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!