Welcome to part three of my series 5 Resources Every New Youth Pastor Needs. If you’re new here, welcome! Be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get updates on new articles, videos and resources.
New youth pastor’s needs discipleship plan
I knew the word discipleship, but I was so new to youth ministry, I didn’t know how important it was or how to plan a youth ministry around it. Designing a youth ministry without discipleship is like designing a house without plumbing. Sure, you can put the toilets and sinks in but they’ll only be window dressing.
I think we’d all agree that a discipleship plan, a plan by which you lead students from wherever they are in their faith in Christ to an ongoing maturity in Christ, is as important to a youth ministry much like plumbing is important to a house; but if you don’t put the plumbing in while you’re building the house, it’s kind of hard to go back and do it later.
Because discipleship wasn’t at the forefront of my youth ministry design, I focused on evangelism which only resulted in turnover and immature believers. Now in my 32nd year of youth ministry, I can’t emphasize enough how important discipleship is.
Just recently, I was asked to come to a graduation party for a young man who was in my youth ministry five years ago. I had seen this young man several times at school while facilitating an on campus bible club called First Priority. I also saw him in through the drive through window of the local Dairy Queen. We would chat while he handed me my upside down Blizzard and red spoon.
I share this story because discipleship is not a straight line. Discipleship is not a series of classes or studies but it often starts there. Discipleship is seeing students as they are and who they can be in Christ. Now, even after three years with very little contact, his mother invited me to come to his graduation party. It will be my honor and another opportunity to continue our discipleship relationship, if he wants to.
Students, like Sean, who later become adults, will drift in and out of your online and in person life, but my relationship with Sean began when he was in Middle School and because I had a discipleship plan from the beginning our relationship has endured and he has remained open. Remember, you’re not just planning for a year, you’re planning for a lifetime.
If you’re a brand new youth pastor, figure out how you’re going to get a student to mature in Christ over time. If you need help with that, I offer discipleship resources in my New Youth Pastor Bundle that includes how to shift your youth meeting to a youth movement with my book The Disciple Project, my complimentary teaching series Follow 5 and an in-depth three week series called Submerged as well as a ton of other helpful resources.