Monday, August 22, 2016

We have amazing servant leaders at UF BCM!

This past week has been quite hectic. Welcome Weeks usually are. Welcome Week is when our Baptist Collegiate Ministry tries to reach out to the new and returning students who are moving back into our community to continue or begin their college education. It’s a crazy busy week with events every night and people moving in all over campus. In our ministry we try to create a culture of servant leadership. How do you know if you’ve been successful? Let me describe a few ways that were on display this past week.

When you have leaders who are in the band and it’s band camp week meaning they are practicing every day from 8 in the morning to 8 at night and they make an effort to come to events after 8 to meet new students you know you’ve created the right kind of servant leadership culture. They didn’t have to come. We weren’t expecting them to show up. They were tired and sweaty but they wanted to invest in the activities and more importantly in the relationships that are formed during the critical 21 day period at the start of the semester. They understand that service requires sacrifice of your time and energy.

We also had students who volunteered to help move students into the dorms. On our campus you have to apply in advance to help unless you know the person moving in. These students took the time to look ahead in their schedules and plan to be involved in the lives of new students and parents arriving on campus. They smiled when they were asked to carry heavy loads upstairs or move things for a couple of times to get it just right. In the down moments they were able to tell them about our ministry and invite them to the welcome week events each night. They understand that servant leadership means doing the tasks that others neglect with a smile on your face.

Our student leadership team took on the task of surveying during welcome week to gather contact information from new students. They spent hot days in the Florida heat, passing out flyers and engaging students with a 30 second survey that rarely is only 30 seconds! During the week, they gathered over 500 interested contacts and they sent an individual text to all of them. Then they came out each night to the events and brought energy and passion to interacting with every new student present. They were up early and out late every night. They understand that service requires you to go the extra mile to reach others.

Many of our students participated in the outreach even though that’s not their comfortable places. Some of them are introverts and naturally shy. But they still got out there and engaged with new friends that they hadn’t met yet. They were willing to move outside their comfort zones to see the kingdom of God move forward. They understand that servant leadership requires you to be uncomfortable at times.

One of our target outreach groups on campus is our university’s band. The band is made up of students who work very hard in the hot sun to entertain and engage our student body and all they really get is one hour of credit and a few perks. We have a few band members in our group so we wanted to help them reach their peers with the gospel. So during band camp this year, we asked the director if we could bring frozen popsicles for their break time. It required someone going to get them and several people coming to serve them by cutting open the tops and handing them out in the middle of the day. Our leaders jumped in to help this effort happen not one day but three days in a row. It is the first step in a plan to offer community to the band and study of God’s word on a regular basis. Our students understand that servant leadership often means doing a small job that leads to a greater impact.

How do you know you’ve been successful in creating a culture of servant leadership? When your president says can we change the title to chief servant? When your students serve without complaining? When you have students arriving to campus early to serve others? Then I can truly say Thanks be to God for we have been successful this year! I’m proud of our leaders because they truly understand that to lead is to serve others in Jesus’ name!

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