Two weeks ago I challenged a key leader I’m discipling on one of our English campuses to attempt getting a second appointment when she was out sharing, with the goal of developing trust and learn engagement. As we talked about what might have to change in our perspective on sharing if we aim for a second appointment I could see her eyes flickering in thought. I knew exactly where her brain was going.
“I guess the hard thing is, if you keep getting second appointments that takes up your time that you think you don’t have,” I pointed out.
“Yeah, exactly,” she admitted.
Being a key leader in an increasingly student-led movement I knew she had precious little extra time.
“That should make us wonder about our motives in evangelism, shouldn’t it? I mean if we’re going around for one-off convos to pat ourselves on the back, not aiming for anything more because we don’t have time…”
She nodded. I had never thought about this before and I know neither had she.
Fast-forward to the present. I asked her how her second meeting went with the girl she ended up getting a second appointment with the day after we had talked about it.
“I cancelled it. I just didn’t have time. I know that’s bad…” she trailed off.
If our students don’t have time to engage with other students who are open to these conversations I say we have one of two problems:
- either our student doesn’t prioritize evangelism in their life, or
- our leaders have too many meetings that are taking them away from actually meeting with people who want to talk about Jesus and faith.
In the case of this student I know that the first one isn’t the problem. She loves EV and loves taking other students sharing. What she does have is a Servant Team meeting, a meeting with the staff director so he knows hats going on in the ministry and he can help her lead, a discipleship appt with me, 2 discipleship appointments with people she’s leading, a DG she’s leading, and a weekly meeting. The other ST members only have one less meeting and maybe one less “disciple.”
My instinct is to say that if our students have too many things pulling at their time that, even if they did want these second appointments, they’d feel so overwhelmed by all their other responsibilities… we have too many meetings for them. Maybe we need to figure out how to streamline things better and make them more organic.
This is easier to do when it’s staff-led. Student leaders have more time actually on the ground. But as a ministry we are moving more urgently towards Student-led, staff-directed movements as we expand significantly.
So here are my questions: how do we maximize our students time to enable them to really engage, while maintaining a student-led movement? What, if anything, needs to change? Is it simply a reality our student leaders have to face that they just wont get time to actually do evangelism? If that’s the case, if a student loves evangelism why would they ever want to be in a position of leadership, even if they’re a sharp and capable leader?