Melissa Sandel serves as a minsitry coach with Milligan’s MLP program.

Axioms. They’re short, power-packed principles that shape our thinking. Here are three game-changing axioms for young leaders:

Show me your friends, I’ll show you your future.

A mentor served up this piece of wisdom to me in my young adult years…I only wish I would have heard and embraced them earlier! Without a doubt, we begin to look like the people closest to us. Who are the five people with whom you spend the most time? Their collective wisdom, personalities, interests, and behaviors are rubbing off on you, whether you realize it or not. Choose your tribe wisely.

Reject Passivity.

Whatever task or responsibility is entrusted to you, no matter how big or small, lead it with excellence. Whether it’s maintaining a storage closet, leading a group of 2nd graders or planning a large-scale event, choose to lead well. Don’t wait until you’re “in charge” to pursue leadership excellence. Jesus explained that the person who can be trusted with little can be trusted with much. Take initiative and become known as a person of excellence now.

God made no mistake when he assigned gifts to you.

As a young female leader in the church, God used these game-changing words spoken to me by a ministry coach to verify and strengthen my calling. God chose you. He strategically assigned gifts to you. He is the consummate maximizer, wastes nothing, and will use every part of your personality and story for His purposes. You were made on purpose for purpose. The college years are an optimal time to discover these gifts and give them a try.

What axioms impact your leadership most?


Melissa Sandel serves as a ministry coach for Milligan’s MLP Program, where she mentors and teaches current ministry students. Since 2004, Melissa has served at West Side Christian Church in Springfield, Illinois. As director of ministries and a senior leader, Melissa oversees West Side’s ministry staff and strategy. Her strengths are strategic planning, building healthy teams, leading crucial conversations and cheering for the Chicago Cubs. Melissa also serves as a coach for Intentional Churches (an organization that helps churches double their kingdom impact). She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois and a Masters of Divinity from Lincoln Christian University. She and her husband, Chris, love parenting their two children: Jack (age 10) and Aly (age 7).