When it comes to discipleship, Jesus modeled it best. And if we want to disciple well, we must understand what he did and how he did it. Now, I’ve read a lot on the principles of how Jesus discipled, and the one thing that I believe is always missing is the fact that Jesus discipled to increase the Kingdom.
Jesus didn’t disciple the 12 so that they could be the only followers who get it. He discipled in such a way that the 12 could duplicate the discipleship process to another 12 each. This should be our goal when we disciple. Students should be able to duplicate the process.
Here are five thoughts on helping students become disciple-makers:
It’s about the kingdom – It can be tempting to use the discipleship process for your own gain. You must know that discipleship is not about creating a following, it’s about mobilizing followers of Christ for His kingdom.
It’s about sharing the gospel – If you’re not teaching them to share the gospel, you can’t expect them to share the gospel. We need to stop being so deep and get practical. Discipleship is not about just growing inward, but it’s about growing inward and outward. Learning to live and share the gospel is the goal.
It’s about learning to lead – They must learn that saying yes to Christ puts them in leadership. Learning to live boldly for God takes leadership. So what opportunities do you have available for your students to lead? And also, how are you teaching them to lead their own life by following Christ? Leadership is key in the discipleship process.
It’s about understanding the purpose – Doing and going without purpose will yield purposeless results. You need to teach the “why” and not just the “when and the “how”. Purpose gives perspective and produces confidence. One of the things Jesus’s disciples carried that was undeniable was great confidence in their purpose. In order to do that, you must know and understand your purpose. You can’t teach something you don’t understand.
It’s about discipling every student – Discipleship can be done at different levels, but you must remember that it’s for every student who is a Christian. Every area of your ministry can be and should be apart of the process. Most of the time we’re super intentional on the student leadership side, but the students who attend large group or small group are not considered as serious. Well, that needs to change because those who believe in Jesus Christ are disciples whether they’re in student leadership or not.
Now, I’ve noticed talking to other leaders on this topic that there can be a lot of tension and judging felt by students when it comes to being discipled. Mostly, because they feel like they aren’t living up to the expectations of the leaders. Well, in today’s culture our students are feeling judged often. They are trying to live up to the expectations of many people. Some are tortured by a fear of letting people down.
Think about this: we have a unique opportunity to model how Christ sees them through the discipleship process. It starts with us teaching them perspective. This means that we don’t grade their acceptance on their lack of participation or commitment. We don’t grade their faith on their attendance. We help them see things with the right perspective when we model the right perspective. We produce true disciples when they are able to confidently make disciples themselves.
Hope it helps,
Need student discipleship resources? Simply Youth Ministry has intentional options here!
4 thoughts on “5 Tips On Producing Disciple-Makers”
Good words. Thank you. I would add one distinction when talking about our purpose in discipleship. This is something I’ve learned recently from my sr. pastor’s ministry philosophy. It is this: our purpose as disciples and as a church is to worship God and our mission is to make more worshipers and to make more mature worshipers. This distinction between purpose and mission has been very helpful for me in my ministry. Missions have a beginning and an end. We won’t be evangelizing into eternity. However, our purpose is eternal since we will be worshiping into eternity.
So, while our mission is important, I think we need to see our mission as flowing out of our purpose (and temporary). I would say that my main goal in discipleship is to help my students become more mature worshipers with a commitment to our temporary mission of evangelism.
That’s a good word, Mike. And I totally agree 100%. I also think that we as a church, for the most part, would all agree with that definition of discipleship. I wanted to put an emphasis on the fact that our students are called to the great commission. And we need to disciple with the intent to mobilize, and not just disciple with the intent to cultivate.
Thanks for the response!!
I have been focusing on the goal of making disciples that make disciples. To help accomplish that, we have begun discipleship groups for prayer, growth, and discipleship of teens that want that. The groups are open or them to bring friends who would want to learn or grow. And, we want to help the teens in the groups to take on leading aspects and become ready, sooner or later, to lead a discipleship group with another person or group (concurrently or when the group get big enough that we need to expand). I am encouraging our leaders to be transparent about our goals and process for the discipleship groups so the teens can see how we and they can be involved in making disciples that make disciples.
(Beyond the discipleship groups, we have Sunday school and youth group that are also designed to help kids grow, with youth group also being more outreach focused.)
That’s awesome Christian!! We can’t teach has if we’ll be here forever. We must equip and mobilize now and the only way to do that is to produce disciple-makers like Jesus!!