Youth discipleship is a slippery beast, but not ungraspable if we are willing to work a little harder at customizing the discipleship experience. Isn’t it funny how we make a big deal when someone “get’s saved” but say nothing after that? Why don’t we celebrate and say things like “This kid did not have a daily bible reading experience and now they do!”?, “This kid never raised his hands during worship and now he is all into it!”Discipleship is as equally awesome as evangelism, it just doesn’t get the press time evangelism does. jesus celebrated with his disciples when he said
“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure.” Luke 10: 21 NIV
I think customized discipleship brings in this celebration factor and honors a teens commitment to Christ. I listened to an interview last year about customizable shopping and I am pretty sure this is what jump started this journey for me to customize discipleship material for kids.
I am doing my best to treat each kid in my group differently and teach my adult leaders to do the same, because each kid is different. Their needs are different and how they learn is different. “But what if I am not gifted in writing or creating, can I still meet kids needs?” Yes, my gift is writing and creating and I have a passion for learning and getting kids to learn so that is what I do. You can customize the discipleship experience for your kids by asking a few simple questions
1. Where are my kids favorite places to eat?
Why not have your bible study or accountability time there.
2. What are my kids favorite style of music?
Use music that kids are familiar with to share the gospel or to share a biblical truth. I give certain cd’s to certain kids because that is what they like. One of my kids is all about sceamo metal, that is what I give him,. He is starting a Bible study soon around that music. I don’t push what I like on them and expect them to accept it because I do.
3. What are your kids favorite hobbies?
I have a girl who is into Anime. Now, I do not watch Anime as a general rule, other than when my son was into the cartoon Avatar: The Last Air Bender, but I do make room in my brain to learn something about Anime so I can at least know what she is talking about. Knowing something about anime also means I am looking for Christian manga resources to share with her because that is the method she would best receive it in. Like The Mange Bible.
These are not knew ideas. They have been done for years. What is new is the culture we live in where everything is streaming, on demand, and customizable. It take work to know what our kids like and we lose none of the power of the Gospel by creating customized plans or spaces for kids to learn what we want them to learn in a way they want to learn it. It’s easy and lazy to do mass discipleship, (take these 5 classes, etc.) It is harder to customize the experience, but it is more productive and more worth while.
Do you customize resource for your kids? How do you do it? Leave a comment below.