This is my 6th year at Campbellsville Univ. I have taught over 80 classes in my short teaching career, which includes lots of undergraduate and plenty of graduate level courses.
Many of my students have graduated or are nearing graduation and are starting to look for ministry positions and/or make a shift to more full-time ministry roles.
This puts me in a new position as their prof. I was just their teacher, now I am their AGENT. I am one of their references trying to help them get placed in ministry.
On the back page of their resume, my name is listed as someone a prospective church or para-church ministry can call to talk about this student. So how do I comment on my students. What information do I try to share with a prospective church or ministry about my students?
In other words, how do you get a good reference from me?
1. First, your academic performance matters to me. Academics are not the only thing that matters, but my exposure to you has primarily been academic. So if you do poorly in my classes, I will probably give you a poor reference. At its core, academics are more about discipline and hard work than IQ and GPA. If you didn’t work hard in a ministry preparation class, then you probably won’t work hard in ministry.
2. Second, your personality type matters to me. Are you a team player? Are you a natural leader? Do you have charisma? Are you introverted and extroverted? How do you relate to other students in the School of Theology? All ministries, no matter if in a church, on the mission field, or in a non-profit organization, are people-focused. How you handle yourself around others and in groups is very important.
3. Third, your outside of class activities matter to me. Did you work camp in the summer? Have you been involved in mission trips? Do you regularly attend church on Sunday? Have you been in campus ministry leadership? Usually, I am asked first about your academic performance, but then very shortly after I am asked about your outside of class ministry activities. You got to have both – in proper balance. Academics first, extra-curricular second.
4. Fourth and finally, your spiritual maturity matters to me. I am always asked for your spiritual strengths and weaknesses. Prospective churches and ministries want to know how God has equipped you for kingdom service and what areas are showing up as personal struggles. Relationships? Worry? Anger? We all have them, so don’t worry too much. But keep asking the Lord to show you areas that you can grow in Him.
Spiritual maturity is found in seeking biblical wisdom, practicing spiritual disciplines, and allowing others to continually sharpen you.