Nadeana was not a leader. At least, that’s what she believed before beginning her internship with Western Campus Ministry. Now she’s encouraging other students to be leaders too.
Western Campus Ministry is a Christian Reformed Church campus ministry in Ontario supported in part by Resonate Global Mission. When the team launched a Bible study, Mike Wagenman—campus pastor and Nadeana’s mentor—encouraged Nadeana to lead it. But she was intimidated. She had never been in a leadership position and said no.
“In my head, [leaders] had to have a theological degree of some sort,” she said. “You had to have documentation to show that you could lead. I [didn’t] want to have the wrong answers to people’s questions.”
Then one of Nadeana’s friends told her, “Just be who are you are, and God will use you as you are.” With Mike’s influence and her friend’s encouragement, Nadeana finally agreed to lead the Bible study.
Over the course of the semester, conversations with Mike and students in her Bible study challenged and transformed her understanding of leadership. Now she follows a leadership style that focuses not only on her own strengths but on the strengths of many.
Nadeana inspires other students to lead.
“One of my greatest takeaways [was to] accept help and feel free to delegate,” she said. “Accepting a helping hand or sharing the load is not ‘weakness.’ I have come to see it as a wonderful microcosm of what the church essentially is. We are called to be one body, but we are made of many unique-functioning parts.”
Nadeana was attentive to the students she was leading. Recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, she created leadership opportunities for them. For instance, many students in Nadeana’s Bible study were new Christians. While they all had gifts, they were not confident in their ability to lead. One student who had a heart for praying lacked the confidence to pray out loud. Week after week, Nadeana asked her to pray. Now the student often leads prayer in small groups.
“You don’t become a leader overnight,” Nadeana said. “It’s from a series of small opportunities of leadership.”
Nadeana knows stepping into leadership is intimidating. But with campus ministry support, she took a step of faith and is now helping other students embrace their leadership potential too.
This article was originally published by The Banner.