None of us stepped into student ministry so we could run a program. We all long to see a genuine movement of disciples developed, empowered and released to make disciples. What gives us all incredible joy in student ministry is seeing a teenager walking closely with Jesus and sharing that relationship with others.
This current generation, the Millennials, is the largest generation in history (Check out this book on Millennials). Not only are they quickly becoming one of our largest mission fields, but they also have the capability to be an incredible sending force. But we can’t keep simply doing youth group. We have to have a clear disciplemaking vision coupled with a process that develops sent-ones rather than groupies. If we don’t shift from being primarily a teaching organization that delivers information to an equipping organism that excels in imitation, then we’ll never see the disciplemaking movement Jesus always intended.
Strengthen It by Giving it Away
We all want to see our students’ faith strengthened, right? What if the way to strengthen their faith is by helping them learn to give it away? Can you imagine teenagers, youth workers and parents partnering together to take responsibility for those that God has placed in their sphere of influence?
We’re losing students in upper high school because, as Greg Stier of Dare2Share ministries often says,“they’ve played it, sung it, and heard it—and they are bored.” Have we unintentionally trained them to be consumers rather than releasing them to be contributors? At times, we’ve all lost our missional focus by concentrating more on our seating capacity (attendance) than on our sending capacity (mission). Training students in solid biblical theology is a must. But if it is truly biblical theology, then that theology will bring them to encounter the missionary God, who, just as he sent his Son, is in like-manner sending his church (Jn. 20:21)—young and old.
Our Missional Milestone
This is what is burning in the hearts of our ReachStudents team. So we’ve put a stake in the ground together as team. In the next 15 months we are praying and working to see 300+ churches introduced to Evangelism is Relationships, resulting in 5000+ students being trained and coached to actively cooperate with God in their friends’ journey toward Jesus.
Evangelism is Relationships was designed by our ministry partners at Cadre Ministries. They gave me the opportunity to be a part of updating it with them. If you are familiar with our Disciplemaking is Relationships training (Jesus-like disciplemaking made simple), then you’ll love Evangelism is Relationships. It’s all the same values and priorities.
The Heart of God
We know it is God’s heart that His church – including teenagers – are ones who have their hearts set apart with Christ as Lord AND are prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks them to give the reason for the hope that they have (1 Peter 3:15). If we miss the “AND” then we have missed the very heart of God (Mark 12:28-34).
How are you intentionally equipping students to give away their faith?