Friday, March 22, 2013

The "with" factor of Discipleship

Our Savior

Matthew 8:23; 9:19; 15:23.  Mark 2:15; 3:7; 4:38; 6:1; 9:28; 10:32.  Luke 6:17; 7:11; 8:1; 9:18.  John 3:22; 6:3; 11:54; 18:1,2


When you read the above verses you see a common theme.

Often when we think about discipleship we think about teaching students to read the Bible, memorize scripture, serve with the gifts God’s given them, worship God personally and corporately.  Jesus is the one we strive to emulate and follow.  We are doing well to teach students the disciplines that help us follow Christ.  Where we fail sometimes is in following the example Jesus gave us in the verses listed above (this is not a comprehensive list).

Jesus spent time with his disciples.  During his few short years of ministry on earth Jesus lived with, walked with, ate with, traveled with, talked with and hung out with his disciples.

Our Youth Ministry

I will admit that I have the tendency to get wrapped up in the program, the administration, and miss out on opportunities to have the “with” factor with our students.  This year our team is putting a focus (one of our team goals) on investing in the lives of students.  This doesn’t necessarily mean creating more events for the youth group.  It does mean looking for opportunities as individual leaders to invest into the lives of the students in every day life.  Looking something like this: going to athletic events, extracurricular events, school plays, going out with a couple of students for a meal, inviting students to help paint the garage, etc.

“With” is just as important as the other spiritual disciplines we teach.  Out weekly youth group gathering is a 2 hour time slot.  Of that two hours our adult volunteers have about 85 minutes to put the “with” into practice.  Discussion and prayer together during our PODz (small group discussion time) and then during Hang Time, a great opportunity to sit and talk with students.

It’s also important that the students are “with” each other.  This year we will have more focused events and time for students to spend time together.  Fellowship with each other can be that “iron that sharpens iron”.  Students need opportunity to minister to and disciple each other.

Parents

God outlined his plan for us as parents in Deuteronomy 6:1-9.  Discipleship, teaching your teen about following Christ, teaching him/her God’s Word is our responsibility as parents.  In those verses we see that discipleship should be the fabric of our home.  This would mean the “with” factor of discipleship needs to happen naturally in your relationship with your son or daughter.  Create space  in your calendar and schedules to allow for conversation also mix it into normal everyday life.  How much time have you spent with your teen this week?  (staring mindlessly at the TV doesn’t count)  Put the phones away, the laptops away, eat a meal together and talk about what God is doing in your lives and pray together and for each other.  If you did this regularly you just might see some transformation happening in your home.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Last Night in The Loft

We dove into our second lesson in our Ancient Alive series.  The goal of the series is for students to learn from some of the Old Testament "greats" and apply what they learn in their own lives.  Gideon was up to bat last night.  We walked through Judges 6,7.  In talking with many of the students they had never heard of Gideon.  We talked about how Israel would go through a cycle of turning their backs on God and then God would allow an invading force to oppress them, they would then cry out for help from God and He would send a judge to deliver them.  A cycle that we as believers often go through today.  We turn our backs on God and then when we hit rock bottom we cry out for help from God.

The main point:  We often view ourselves different than God views us.

Gideon

  • Hiding - he wasn't threshing the wheat out in the open on the threshing floor he was threshing in hiding in the wine press.
  • Angel calls Gideon "Mighty Warrior" - yet he is hiding.  How mighty is that?
  • Gideon questions God, "If you are with us . . . . . ?"
  • Gideon's view of self - "I am the weakest and lowest person in the lowest and weakest clan"  Basically - I'm the last person you should be turning to as a leader
  • God's assurance - "I'll be with you"
  • Gideon does what God asks of him but he does it at night so no one will see who did it
  • The test of the fleece . . . 2 times
  • The tiny army against the huge army.
  • The crazy battle plan (that worked really well)
You

  1. Are you in hiding?  What do you fear?  What tears down your confidence or keeps you from what doing what you know God wants you to do?

    Psalm 139:23,24
  2. God sees you as He created you and wants to use you.  He knows your potential.
    Psalm 139:14
  3. How do you view yourself?
    • Your value isn't found in what others think about you
    • Your value is found in who God has made you to be
    • God has gifted you and has plans for you to serve Him

    Students gathered in their PODz and discussed how God views them and looked at the Psalm scriptures above and discussed those verses together.

    Following our Bible study we had Hang Time.  The ping pong table and foosball table were a hot item.   We ate 6 bags of chips, fritos and pretzels, one jar of dip, two packages of Chips Ahoy, 4 sleeves of Oreos, 2 bags of popcorn, 2 gallons of punch.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Last Sunday at Youth Group

Every month or so we will be doing something special and different together as a youth group.  The purpose is three-fold:
1.  To break routine (getting in a rut is not good)
2.  Provide opportunity for our students to bring friends who might not normally be willing to a attend youth group worship gathering.
3.  Fellowship - an opportunity for students and leaders to build friendships.

Plus doing something like this during our usual meeting time simplifies life for families because it doesn't require another night out from home for already over schedules, slam packed calendar families.

Last Sunday night we met at the Bowling Center rather than in The Loft.  We accomplished all three of the above purposes.  We definitely broke from routine.  We had at least 5 students there who had never had been to youth group with us before.  We had an adult leader on just about every lane with a group of students.  From what I hear from both students and leaders the night was a great success!!  Everyone had a great time.  We are praying that some of our guests will join us this coming Sunday night for youth group in The Loft to learn about how God views them (studying Gideon).

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