When it comes to ministry we often start with the question “What do I do?” But there is a more foundational question that needs to be answered first, and that’s “Who should I be?”

I have been able to look at college ministry from an aerial standpoint for several years now and one of the things I have noticed is that it is not necessarily what churches are doing that results in reaching college students, but rather it is who the collegiate leaders are that determines whether a church is reaching college students.

Every leader leads out of a foundation of who they are. There is a belief system that makes up this foundation and it either sustains them or exposes them. For every believer, the foundation they build their life on is the gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:24-27).

For every believer, the foundation they build their life on is the gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:24-27).

How does this play out in the life of a great college leader?

Think of this series of articles like the NBA 2K player create mode. We’re putting together a 99 overall rating for a collegiate leader. We’re going to look at 5 common values of great collegiate leaders and how that determines what they do. Let me clarify: this list is not all-encompassing and if you don’t match any of the descriptions, that doesn’t make you a bad leader.

WHO THEY ARE: Gospel Centered

Jesus said in Mark 1:15 (ESV), “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” This verse is the epitome of what it means to be gospel-centered. Jesus broke in from heaven to earth. He and his kingdom were now “at hand.” Therefore, mankind’s response is to “repent and believe in the gospel.”

The gospel is the good news that mankind has been separated from a holy God because of their sin, but God in his great love sent his perfect Son Jesus Christ to bridge the separation through his sacrificial life, death, resurrection, and ascension. It is through this repentance and belief in this message, that a person has the ability to have life today and for eternity.

A leader with a gospel-centered life is someone who has experienced the kingdom of God break through in their life through the gospel. They have repented and believed in salvation and are consistently witnessing the kingdom of God break through in their life and responding through repentance and belief.

This gospel that provides salvation is also what sustains a great leader. Keeping their life centered on it is essential for fruitful and long-lasting ministry.

This gospel that provides salvation is also what sustains a great leader. Keeping their life centered on it is essential for fruitful and long-lasting ministry.

WHAT THEY DO: Preach Daily

A question that needs to be asked is if the gospel is not central in a leader’s life, is the ministry they’re leading making eternal and daily impact? Likely not. Being a gospel-centered leader is more than just being saved, preaching the gospel and evangelizing the lost. Being a gospel-centered leader motivates a person to go reach the lost, but it is also the sustaining power in them. It allows this person to have a lasting impact.

Being a gospel-centered leader impacts a leader’s identity. They find their identity in Jesus Christ, and not in their appearance, performance, or lack thereof. Jesus Christ is their satisfaction. He alone provides them with all the need. They put faith before feelings. A great college leader’s ministry is executed out of a confidence in who they are as a secure child of God and not a performer for God or people. A leader that lives this kind of lifestyle preaches the gospel to themselves daily.

Diagnostic Questions:

  1. Have you believed in the gospel for salvation?
  2. Do you preach it to yourself on a daily basis?
  3. Are you finding your identity in Christ, over your feelings and insecurities?
  4. Is the gospel heard by your students on a regular basis?
  5. Are students finding their identity and processing life through the lens of the gospel?

Key Verse

“I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20, CSB

Leader Statement

I have been saved by Jesus and I am being sustained by Jesus. I rest in the fact I am a child of God before I am a minister of God. I have a lifestyle of preaching the gospel to myself daily in order to believe what God says over my emotions, circumstances, or any cultural trends.

Resources

Gospel Fluency, Jeff Vanderstelt

The Explicit Gospel, Matt Chandler

This Is Our Time, Trevin Wax

Gentle and Lowly, Ray Ortlund

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