When I started directing a ministry I distinguished students by age, gender, and year in school. Now I distinguish students by year in school, leadership potential, and alignment to my ministry's mission, vision, and values.
It's painful to work with students who are juniors and seniors with no leadership potential that are unaligned. It's awesome to work with younger students with high leadership potential and alignment.
The sooner you can identify students by leadership potential and alignment the sooner you will be able to expand your ministry both in size and maturity.
I made a quick diagram to help you visualize what I mean:
If you had to divide your ministry into three levels based on these percentages, where would you place:
Masses: Those who have minimal alignment, undetermined leadership potential, and are new to your ministry (either because of year in school or relocation).
Involved: Those who have average alignment, determined leadership potential, and have been around for at least one year.
Leaders: Those who have above average alignment, leveraged leadership potential, and the most amount of experience in your ministry.
It has been extremely helpful for me to discern those on the "bubble" of each of these categories and to have extended discussions with my team on why someone would be in the "involved" category instead of the "leaders" category and vice-versa.
Effective stewardship drives me to emphasize this: unless I can clearly discern who God has raised up to lead the ministry with me I cannot effectively release resources to empower those people.
Would love to hear your thoughts!