Trinity Galewood Blog

Leadership: An Acquired Skill for College Students

Missy Hawley fade

Eighteen Concordia University students met at Trinity Galewood once a week this past fall (2018) with Pastor Dave McGinley and Ministry Coordinator Missy Hawley in our very own College Leadership Institute.

They gathered for one and a half hours to talk about a reading assignment they had completed for the program, discussed reactions to various situations, or simply took in the teaching on one of the three core themes of the leadership process:

Learning more about their own identity in Christ

Re-enforcing and growing in skills as a leader

Understanding what it means to be a leader in the church

This unique program for college students evolved out of the desire to get students more intentionally involved at Trinity Galewood, Chicago. Students had been showing up at church since Trinity Galewood’s beginning since it’s so near to Concordia’s campus (less than 10 minutes away). A few were asking for something more, and Missy drew on her own college experience a decade ago to suggest that helping them uncover their ability to be leaders in the church would be a tangible take-away and something the congregation could offer.

“I remember the church-hopping mentality I had during college,” she said, “thinking I didn’t have anything to offer or a reason to be part of a congregation at that time. Our message to young people is: Don’t let these four years go by without getting deeply involved in congregational life right now.”

Missy and Pastor Dave picked a book to guide their content and then supplemented each session with material from other sources. A personality test was also part of the process. “Everyone is at a different place with discovery about themselves and their goals,” she said. “It’s interesting and exciting to present them with ideas they may have never thought about before.”

While many of the college students had already exhibited leadership in some facet of campus life, they also very quickly began increasing their involvement at Trinity Galewood. Missy said after the first session, all but one were in church the following Sunday, even though the group included those who had not been to worship here before. They are now volunteering in Sunday music, welcome team and KidStreet, as well as in Trinity Galewood’s new weekday middle school Crossroads Mentoring Program.

Trinity Galewood expects to offer this institute again. “It went well based on what we could see from attendance, participation and feedback,” she said. Both Pastor Dave and Missy (who worked at Concordia in admissions right after graduation and now splits her time as an RN at Rush Hospital with ministry at Trinity Galewood) were present for each session to give students a broader perspective on church life. The students came with varied backgrounds, varied interests and varied future plans. A few are in church work programs at Concordia, but not all. Yet all will be better prepared for their role as disciples of Christ and workers together in His church.