Teaching them to leave and lead.

on April 16, 2013 in Dude Stuff, Gal Stuff, I heart books. with 9 comments by

my people

Here’s what we aren’t going to talk about: the fact that a handful of college students I deeply love are graduating in a few weeks and leaving Nashville.

I can’t. Someone mentioned it Sunday at the Vandy baseball game right before we took this picture and I was a puddle before the sentence was even done. So I had to dry it up for this framer. Crazy kidz.

In the last few weeks, one conversation has dominated all my time with college students: what is next. Whether it is graduation or summer plans, jobs or songwriting or finals or relationships, there is a light cloud of stress and worry floating over them all.

But for the five or six graduating seniors? It’s a big thing.

Last week, I was lucky enough to get my paws on a copy of The Catalyst Leader by Brad Lomenick and no kidding [I am totally not getting paid to say this], I feel like it speaks to exactly what these students are going through. Thanks to a lot of airplane time last weekend, I got to read the book and I can’t tell y’all how many times I thought, “oh, the boys need to read this.” or “yes, I’m giving this to her before she moves to DC.”

I emailed Brad and said, “Dude. I’m getting this book for every college senior on the globe.” To be fair, I’m actually not doing that because it would be expensive but I really think this book is that good and relevant.

Being in college ministry must be some tiny degree like being a parent- knowing you are meant to love them smack to pieces while also preparing to let them go and hope they leave well and lead well where they end up. It’s weird. But I am grateful for resources like this that make me feel like I’m giving my little birdies a parachute before pushing them out of the Nash-nest.

My plan is to take advantage of all this free jazz that is being offered because that is a lot of really great stuff to resource the students as they prepare to lead in the worlds they are entering. If you have any college graduates in your life, or young leaders, I cannot tell you how valuable I think The Catalyst Leader would be for them. I learned a ton reading it myself and look forward to talking about it with some friends who have read it.

Pray for those you love who are graduating this spring. Pray for those who do ministry to them too. My eyes are on the verge of tears now just thinking about my daily life without these seniors. When my sophomore small group graduates in two years?

Obviously I will lock them in my basement and never let them leave.


. . . . .

What’s the best advice you’d give brand new college graduates?


  1. posted on Apr 16, 2013 at 6:22 AM  |  reply

    Thank you for the recommendation, Annie. My son will be graduating from college in a few weeks. This sounds like a book I need to buy for him.

  2. Megan
    posted on Apr 16, 2013 at 8:08 AM  |  reply

    As a graduating senior in college, I’m going to keep this post unread in my reader for a couple days so I can glean all the goodness. I’m a little nervous but I’m more excited for what the future holds. 🙂

  3. Merideth
    posted on Apr 16, 2013 at 9:36 AM  |  reply

    I saw this book on amazon and thought about reading it. As far as advice for graduates…..Follow your heart, enjoy the journey no matter how hard it is, stay posative, and don’t give up. It’s hard getting out into the world and looking for work and it won’t be easy. But, your persistance will be rewarded eventually. OH, and work hard at keeping close to people who are special to you. They will be a great source of support and encouragement as you enter this next phase of life.

  4. Erin
    posted on Apr 16, 2013 at 3:31 PM  |  reply

    You’re so sweet. I’ll hang with them if they come to DC.

  5. Lauren M
    posted on Apr 16, 2013 at 3:54 PM  |  reply

    A paraphrase of what I heard someone once say is “You concern yourself with the depth of your ministry/career/etc, and let God concern Himself with the width.” In other words, go deep with the Lord. Love Him well, no matter what you life looks like at the moment. Become a skillful lover of Him. Let that be your main focus. The let Him be concerned with the rest.

    That’s the advice I would give.

  6. posted on Apr 17, 2013 at 6:42 AM  |  reply

    I have a basement too. With our multiple basements they can all live there forever.

  7. posted on Apr 17, 2013 at 8:12 AM  |  reply

    Oooh Annie thanks! Can’t wait to look into this book and hopefully get it into some of my students hands!

    And yes, I always compare college ministry to being a permanent empty nester of sorts. There are always students that leave and occasionally students that break your heart to bits when they leave. But when they come back to visit, or write you notes of what God has done or how they learned from you, oh you’re heart will just sing (and definitely you’ll end in an another puddle, I always do!)

  8. Claire
    posted on Apr 18, 2013 at 4:47 AM  |  reply

    My pastor told me to develop a good theology of disappointment. In your twenties, SO MUCH is going on and we all (whether we know it or not) have expectations for what we want our life to look like during this time. You need to be OK with that fact that life does not always turn out the way you planned, and remain firm in your identity in Christ throughout it all. Who does Christ say I am? What does He have for my life NOW? Stop waiting for the life you THOUGHT you should have to start, and rest in the life Christ has given you NOW, because He has you there for a reason.

  9. Hillary
    posted on Apr 22, 2013 at 11:53 AM  |  reply

    My advice is not to let that little piece of paper define you. I graduated with a degree in criminal justice and legal studies. But through the grace of God and His gentle guidance, I’m now working with families and young children. Something I’ve discovered I love and that I’m pretty good at. If you told me one my last day of college that I’d be working with 0-5-year-olds, I would have called you crazy. My intention was to work with teens. That’s a big leap. Though I still love the crazy teens, my heart is with the little guys for now. And I’m so thankful I didn’t let my degree push me into a corner, and thankful to God for showing me that.

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