I’m passionate about following up after kids make spiritual commitments. If a kid is inwardly compelled to go to an altar and commit his or her life to Christ, then I must be inwardly compelled to follow up after them to help them in their journey.
I understand that parents play the key role with their kids discipleship. Parents struggle to wear many hats from taxi driver to den mother to band booster. Chief discipler is a hat that, too often, falls to the back of the closet. Parents are in that unique role of managing family relationships and making family work. It’s a tough job and sometimes discipleship, in the formal sense of kids being students of the Word, is not a skill set many parents feel equipped to do. Rather than make parents feel guilty that they cannot get it all done (which they already feel) let’s lend a hand in an area we should be adept at.
Even though we only see a kid for two hours a week we still have some tools a parent does not have. We know how to take a kid from point A to point B as far as spiritual steps go, but we , like National Treasure, only have a piece of a map that can lead to a treasure of spiritual growth.
Follow up is crucial to spiritual growth. Attitudes towards follow up ranges from, “Well God will just do it.” to “I have 30 classes you need to attend in order to be a good follower of Jesus.”. I think there is a middle ground we can meet on.
If your kids have made some new commitments to Christ this summer, and I pray they have, I’d like to offer five follow up strategies you can use to help your students get the best start in keeping their commitments.
1. Make a Video
I just preached a camp down in Florida and a kid, who watched this video, told me afterwards that he never has a strategy after camp. His comment further deepened my commitment to help kids in the growth process. I won’t see these kids until next summer and this video is something they can go back to to refresh there memory about what they need to do to grow.
2. Written Material
In addition to the video, I wrote a five day follow up devotion they can download. I cannot make them do it, but the fact that they may not do it cannot dissuade me from providing it. I must give them a choice.
Whether you choose a book or choose to write your own material, offer your kids some kind of physical tool to help them set a course for spiritual growth. These kinds of resources are for kids who like to read, write, and like to see some physical path they can make progress on. Completing these kinds of tools also gives kids a boost of confidence.
Here are a few things I have written for our kids that may help your kids
God? What’s Your Status?: A 21 day Journal Through The Gospel Of John
St Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer Journal
I’d also like to recommend a book called The Purple Book. If you decide to use a book, be sure you sit down with the student(s) and go through it with them.
3. Face to Face
Schedule a lunch with these kids one on one or in groups of 2-3. Take them to a meal and ask them about how their commitments are going and ask how you can help support them.
4. Assign A Mentor or Accountability Partner
Communicate to kids that if they make a commitment to Christ, you are going to support them. This support may come in the form of a prayer partner or a weekly contact over a certain amount of weeks. I understand that anonymity is a directions many kids will want to take but we must be careful to remind them that spiritual growth does not happen in a vacuum. We need others to grow. We need others experience, knowledge, and passion, to help us along.
5. Text kids weekly scriptures
Put all the kids who made commitment this summer in a list and text them a scripture and a short encouragement. The amount of information consumed is not equal to the depth of spiritual growth. You don’t have to dump a ton of info on them. A short text communicates that you care and that you are praying for them. That may all they need to take the next step in their walk with Christ.
Host a 30 Days after Camp Reunion. Put it on the calendar to meet with just the kids who went to camp and have a service with them. Let them share where they are spiritually 30 days later. Let them reflect on the camp, the worship, the speaker, and the kind of commitment they made.
Set up the service by playing a game or two you played at camp followed by a few worship songs you sang at camp. I have a 30 Days After Camp Teaching if you would like to use it. You can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will mail you a copy. You can grab a few more ideas in this video I created
One more bonus step: Offer parents tools to do the follow up at home. Check out my post on 7 Questions Parents Should Ask Their Kids After Camp
How do you follow up when kids make a commitment to Christ or to develop a deeper relationship with the Lord?
What is your process like?
What frustrates you most in the follow up process?