As youth workers all of us have a desire to see students grow closer to Jesus and grow deeper in their faith. Even though most of us LIKE big programs and getting a huge crowd together, we really LOVE it when we are sitting eye-to-eye and knee-to-knee with a teenager as they begin to really get how much they are loved by God and then begin to pursue His purpose for their lives.
We all WANT our students to grow spiritually…but HOW do we that within our youth ministry settings? The look/feel/design of this process will look different depending on the identity/culture of each church, but here are a few questions that all of us need to be asking ourselves often when it comes to spiritual growth in our student ministries:
1) What kind of students are apart of my youth ministry? (regular attenders/visitors/student leaders/committed Christians/non-Christians)
2) How can I create a process to move students from “just showing up” to becoming committed followers of Jesus? (discipleship)
3) How does the larger church’s discipleship process work?
4) How can I explain spiritual growth in a simple way that my students can understand?
5) How can I get my pastor/volunteers/parents on board with my desired discipleship process?
I would suggest taking a significant amount of time to go through these types of questions with your team (staff or volunteer). Take an entire weekend and dream together with your team about what spiritual growth could look like in your student ministry setting. The more thought/time you put into developing a strong discipleship process for your students, the greater the reward. Our team at IGNITION (Daybreak Church’s Jr. High Ministry) just finished planning/dreaming up our newest discipleship process/roadmap for our jr. high students (we used the analogy of learning how to surf to describe growing spiritually). Check out the video above to see what we came up with to help our San Diego jr. high students understand our youth ministry’s process for spiritual growth.
I’d love to hear from all of you what you have tried (or are trying) in terms of developing a strong discipleship program/strategy in your youth ministry. Share some of your thoughts in the comments section below! :D