I have often been asked what is the greatest change I have seen in students in my several years in College Ministry. The simple answer is loyalty...or the lack of it.
It used to be when you reached a student, they stayed "loyal" to your ministry if they continued to walk with the Lord. Now students may be a leader in your ministry one year and the next they move to a completely different ministry leaving you perplexed. It is a result of our more transient society. People no longer work one job for their whole career, etc. People no longer attend the same church their whole life.
But, I want to flip sides to this discussion. Are you loyal to your students?
Several years ago we had a singing group that sang in different churches throughout the area. It was a great ministry in the churches, helped train students for ministry and helped churches be aware of our ministry. We would have auditions for the group the second or third week of the fall semester. One year one of my Assistants was in charge of the auditions. My Assistant came to me and said, "This freshman girl is terrific and way better than the upperclass girl that sang that part last year". My Assistant said, "What do I do"? I said I would leave it up to she and her audition team. They chose the freshman girl over the upperclass girl.
The upperclass girl was hurt and soon left our ministry. A month later the freshman girl with the unbelievable voice had quit the singing group.
I made a mistake. I did not value the upperclass girl's loyalty and previous service.
If we want loyalty, we must model loyalty. I am all about excellence and being the best and asking for the best. We changed. If a student served on one of our worship bands or singing groups and had done acceptable and been faithful, and continued to walk with the Lord, they had the choice to return the next year. We changed our auditions to the spring for the following fall. A student had to have been active in our ministry for one year before auditioning for one of our groups.
When we choose someone with greater ability over someone who has been loyal and faithful, are we saying ability trumps character?
While asking for the best from your students, do you model loyalty?