Leading With The (Little) Time You Have

Now that the new year is here, it’s already time to start thinking about leadership transitions on our medical campuses.   After just nine months of (sacrificial!) service, our leaders will be moving on to their third-year rotations.

Without a doubt, this constant turnover in leadership is one of the biggest challenges students and staff face in medical campus ministry.  What can we do about it?

Clearly, it helps to have graduate faculty and/or outside staff presence who are committed year to year.  But is there anything we can do from the student side?

I believe that there is.  As important as it is to choose good leaders, I’m convinced that one key step is for everyone – not only the leaders – to do what they can.  For God’s work on campus to move forward, each person is important.  As the Apostle Paul puts it, “the whole body [is] joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (Ephesians 4:16).

So why aren’t more students (or faculty, for that matter) involved in meaningful ways?

It’s because, at least partly, many of us think they need to make a big commitment to their fellowships to have significant impact.  While bigger commitments are helpful, we need to re-think leadership and involvement on our medical campuses because time is in such short supply.  Here’s my attempt at redefining leadership and showing that kingdom impact is within reach for everyone:

Leadership is using the time, gifts and abilities you have, joining God in what He’s already doing in the people around you.

Let’s break that down quickly –

  • using the time, gifts and abilities you have – God knows time is short and that you really do need to spend a lot of time studying.  He simply expects you to offer the time, gifts and abilities He’s given you and make them available to Him (see Parable of the Talents).  That could be an occasional lunch with someone younger, joining another club for an outreach so that they can see Christ-in-you, or praying weekly with others on your campus.
  • joining God in what He’s already doing – God is already at work wherever we are.  We need to pray for eyes to see where He’s working, and then take a practical step to get involved.
  • in the people around you – Again, we usually don’t need to go somewhere exotic to get involved.  God might be asking you to invest in your roommate, professor, or the guy sitting next to you in class.

I hope this sounds doable, more manageable than what we usually think of when we think of “leadership”.  Although formal leadership is absolutely vital, if you’re moving into someone else’s life for God, you’re a leader and a vital part of His work on your campus, hospital or practice.  Don’t let what you can’t do stop you from doing what you can.

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About Bryan Stoudt

On my personal website (bryanstoudt.com), I help Christians follow Jesus in a noisy, broken world. I also have the privilege of helping Philadelphia's healthcare students and professionals do this as Area Director for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA). More information at cmdaphiladelphia.org. On a personal note, I'm fortunate to be married to my wonderful wife, Sharon. Together, we have four fantastic children. In my spare time, I enjoy roasting coffee, running, reading and learning foreign languages.
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