The Priority of Discipleship in Youth Ministry…continued

Discipleship is a process that must render a life that is transformed. The process must have a strategy that can be replicated in every discipling relationship. It must have attainable and measurable goals for that transformation.

Do you believe this statement? “Every teenager that believes in Jesus Christ deserves the opportunity for personal spiritual nurture and growth.” If not, then what is the purpose of local church youth ministry? Back in 1990, Duffy Robbins wrote that the goal for those who minister to adolescents is to “help them grow spiritually.” Those words are just as precise and vital in the 21st century as in any time in the modern history of local church youth ministry. So the goal of youth ministry must be to develop spiritually maturing adolescents using  culturally appropriate programs, through which every young person will hear the Gospel and have the opportunity to respond, grow in their walk with Christ and serve the mission with their God-given gifts. This is how we fulfill the Great Commission so that the body of Christ may be edified.

The goal of youth ministry must have a definite direction that leads to producing spiritually maturing adolescents in your church. But what do we really mean when we say “spiritually mature?” When I say that, I mean that the Christian life is a process of growth where every believer never finishes discovering, learning, and obeying what God teaches us in His Word. One of the greatest works on discipleship over the last several decades is that of LeRoy Eims’ Lost Art of Disciplemaking (1978). In that book, Eims defines what a disciple is in a very tangible practical sense. Listen don’t just read these words.

…people who knew how to win another person to Christ and then take that person from the time of his conversion and help him become a….mature disciple who could in time repeat that process in the life of another (Eims, 1978, 18).

That means that true discipleship is ultimately evangelistic. If Eims is right that the true definition of a disciple is that a Christian can lead someone to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ then walk with them, train them, pray with them, and model for them how to lead others, then discipleship is to always have evangelism as a primary goal. Believers reproducing believers.

So, does your strategy for youth discipleship include a a tangible objective? Do you have a discipleship map for the spiritual growth j0urney that you are leading your students on?

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