As a ministry leader in a large church, I get to come in contact a good number of eager faces who want to intern with our ministry. This week I’ve been interviewing potential interns and it’s made me think, “What am I looking for in a leader?” The usual traits that I gravitate towards aren’t necessarily the ones I need in my leaders. I naturally gravitate toward people who are outgoing, put together, funny, cool… Is that what I need? Sure these types of individuals can attract students, but do they draw students? Attraction is fleeting and doesn’t last long beyond the curiosity. If there isn’t something drawing students deeper, any form of attractiveness will not benefit your students. So, what draws students?

Students are drawn to leaders who have a genuine love for Jesus. I am ashamed about how many times I fail to put this on the top of my priority list. “What do you love about Christ?” should be first among my list of interview question. A deeply ingrained love for Jesus is contagious and infectious to students.

Students are drawn to leaders who are compassionate. If a leader can show me that they care…genuinely care for others, they will be able to weather the storms in students’ lives. Students want a leader who is going to show care and concern for them in their struggles.

Students are drawn to leaders who want to be there. Be aware of the leader who starts out enthusiastic but quickly fades off in their attendance. After an initial meeting with a potential leader, I always put the ball in their court before I make them an official leader. I ask them to show up and check out our ministry, but I don’t remind them. If they don’t contact me or show up, chances are they aren’t really into being a leader.

I can do a lot with these basic qualities. If you have a leader who loves Jesus, are compassionate, and want to be there with students, they are poised to make a difference by drawing students to your ministry instead of just attracting students.