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.

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