What is Discipleship?
Do you know the last thing that Jesus said to his followers while he was on earth? Some people call it The Great Commission: “Go and make disciples.” Duplicate yourselves. Go and make more of you. Take your faith and pass it on to someone else. When we talk about helping kids and teenagers begin to own their faith, we’re really just talking about discipleship. So what is discipleship?
Here are three thoughts . . .
DISCIPLESHIP IS ABOUT LIVING, NOT LEARNING
Rather than only asking, “What can we teach someone about God?” we ask, “How can we help someone live out their faith?” It’s not just about teaching them about Jesus — it’s about modeling what faith in Jesus looks like. That’s why relationships are such a key part of our ministry. Because discipleship isn’t taught in a classroom — it’s modeled in everyday life.
So how do you apply this practically? Try something as simple as bringing someone along for your next Target run, or while running errands. Inviting others to our everyday allows them the chance to see how we handle traffic, tight schedules, and interacting with less-than-friendly people in public!
DISCIPLESHIP HAPPENS IN COMMUNITY
In the Gospels, you don’t really see Jesus doing one-on-one discipleship. That’s because discipleship happens best in a community of people. That’s why we focus so much energy on getting kids and teenagers plugged into consistent small groups, why we emphasize the role of parents and families, and why we surround kids and teenagers with tons of Jesus followers. Because discipleship takes all of us!
Small groups are a great way for all of us — kids and teenagers especially — to find community. It’s an intentional time set aside to focus on spending time with God . . . together! It gives us a chance to care for one another, and ask questions in order to spark life changing discussions.
DISCIPLESHIP IS A PROCESS
Discipleship is never really complete because learning to live out our faith is a life-long process. And because we know discipleship takes time, we want to put people in the lives of kids and teenagers who are in it for the long-haul. That’s why our small group leaders don’t bail on their groups after a few months, but stick with them for several years — because it’s a process.
It can take an entire school year in order to learn more about a person. In order to be there for the important life lessons and events, take time getting to know those you are discipling. This happens after years of remembering birthdays, showing up to special events, and being there for the hard moments.
WHAT CAN I DO TO DISCIPLE OTHERS WELL?
We already talked about the big win for our ministry — seeing kids take a step toward owning their faith. But not every member of our team has the same role in trying to see that goal accomplished.
Small group leaders, though, have a very crucial part to play in seeing that goal accomplished. Here’s what we think the win looks like for small group leaders . . .
SMALL GROUP LEADERS WIN WHEN THEY BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH KIDS AND TEENAGERS, AND HELP THEM BUILD RELATIONSHIPS WITH EACH OTHER.
Our Grow Curriculum and Strategy can give you all of the resources and information you need to go about developing your discipleship strategy for children’s and youth ministries. Let us help ease the burden as you focus on your passion to serve others through your ministry.
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