Helping students develop a desire to grow on their own is an important part of the discipleship process. Too often, youth ministries primarily encourage attendance at programs, which sets students up for a spiritual drift after graduation if they canâ€™t find a â€œprogramâ€ to attend. Here are a few ways to help students develop their own relationship with Christ.
Give them a book youâ€™ve read.
Think about the books that shaped you as a teenager and find the equivalent today. Tell students the story of why this book was important to you and your faith and encourage them to take steps down that journey as well.
HINT: Avoid the temptation to assume the same book is perfect for each student. If you can say, â€œI picked this out just for youâ€¦â€ it will make reading the book much more compelling.
Issue a challenge thatâ€™s out of their comfort zone.
Owning your faith usually takes root when a student rises to a challenge. Want to see someone grow? Push them to participate in a missions trip a long way from home. Watch them grow raising the funds to participate, and enjoy a front row seat to the refining process as they get to push past their breaking point into a moment of deep spiritual cementing.
HINT: Again, a personalized challenge is stronger than a generic one. Seeing a pattern, here?
Read something alongside them and meet occasionally to discuss.
You gave one of your core students a prayer journal? Did you share a 1-Minute Bible with them? Read a copy of it yourself at the same time, and meet up a couple times to check in and discuss what youâ€™ve been learning.
Equip your small group leaders.
Last year we did â€œgrow on the goâ€ tubs filled with a few resources for leaders to give out to their students along the way. A push for a devotional during a message is great, but a personal nudge and gift of a devotional from a small group leader is the best.
Live it out yourself.
If you want to help your students grow on THEIR own, model it to them yourself. So much is caught rather than taught, so frequently do personal â€œcheck upsâ€ in your own life to make sure youâ€™re growing, too.
How are you helping students grow on their own right now?
This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.