What My Own Kids Taught Me About Youth Ministry Discipleship

I used to think I knew something about discipleship.   It was about pouring into students who were walking with Christ, and helping them grow.  Sure I would teach them to read the Bible, what church is all about, have a “Quiet Time,” you know the regular stuff you teach someone about what you do when you follow Jesus.  Then my own children started to grow up.

I went from pastoring a youth group to living with one.  My perspective changed radically.

Youth Ministry Discipleship Perspective

There isn’t a moment of the day when I’m not answering a question that directly affects my kid’s spiritual growth. It involves everything from the music playing on the radio,  to the way I react in anger.  They are watching, listening, absorbing and learning whether I’m talking about something or merely going about my day. You could argue this is called “parenting” from a Christ centric perspective.  However, this has taught me so much about what discipleship truly is.

Jesus had disciples.  He ate, slept, walked, and spent a good majority of his time with them.  There are theologians that argue almost every sermon He ever preached was really for their ears.  All I know is he spent a lot of time talking in a way the crowds didn’t understand, then turning to the 12 and explaining it in detail.

Discipleship cannot be compartmentalized.

It isn’t JUST about any one thing.

It is entirely about teaching someone how to be with Jesus in every area of  his or her lives.

Using a curriculum or hanging out is only one part of the process.  Here are three things I am noticing discipleship takes:

1.  Desire:   We as adults have a tendency to go find a student and tell them we are going to “disciple” them.    There might be a class they can come and be apart of.  However,  there are times when it feels like we are dragging students along.   Jesus went and found his disciples,  yet,  this was only one part of the process.  They got up,  left what they were doing,  and followed Him.    My kids adapt when they want to hear.   This may seem overly simplistic,  however,  if a student wants it they will grow.

2.  We are looking for a World View Transformation:  Sometimes we focus on “what to do for,”  more than what it means to  “be with Jesus.”  This leads to students learning how to change their behavior.    We must allow them to wrestle with the hard questions,  make mistakes, and figure out what Christ’s love means to them.

3.  Focus:  Every conversation should be purposeful.   Yes, there is a time when you sit and read the Bible with them however, that is only part of the process.   Take students with you on regular every day activities when you can.   Spend time talking to them about EVERYTHING!  Be honest about when you struggle, what you don’t know and what you are still working out.

In the end discipleship is just about time and purposing to teach the world to follow Jesus.

Leneita Fix

While this is a challenge to what discipleship should look like, how can this take shape in our ministries?


P.S – Here’s a photo of my my family, also known as my ‘at home youth ministry.’ 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1048305257 Jud Kossum

    So true. Discipleship is so much more than classrooms and curricula! Thanks for posting.

  • http://twitter.com/ScottTinman ScottTinman

    Love the series this week on Discipleship! So many times we think discipleship is about a program we put together or finding the “right” curriculum to use when you look at what Jesus did it was about relationships. Life on life together…Discipleship is Relationships.

  • philbell

    Welcome Jud!

  • philbell

    Agreed, relationships, teachable moments, and sometimes enormous challenges formed Jesus’ disciples…