Connecting With Student Leaders… Over The Summer

Posted on Posted in Student Leaders

They’re gone, but not forgotten.

They are our student leaders — the heartbeat of our ministry on campus — and they’ve dispersed for the summer months.

But thanks to all of the advances in technology, keeping up with them this summer has never been easier!

And it will be important that we do so, because the pace of life that most students live at is mind-boggling. They are heavy consumers of experiences and information… and they don’t like to say “No” to much that comes their way.

This means that the commitments they’ve made in the spring… to be leaders in the fall… can quickly get pushed towards the back of their minds during their summer away from campus.

However, some intentional connection over the summer months can benefit you, your leaders, and your future ministry together in a number of ways.

Here are three of the most significant:

Relational Bonds — Taking the time to intentionally connect with student leaders, over the quieter summer months, means something. It makes an impression. It shows that our interest in these student leaders are more than merely “filling a spot on the roster.” It (hopefully) communicates that we’re really interested in them (because we are!). That we want to know them. That we care about them. And when the school year begins, and the demands on everybody’s time and energy jumps exponentially, the investments made during the quiet summer months will pay-off in a big way!

Whether it’s a text message, email, FB comment, DM, Skype, or even an old-fashioned — voice-to-voice — phone conversation… there are a number of options for staying connected.

Team Chemistry — There are some intentional ways of staying connected that are more group-oriented than one-on-one. When we reach out to “the Team,” we let them know that we’re thinking of them — as a unit. We’re thinking about our work together — but also our collective relationship(s). Reaching out to the Team doesn’t have to take on the form of “business,” but it can. Not surprisingly though, it will be the connections we make for “no apparent reason” that will likely pay off the most come fall.

Whether it’s a FB group conversation, group text message, group email (although students are not likely to be checking much email over the summer), FB group message, Google+ hangout, or something else… there are a variety of ways to bring “the Team” together for some virtual hang-time.

Missional Congruence — One of the biggest benefits of connecting during the summer months is how the time and space allows for questions and conversations (that don’t happen as easily during the chaos of the academic year). As student leaders have time away from campus, and the crazy pace of the academic environment, they may find themselves thinking more about the position (and ministry) they’ve committed themselves to (especially if we’re connecting with them somewhat consistently).

As they think, and begin to ask questions, there should be more time and space for good (albeit virtual) conversations. These conversations can happen in any of the aforementioned ways, and will provide opportunities for student leaders to better understand (and even make suggestions to) the ministries they will help to lead and represent. Ultimately, this has the potential to help leaders and teams returning to campus at the end of the summer break to be more “in-line” with the vision and mission of the ministry they are a part of.

So there you have it. Three significant ways staying “intentionally” connected over the summer can benefit you, your team, and your ministry in the upcoming year.

What would you add to this list?

Please take a moment to share your wisdom and insight in the comment section below.