The Rat Pack. House of Jacob. Bean Squad. Holy Ghostbusters. Super Drama Llamas.
You might be thinking, “Does that actually mean something? Has she gone crazy and started typing random things?”
That’s a legitimate question. But I haven’t gone crazy, and yes, each of those represents an STP team this summer. STP is divided into teams and then further divided into rooms to facilitate deep relationship growth and development; there are two team leaders over the whole team, and then each room has a room leader. I’ve talked in general about what it’s like to be on STP, but being a room leader is a whole different ball game. I am on the Rat Pack this summer, so I asked Nirmal and Christa, our team leaders, a few questions about what it’s like being in a leadership role.
What brought you back to STP as a leader this summer?
Christa: I was asked in November to consider being a team leader. I grew so much the last two summers, and each summer I learned something new; I was excited to learn more about sin and the gospel and myself, as well as to live in super intentional community for the summer.
Nirmal: I’m going on staff with Campus Outreach, and Mike Polley [campus director at the U of M] said it would be the most strategic thing for CO ministry for me to be here this summer. I wanted to help and serve wherever is most helpful, so I was totally willing to come back as a team leader.
How do you think your expectations have been different from reality so far?
Christa: I came in expecting being a team leader to be like being a room leader, but the team leader role is so different. Also I’m not working 40 hours a week, so this summer is more restful. Living with five team leader girls and getting to know the room leaders on my team is a lot sweeter and more exciting than I expected.
Nirmal: I think I expected it to be harder and to encounter more challenges so far, but it has felt really natural to build relationships with the guys on my team and others. I’m anticipating things getting harder, but for now I’m enjoying it being surprisingly easygoing.
What’s been your biggest challenge as a leader?
Christa: Leading a team with each room and girl having very different personalities and figuring out what’s most helpful for each girl has been a challenge. Deciding what questions to ask to get to the heart of issues is much more of a person-by-person decision than I thought, but it’s good. It makes you think more about everything.
Nirmal: Balancing all of my different priorities this summer has been hard: investing in the room leader guys on my team, the disciples in their rooms, and guys from the U of M. Going to Athletes In Training has been helpful in that, since a lot of those guys are involved in it. I’m also raising support for the coming fall to be on staff so prioritizing has become key. Getting rest in the midst of all that has been hard, but it’s been good to learn.
How are you seeing glimpses of God’s work and the gospel in what you’re doing?
Christa: I’m learning a ton about forgiveness: how it practically works with my relationship with the Lord and my peers. The first theme talk about the prodigal son hit me hard. I realized I’m like both the younger and older son; I desire the Lord but run the other way. That realization has been convicting and beautiful at the same time.
Nirmal: I’ve talked to guys or heard from others about how the talks have been impactful: guys are seeing the depths of their sin in a new way and understanding more of what’s going on in their hearts, which I’m excited is laying groundwork for great growth throughout the summer.
Being a leader is never easy. But seeing Jesus in a new and deeper way and having the privilege of watching God work in others’ lives are unique in Christian leadership; leadership changes you way more than it changes anyone you’re leading. It’s absolutely worth it.