Our responsibility as adult believers and our role as youth workers, Sunday School teachers,, Pastors, or small groups leaders is to disciple people, to help them in their walk with Christ. These words from the Apostle Paul give us a clear five part strategy for engaging and leading, especially students, to a God honoring life.
“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.”
1.”we dealt with each of you”
The Apostle Paul took an interest in people, individual people. Look at how many individual names he calls out in the closing of many of his letters. If we are to lead people into a God honoring life we cannot exclusively do it from the pulpit, the altar, or the classroom; we have to do it face to face.
2. “as a father deals with with his own children”
For some of my students, I am the only “spiritual parent” they have and we, as a team, have the privlege to be spiritual fathers and mothers to them and speak into their lives. Let’s work with kids as a parent works with their small children, with patience, listening for clues of what they may need, and withholding judgement because they’re going to mess their pants quite a bit.
After every gathering we should look for ways to encourage new believers who participated by saying things like,
- You are making great progress
- Thanks for being brave and sharing your heart
- What you said was right on point.
The more we affirm students for taking risks the more risks they will take.
I like to say I failed my way into the ministry because of all the mistakes I made growing up, but it was the comfort my mentors gave me when I blew it that made the difference. Kids who are doing their best need our comfort that they are not spiritual failures and that God loves them as much in their failures as in their successes.
5. “urging you to live lives worthy of God”
Occasionally, we have to light a fire under someone to get them going. I’m usually lighting them under kids who profess to be believers but haven’t done much and are wasting the potential God gave them. Take time to urge church kids who seem to know it all to serve, go, and live to the glory of God.
Which of these keys to discipleship do you do well?
Which key(s) do you need to work on?