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This is the second part of the series 5 Values of a Great College Leader.

1. Gospel-Centered

As Jesus was getting ready to depart from this world he told his disciples, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you” (John 20:21 CSB). Jesus had stepped out of heaven into earth, sent to a people not like him in order that he might save the world. This same mission is the mission he handed to his disciples and that has been handed down to you and me.


Great leaders embody this on a daily basis. They know they are aliens in this world and their home is in heaven. They are here as sent people (John. 20:21). The spirit of a great college leader is a person who is going to those who don’t have a relationship with Christ; whether that be students or anyone they meet. This is the spirit of our Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul said,

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant] being born in the likeness of men. (Php. 2:5-7 ESV)

Jesus stepped out of his ordinary and comfort by going. He emptied himself so that he could reach men and women in need of a Savior. Therefore great leaders make going a natural rhythm of who they are, not just what they do. Great leaders leave their comfort zone to bless those who don’t have a relationship with Jesus. They are sent.


WHAT THEY DO: Student Focused

When most leaders think about starting a college ministry they think about starting a Bible study or a midweek gathering. There is nothing wrong with either of those things. In fact, they are very good things. But if a leader starts there, they short-circuit the system. Great leaders make disciples by first going. One of the first questions a good leader asks is, “How will I go and bless and share the gospel with the people I am trying to reach?” When a leader drifts from executing on this question it will likely bring failure, a state of plateau, or even decline. A leader can have the best Bible studies and the best midweeks, but if they never go and reach people there will never be anyone to experience the Bible studies and midweeks.

For many leaders, it’s at this point that fear sets in. But here’s what I’ve seen: the reason ministries reach college students is because they try to reach college students. They are willing to give anything a shot. They are willing to fail and learn. They are willing to get to know the students and campus in real, tangible ways. They are willing to empty themselves so they might serve those they are trying to reach with the gospel.

Diagnostic Questions:

  1. Do you have any students at your church who are currently involved in a campus you’re trying to reach? Get to know them. Ask them about the campus. Do they have any friends on campus? If they do, this would be a great place to start reaching students.
  2. Do you have any school administrators, professors, or staff that attend your church? Ask them about needs on campus. How can your church serve the faculty?
  3. Is there a major need of the students or campus that your church can meet? Walk the campus and pray. Ask God to show you the unique needs of the campus and how your church can be a part of creating a solution.

Key Verse

“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, I also send you.’” John 20:21 CSB

Leader Statement

Going to students is a natural rhythm of who I am and not just what I do. I am willing to get to know the students and campus in real, tangible ways. I am willing to empty myself so I might serve those I am trying to reach with the gospel.


College Ministry in a Post Christian Culture, Steve Lutz

The Fuel and the Flame, Steve Shadrach

Prodigal God, Tim Keller

Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning