The Call TO Discipleship
What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus?
Simply put, being a follower of Jesus means entering into a lifelong relationship WITH Jesus (c.f., Mark 3:14 as an indication of what discipleship is). Simple enough, right?
Well, not necessarily true. In our digital age, Biblical illiteracy, declining church attendance, lazy fare spiritual activities in the family continue to be the reality. Maybe (just maybe) this is because we need to return to WHAT it means to be a follower of Jesus. Well, we see that:
1. Jesus called people to Himself – discipleship wasn’t a program, curriculum, or an event. Discipleship was being with the person of Jesus (ex. Mark 1:17; 2:14) in everyday life.
2. Jesus called people to let go of the past – whether it was a lust for money, unhealthy relationships, their family reputation, job positions, and/or social reputations – to live in discipleship with HIM (see Luke 8:1-3; Mark 10:17-27, 15:40ff) was to let go of the past to LIVE with Jesus in the present.
3. Jesus called people to be Kingdom-builders – not of ourselves but of the Kingdom (see Mark 1:17). He calls you and me to be “sent out” as a unified group of people to make Jesus known in our culture (Mark 3:14ff). This includes proclaiming the Gospel, power to heal the sick, equipped with the Holy Spirit to reveal the character of Jesus (Galatians 5:22-23) in our workplaces, schools, homes, and lives.
Jesus is calling you + me, friend. He is calling you + me to Himself. He is calling you + me to let go of the past so we can know Him deeply. He is calling you + me to make Him known in this world. This is the best FORM of youth ministry we can give to our students.
Below you will see our youth ministry strategy for discipleship. For us,
1. We had an intentional journey for EVERY student to encounter Christ. Every student who came into contact with our youth ministry was invited to be on a journey with Christ (see John 3:16).
2. We made discipleship fun. Discipleship doesn’t have to be boring or dull, it can be fun. This is the reality of Jesus calling us into FULL life (see John 10:10).
3. We made sure discipleship was about relationships. Jesus invited people to Himself and our desire was to do the same with students. The fun will bring students but relationships will keep students (ex., John 21:12).
4. We were relentless in helping students grow in their discipleship journey. Below is our model to help students grow as followers of Jesus. Of course, no model is perfect but it did help us navigate, evaluate, and help EVERY ONE of our students grow. I hope this helps you, in some way.
I want to conclude by encouraging you. Your role as a youth worker is so important. You have the opportunity to call students to a vibrant, loving, life-transformational relationship with Jesus. You have four to five strategic years to invest in students that will in return become effective and transformative disciples of Jesus for life.
If you are looking at evaluating your discipleship strategy, here is a FREE discipleship assessment tool: "I AM A DISCIPLE" YM Assessment.
From A Fellow Youth Worker*
*excerpt from the CYWC.