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 to the most important hat, that of Chief discipler.
Parenting is 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 the movie 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 steps, books, etc. in order to be a good follower of Jesus.”. I think there’s middle.
If your kids make new commitments to Christ this summer, and I pray they will, 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 Videos
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 refresh their memory about what they need to do to grow.
This video is old and bad, but still served its purpose to inspire young people to grow in their faith. Don’t get hung up on the tech, make the best video with the equipment you have.
With students watching more videos than ever, why not make 10 30 second videos on growing in their faith. You could make seven 15 second videos that are made in different locations in your church like the baptismal, the Sunday school room, the youth room and the sanctuary emphasizing different elements of their spiritual growth.
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 resources I have written for my students and may help your students as well.
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 daily/weekly scriptures
PAsk students who have made a commitment to sign up to be in a group text or on an app like GroupMe and send 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, take them all out to eat or have a BBQ at your house and a short devotion. 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. You could even ask the camp speaker o to make a video message just for your students or have Zoom them in to answer questions, etc.
If you do a service, set it up 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 email@example.com 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