For 20 years I crisscrossed the nation, speaking in public school assemblies by day with a message of hope as a former drug addict. At night, churches brought the lost to stadiums and arenas to hear the rest of the story – the freedom and power of salvation by faith and through grace. It was an exciting time in my ministry, and we saw thousands of students crowd into the invitation area to surrender to Christ.
However, driving away from the crusades each night, down deep I knew, “It’s not enough.” As I prayed about this, the Lord began to give me an idea called “Student Leadership University.” Pouring into students and sending them home with ownership of what they believe. It is not Mom and Dad’s faith, but a personal understanding of a Biblical worldview that would take them into adulthood with confidence.
This phrase filled my mind: “You are the same person 5 years from now as you are today – except for the places you go, the books you read, the people you meet, and the Scripture you memorize.” Ideas began bouncing through my head like time management, goal setting, experiential learning, and a head start in life. I wanted students to learn to Think, Dream and Lead. I reached across the table to my wife and said, “I have an idea,” and we had our first SLU that next summer.
I don’t’ think I really understood the impact it would have until one of my mentors, Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade said, “Jay, we have to train this next generation to know the Bible as the Word of God.” Gathering 50 or so youth ministers together from across the nation, we conducted a survey of what should change in youth ministry. They had 2 main points:
1. Youth ministers need more one-on-one time to work with students on life decisions.
2. Across the board, 85% of those raised in our churches were abandoning the tenets of their faith as they headed into independence.
The results of the survey were the catalyst for SLU and continues to drive me every day to make Student Leadership University more effective for more people. The unanimous goal of the SLU staff is to bring you through the defining moments of life with success so that you can be the student of influence you were created to be.
Recently I got an email from a SLU alum who said, “Dr. Jay, I saw you in a meeting at the White House.” I learned that at the age of only 24, he works at the White House Communications Office under the President. I invited him to join me last night, and he replied, “I get off work at 8 tonight and will come after.” When I asked why he would make the 30-minute trip after such a long day, he replied, “My all-time favorite SLU quote is, ‘You are only as successful as the people you have around you. That’s why I am here.”
Imagine my delight when I looked up to see the next speaker at a White House briefing for pastors: Dr. Andrea Ramirez, Director of Faith Initiatives for the Department of Education and SLU alum spoke with eloquence and clarity, and I watched the pastors taking notes of her ideas. She was and is a future—tense thinker, explaining afterwards that the principles she learned at SLU have been the foundation of her adult life.
Almost every day I hear from a SLU alum who is living out his/her dream with success. When you keep your dreams in front of you, the temptations that bombard you can be set aside. Future tense thinking combined with Scripture memory creates effective leadership.
“That the generation to come might know them, the children who would be born,
that they may arise and declare them to their children; that they may set their hope in God and not forget the works of God.”
SLU was created for YOU to be a leader in your circle of influence, so that you might teach a sure biblical worldview to this generation and the next. Together we can do great things for the Kingdom.
Register for SLU this summer before November 16th to get the best price! Click here for more information.