Discernment is the gift that keeps on giving (like the jelly of the month club). Without wisdom, your temporary victories will spoil and your best people will leave. The path of wisdom is the only way to long-term fruitfulness. Thus, it is imperative that as leaders we diligently seek wisdom and pray for it.

I’m grateful that my parents raised me in an environment that valued biblical wisdom. They taught me the importance of praying for wisdom, so it became one of my most constant requests.

James 1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

Do you regularly ask for wisdom? Do you believe God wants to generously give it to you? God gives us wisdom is by His Spirit. Today I was reading Isaiah and came upon this description of the Messiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord.” (Isaiah 11:2)

The same Spirit that rested on Jesus is inside of you and me. He is the Spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel and knowledge. As leaders, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to give us discernment.

In addition to asking God for wisdom, asking more seasoned collegiate ministers and pastors for advice can save you years of wasted energy and resources.

Proverbs 11:14 says, “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but victory is won through many advisers.” As leaders our decisions affect all those under us. Our job is too important just to trust our own instincts. “Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.” (Proverbs 28:26)

Find someone you know who is getting the type of results you want to have and ask them how they do it. This is why Collegiate Collective exists. The Facebook group is especially helpful for seeking advice from other practitioners. We want to be a resource for how to navigate the areas of collegiate ministry that require discernment.

Wisdom is worth whatever sacrifice you have to make to get it. Proverbs 4:7 says, “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” College ministers are notorious for being cheap, but it’s worth sacrificing time, money, and energy to go to the right conferences. It’s worth paying a little extra money to buy an audio book, and it’s worth skipping 15 minutes of K-LOVE to listen to a chapter of the book on your way to campus.

The long-term impact of your ministry will be directly proportional to the sacrifices you make NOW to get wisdom.

Legendary seminary professor Howard Hendricks is famous for saying, “Leaders are learners; once you stop learning, you stop leading.” A growing leader is a healthy leader. Hendricks says, “I’d rather drink from a bubbling brook than a stagnate pond.”

What are you sacrificing NOW to grow in wisdom as a leader?

Have you developed the habit of daily asking God for discernment?

Who can you ask for advice about a ministry question you have?


about the author

David Worcester


David is the founder and director of Challenge at San Diego State and serves as an Elder at Mission Trails Church near the campus. He is passionate about mobilizing students to share their faith and make disciples. He’s helped develop GospelAppointments.com which is a resource that helps students and college ministers share with others in an intentional and personal way. David just finished his Masters in Theological Studies at Gateway Seminary and now has even more time for blogging about campus ministry, reading, surfing, hiking, traveling, and spending time with his wife Jessica and one year old son Samuel.