Bill Ford

Training Student Leaders

by Bill Ford

The week in student training in which I stress the importance of making and keeping tight rolls initially felt very uncomfortable for me. In the past, I have thought there is a disconnect between ticking boxes, making graphs, playing with statistics and doing the ‘real ministry’ of loving people. Doesn’t focusing on recording attendance just reduce people to ‘mere numbers’? The goal of small group bible studies during the uni week is to love people well by helping to bring them to a personal faith in the Lord Jesus and then seeing them grow to maturity in Him, not having the biggest group with perfect attendance. Why bother maintaining a database and keeping a roll?

We bother because, as I have realised, there can be a great correlation between careful administration and love.

After working for 18 months with the Nursing faculty with over 60 names in our database, I now really look forward to the week in small group leader training where we talk about the importance of ‘keeping track’.  We spend time learning how to use the database website to mark attendance rolls for the small group. As someone who has taken awhile  to acknowledge the importance of good administrative skills, I now love exploring with the students the deep connection between a good system of keeping track and pastorally care for more than just a handful of people. Learning to be a good leader means realising that having a great administration system, while not the end goal in and of itself, can be a very helpful tool for responding well and caring for individuals and groups a whole.

Our churches will be blessed into the future if the students we are training up today are able to use great admin and recording skills to think pastorally. Using attendance rolls to thoughtfully ask questions of how to care and respond well to individual needs and circumstances will be a hugely valuable skill for students to take out into God’s wider church wherever they end up after University.

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