Youth Ministry

 Leadership Empowerment School of Ministry


Empowering Those who Empower Others with a Knowledge of God and His Ways


Discussion Groups:

·       How are youth different from children?

·       How are youth different from adults?

·       How should this effect the way you minister to them?

·       What are some keys to effectively ministering to youth?


1. Youth Culture

A. What is culture?

Culture is the way a group of people behave and think about life.  It effects who we are in all areas.  For example, how we show respect and acceptance to others, how we show hospitality, the type of language we use, the way we treat different kinds of people, how we make decisions, etc. 


B. What is youth culture?

1. Youth culture is the unique way young people behave and view life.  In some ways it is the same as the culture of their elders, but in many ways it is also different.


2. Youth often have their own way of speaking, their own style of clothes, their own way of having fun.


3. Sometimes the values of young people can be different from their elders in the community.  They may have different values concerning sexuality, money, status, and anything else.


4. Youth culture is always changing.  It is different than it was five or ten years ago.


5. Youth culture is not always the same even among different groups of youth.  For example, those who are in school may be very different from those who are not.


C. The youth minister's attitude towards youth culture

1. Your primary work is not to change youth culture.


2. Seek to understand it.  Many ministers see things they do not like about the way young people live, but they never seek to understand them.  They do not know why they act the way they do.  In order to reach young people, it is very helpful to have an understanding of their culture.  Be willing to learn from the youth themselves.  Let them teach you about their way of doing things.  This can make them more willing to learn from you.


3. Do not try to be a part of youth culture.  Understand it and relate to the young people, but do not try to be like them.


4. Understand that some aspects of their culture will be good.  Some will be clearly wrong or harmful.  Many things will be not particularly good or bad – just different.


5. Appreciate and celebrate what is good in youth culture.


6. Accept what is just different.  Allow the Bible to be your guide in this.  Learn the difference between biblical principles and your own personal preferences.  In other words, just because you do not like something, that does not mean it is unbiblical!


7. Use wisdom in confronting what is harmful.  Here are some thoughts that can help with this:

a. First earn the right to speak into someone's life.  People respond to confrontation much better after a solid relationship has been built.


b. Show that you accept and respect the person.  You can love them and still not approve of what they do.


c. Be Biblical.  Show how the Bible teaches that a certain thing is wrong.


d. Help them to see how the behavior or attitude is harmful to themselves.


e. Be positive.  Instead of always showing how much you do not approve of something, find ways of helping the person to connect with Christ.  It is He that will bring change.


f. Pray and trust the Holy Spirit.  He is at work in the life of the young person, and you are just His tool.


2. How People Change:  Three Possibilities



·       Carefully study Galatians 5:1-5.  How are we to attain righteousness (see v 5)?  What is 'the only thing that counts?'  What does this have to do with being righteous?

·       Carefully study Galatians 5:13-15.  What does it mean to be free?  What are we free from?  How are we to use our freedom?

·       Carefully study Galatians 5:16-25.  How do you stop living according to the sinful nature?  How do you become loving, joyful, peaceful, etc.?


A. Legalism

Legalism is a way of trying to change people based on law.  Here are some characteristics of legalism:


1. Focus is on outward behavior rather than inward renewal.


2. Tries to change people through telling them exactly how they should live.  It is based on lists of things that must be done, and other lists of things which must not be done.


3. Salvation is based on an outward standard of behavior


4. Tends to be judgmental.  You condemn a person because he has not properly lived up to the rules.


5. Uses guilt to try to make people change


6. Changes people through rewards and punishments.  You reward those who follow the rules well (by recognizing them, appreciating them, giving them positions, etc), and you punish those who do not (by making fun of them, showing your disapproval, rebuking them in front of others, etc).  The system of rewards and punishments can be good and helpful in some settings, but should be used only very cautiously by the church in dealing with spiritual growth.


7. Growth is based on manipulation.  You try to do whatever you can to get the person to act in a certain way.


B. License

License refers to allowing people to live any way they want.  It says 'God will change them if He wants to.'  Here are some characteristics of a license style ministry:


1. Does not actively seek to help people change either outwardly or inwardly


2. Has no standard of behavior.  Anything can be fine, as long as you feel ok about it


3. Anyone who claims to be saved is saved


4. Accepts all people and behavior


5. Stresses God's forgiveness without equally stressing the need for genuine repentance


6. Preaches only what people like to hear


7. Growth is based on feeling.  A person is encouraged to follow how he feels.  Once he feels he should change, he will.


8. Often times this type of ministry develops when people are afraid of losing people.  They come to be more interested in pleasing man than in pleasing God.


C. Grace

Grace is the biblical alternative to legalism and license.  It is God's way of changing people.  Here are some characteristics of a ministry based on grace.


1. Emphasizes an inward change of heart, and expects that outward change will follow;  Expects the Holy Spirit to convict and change people, and is open to being used by Him to confront areas of sin – Mat 23:28


2. Lives by the law of love. 


3. Expects youth to live up to certain standards or guidelines, but understands that those standards are not what makes someone saved.  Salvation comes by grace through faith.  --  Eph 2:8


4. Loves all people unconditionally and hates all sin;  Does not condemn people, and does not condone sin


5. Emphasizes both forgiveness and repentance


6. Will give discipline for the good of the church, and will seek by all means to restore the one who has done wrong


7. Growth is based on relationship.  Through a person's relationship with God he is convicted of the need to change, and given the power to change.  Through his relationship with other growing believers, he receives the support and encouragement he needs to continue developing his relationship with God.


In Galatians 5, Paul addresses all three of these possibilities.  In 5:1-12, he rebukes those who have a legalistic attitude.  In 5:13-15, he shows that license is also not acceptable.  Finally, in 5:16-26, he gives the solution.  The way to change is to cultivate life in the Spirit.  Notice he does not say, "Do not gratify the sinful nature so that you can live by the Spirit."  Instead, he says, "Live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the sinful nature" (v 16).  This is a very important difference.  You do not live in the Spirit by being good.  You become good by living in the Spirit.


This discussion is very important as we think about youth ministry.  As mature believers, we see many things in the lives of young people that we know to be bad for them.  We want them to change, and we want to help them change.  However, we must take careful thought as to how we do this.  Sometimes our attempts to change them can push them further from Christ.  Although there is no solution that will bring about the results we want every time, following the grace method will give the best chance of bearing good fruit.


3. Preaching to Youth

A. Deal with issues that are important to them


Class Discussion:

What are important issues in the lives of young people?


1. Youth are not always dealing with the same problems as adults.  Minister to them according to their needs.  Do not always preach to youth the same things you preach to adults.


2. Youth are not always dealing with the same problems and issues that you faced when you were younger.  There will be some similarities, but also some differences  Times change!


3. Find out from them – do not think you know all about it

This is based on building strong relationships with young people.  How can you find out what they feel are there biggest needs?


B. Preaching to Youth

1. Pray!  Pray for God's message to deliver to the youth, and for His power to change their lives.  Remember that you cannot change them, no matter how well you preach.  It takes God's power.


2. Determine the main point that you want to deliver.  Do not try to give too much information.  Refer to the course THE ART OF PREACHING.


3. Be interesting – use good stories and examples, make them laugh, use good public-speaking skills, etc.  Be energetic.


4. Be personal – try to relate to them;  share personal testimonies and stories from your own life.  Include failures as well as victories!


5. Be practical – preach and teach about things that touch the daily lives of young people.  Think of action steps, or specific ways they can apply the message.


6. Challenge them – young people often respond well to challenges.  Bring them to a point of commitment.


4. Relationships are Key

A. The strength of your youth ministry will depend on the strength of your relationships with youth.

Great music or preaching will not be enough alone.  You need to add relationships.  Young people tend to go where they have friends, where there are people whom they like, and where they themselves are liked by others.


B. Accept

Learn the art of showing that you accept people, even when you do not approve of their behavior.  Follow the example of Jesus.  Consider the following:  Lk 5:27-32, 7:34-35, 7:36-50, 19:1-10.


C. Respect

All people, including youth, respond best to people who respect them.  Do not look down on them.  Do not consider yourself better than them.  Honor them as people for whom Jesus died.  Show them that they you see they have value.  See Phil 2:3


D. Youth need relationships with loving adults

No matter what their spiritual condition, young people need this.  Whether they are not yet saved, or have been saved for a long time, it is important for them to have positive relationships with strong believers who can be examples to them.


E. Be honest and open with youth

This does not mean you should confess all your sins and temptations to them.  However, be willing to admit that you have struggles, and show them how you overcome temptation.  Let them know that you are like them, and that whatever Jesus has done in you He can also do in them.


F. Make it a point to disciple them

Ask them about their spiritual lives.  Ask how things are going at school or home.  Ask how their prayer time is, or if they've been studying the Bible.  Do not ask in a condemning way, but in a way that shows you want to help.  Always be ready to offer good counsel and encouragement.



Action Steps:  Write down one or two specific things you will do differently in ministering to youth as a result of this teaching so far:








Depending on God


1. You Need God's Power

A. The only way you can be an effective minister to youth is by being filled with the power of God.

You may be a great preacher.  You may be able to plan terrific activities for young people.  You may be someone that youth naturally like and are attracted to.  However, even with all of these qualities, you will eventually find that you are not bearing the fruit you would like to see unless you tap into God's power.


B. A strong and growing relationship with God is the most important qualification for ministering to youth.


2. How to be a Minister who Depends on God's Power

A. Understand that God's power comes through humility

1. With this in mind, pride may be your biggest enemy that keeps you from having God's power.


2. Do not take credit for success in ministry.  Understand that it is God who is accomplishing good things.  Be careful even in your secret thoughts to not give yourself credit for what God does.  "Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord" (1 Cor 1:31).


3. Do not compare your ministry to other people's.  This too is a form of pride, and can move you away from God's power.


4. Do whatever it takes to remind yourself continually that you need God.


5. God could use another person to do what you are doing.  Do not allow yourself to think that God needs your abilities, talents, energy, etc.  It is you that needs God.  He chose to use you through His wonderful grace.  Be grateful.


B. Allow God to work through your weakness

You may feel very inadequate to minister to young people.  There may be many other people who seem to have greater gifts, and who appear to be better equipped to reach young people.  Be confident that God has chosen you, and understand that His power is best seen in your areas of weakness.


1. 2 Cor 13:4 -- For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power.  Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God's power we will live with him to serve you.  (NIV)


2. 1 Cor 2:3-5 – I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on man's wisdom, but on God's power.  (NIV)


3. 2 Cor 12:9-10 --  But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."  (NIV)


C. Continually submit your whole life to God – Lk 9:23


D. Focus on being a person of God before doing the work of God.

You must look to your own spiritual life and growth as a priority.  Many ministers become so busy working for God that they fail to grow in God.  Ministry is not what you can do for God.  It is what God can do for people through you.  Your highest priority in ministry is to stay in a position where God can use you.  Be a pure vessel through which He can pour His love and power.



Prayer Time:

Read and meditate on John 15:1-17.  As you read, think about what God is saying about how to be effective in ministry.  Allow the Scripture to lead you into prayer.  Pray for the truth in these verses to become more real in your own life.  Ask the Lord to show you how you can more completely abide in Him, and how you can bear more fruit.  Continue to study this passage and pray over it throughout the week.



Developing a Youth Ministry in Your Church


Class Discussion:

·       Is it important for the church to have a special ministry to youth apart from the ministry to adults?  Why or why not?

·       Describe the youth ministry in your church.  Who ministers to youth?  What types of activities do they have? What plan do you have for reaching and discipling youth as a church?  Several people can volunteer to answer this question.

·       What are some strengths and weaknesses of the ministries just described?  What about them would you like to copy in your church?  How could they be improved?


Organizing the Ministry


1. Youth Ministry is Needed

A. Many young people do not respond to ministry that is directed to adults.  Because of this, it is very helpful for local churches to have special ministries for youth.


B. Consider making youth ministry one of the priority ministries in your church.  Here are a few ideas to help do this:

1. As the pastor, take an active interest in ministering to young people.


2. Teach about the need for reaching young people, and the need for youth to have good mentors and adult leaders to help them grow spiritually.


3. Train and develop youth ministers


4. Continually encourage and help the youth ministers as they seek to reach out to young people


2. The Youth Leader

A. Designate a leader for the youth ministry

In order to reach young people, it is very helpful to have a minister in the church be the youth leader.  This person can be in charge of organizing youth activities, leading youth services, evangelism to youth, and all youth related ministries in the church.


B. Qualifications:  Appoint someone who…

1. is spiritually mature and respected -- See 1 Timothy 3:1-7


2. loves young people, and will enjoy working with them


3. young people are likely to respect and want to be with


4. is called by God


C. What if there is no one willing?

If nobody else will take on a ministry to youth, the pastor should pray about taking the lead himself.  This will show other believers how serious he is about helping young people, and probably before too long others will want to join him.  In any case, the pastor can take the responsibility at least for a season.


3. Other Ministers to Youth

In addition to the youth leader, it is good to have other believers in the church who can help with youth ministry.  As we have said before, young people need adult spiritual leadership to help them grow and develop as Christians.  It is good for the youth leader to have other volunteers who can help him disciple young people.


4. Youth Ministries

A. Youth Service

1. If you do not already do this, consider having a service just for your youth every week or at least once in a month.


2. Such a time set aside just for youth can be a big boost to the church, and to the young people.  It is also a very good way to draw unsaved youth.  The unsaved are much more likely to come to a youth service or event than to a usual church service.


3. See the section Ministry to Attenders for more information about youth services


B. Other youth events

There are many ministries you can have for the youth.  Some examples are:  youth small groups, youth ministry teams (where the young people minister), special youth parties, retreats, music galas, etc.  See the section Planning Ideas for more ideas along these lines.


Action Steps:  Who in your church may be able to minister to youth?  Spend some time praying about this, and write down a few ideas.  Consider approaching them this month to discuss the possibility:










Why are you Ministering?  Purposes


It is very important for you to know your purpose in ministry.  In other courses we have discussed four purposes that are common to every person and every church.  These same four purposes are also essential for your youth ministry.  In order to have a healthy, balanced youth ministry, it is important to plan to fulfill each of these.


1. Four Purposes

A. Worship – ministering to God

1. Worship can be defined as expressing love to God.  It includes singing to Him (both 'praise' songs and 'worship' songs).  It can also include many other things beyond singing.  For example:  working for God, listening to His Word, showing love to another person, praying, giving, etc.  All of these can be worship if done out of a heart of love for God.


2. Worship also includes an element of sacrifice.  It means giving yourself completely to God, and surrendering your will to Him.  See Rom 12:1-2.


B. Fellowship – ministering to one another

1. Biblical fellowship is simply loving your brothers and sisters in Christ.  There are many commands in the Bible for us to be in unity and to love one another.  We are all part of God's family.


2. Fellowship also includes ministering to one another.  We are the body of Christ, and each person has a part to play to help all the others.  We serve one another in order to help the body grow and glorify God.


3. All members of the body should seek to find a ministry in which to serve the Lord using their spiritual gifts and abilities.


C. Discipleship – ministering to yourself

1. Discipleship means that we are striving to become more like Jesus.  He is our Master, and we are called on to follow Him and imitate Him.


2. Discipleship includes teaching, but also much more.  It is not enough to simply pass on knowledge.  Discipleship means that the truth is being lived out in real life.


3. "Discipling" people is best done through caring relationships.


D. Evangelism – ministering to the world

1. Evangelism means to reach out to unbelievers and communicate the Gospel in such a way that people are drawn to Jesus.


2. It is much more important to develop evangelistic youth than to develop evangelistic activities.  Train your young people to be witnesses for Christ in their daily lives.  In doing this, you will bring more people to Christ than if you only concentrate on crusades and other evangelistic outreaches.


2. Ministering on Purpose

A. Once you have discovered the purposes of your youth ministry, communicate them

1. Communicate them to leaders in the youth ministry.  This will help all of you to be working together.


2. Communicate them to the youth themselves.  Help them to know where you want to lead them.


B. Manage your time according to the purposes

1. In ministry, there are always many opportunities which can take up your time.


2. You should not respond to every opportunity


3. Decide if the opportunity will fulfill one of your purposes.  If not, it is probably a waste of time.


4. Make sure that you are spending equal time on each purpose.  Do not spend 85% of your time on your favorite one, and then add the others in as you find time.  Building your ministry around these purposes will help you to have balance and health.


C. Live the purposes in your own life

Show the importance of these purposes by making them part of your own life.  Worship God, love His people, grow as a disciple, and share the Gospel with the lost.


D. Create programs (activities, ministries) to fulfill the purposes.

Think about all you do as a minister to youth.  Why do you do these things?  What is the purpose?  Develop ministries to fulfill each of the four purposes.



Whom are You Reaching?  Target Audience


Target audience is who you intend to reach.  The young people to whom you are ministering are not all on the same level spiritually.  Some are mature believers and are actively ministering to others.  Others are making progress, but still have a lot of fleshly areas to overcome.  At the same time, you are trying to reach others who are not saved yet, and lead them to Christ.  We are going to look at several different types of youth, and then see some ways to minister to each group.


1. Different Groups of Youth

A. Lost

These are the young people who live near your church, and who are not saved.  Your task is to reach them with the Gospel and lead them to Jesus.


B. Attenders

These are young people who come to church or a youth service, at least every now and then.  Many of them are saved, but many may not be, too.


C. Members

These are young people who are saved and involved in the church.  They attend regularly, and also may come to other events during the week.  There is positive change taking place in their lives.


D. Ministers

These are young people who are actively involved in ministering to others.  They may be leaders in the youth ministry.  They are witnesses in their daily lives, and seek to bring others to Christ.



2. Ministering to Each Group

A. Identify where each youth is

Know the commitment level of each person you minister to.  Is he lost and outside of the church?  Is he an attender, a member, or a minister?


B. Celebrate people where they are

The point of identifying the level of each person is not to make some feel bad, or to compare them with one another.  Instead, find ways of encouraging them.  Even the lost can be celebrated and honored just by the fact that they were created by God in His image, and Jesus died for them.  You can celebrate attenders because they are at least showing some interest in pursuing God, and on like that.


C. Encouragement movement to the next level (growth)

1. Encourage the lost to surrender to Christ and to come to church


2. Encourage attenders to increase their commitment and become members.


3. Encourage members to become ministers.


How are you Ministering? -- Programs

We have discussed the different purposes of your youth ministry and the different categories of youth you are trying to reach.  Now it is time to discuss how to plan a ministry to fulfill each of the purposes, and at the same time reach each of the different groups.


1. Programs

Programs are simply the tools we use to fulfill the purposes, and to minister to the youth.  They include everything you do as a youth minister, such as youth services, prayer meetings, evangelistic outreaches, etc.


2. Planning Programs

A. Plan according to purpose

1. Do not begin with a program, and then try to see what purpose it fulfills.  Start from the beginning.  Prayerfully plan out what you can do to fulfill each purpose.


2. Do not try to fulfill all purposes in one program.  If, during a Sunday youth service, you intend to fulfill the purpose of worship, and also preach to the lost, and also disciple believers, and also have fellowship, you will probably not succeed in any of them very well.  Plan one program to meet one or two purposes.


3. Be sure to have a program that meets every purpose.  The program does not necessarily have to be a weekly one.  It can maybe be every other week, or monthly.


B. Plan according to target audience

1. In addition to planning programs to meet each purpose, plan programs to reach each target group.


2. Have a plan for how you intend to move people into higher levels of commitment.  How will you get lost youth to church?  How will you get the attenders to become active members?  How will you move members into ministry?


3. Note that this movement does not happen automatically.  You need to plan for it.


Discussion Groups:

·       Discuss the youth programs in your church.  Which of the four purposes are you meeting?  Which are you weak in?  Discuss ways you can improve.

·       Talk about some programs that you could have for youth, or that you already have.  What purpose will each program meet?  What group will it target?


Planning Ideas


In this section we will give ideas of some possible ways to plan your youth ministry.  These are just suggestions, and you will need to adapt them to your own situation.


1. Ministry to the Lost:  Evangelism

A. The goal of this ministry is to bring the lost to salvation and to church


B. Show that evangelism is a high priority

1. Have the attitude that even if evangelism is not easy, you are committed to it.  It is easier to reach out to the healthy than the sick, but it is the sick who are most in need – Matt 9:12-13.


2. Be determined to be a youth ministry what wins the lost.  You may have many disappointments, but make a commitment to not give up.


3. Only encourage ministers to be involved in youth ministry who truly love young people – all young people.  Do not get people who just love good, saved young people.


4. As youth ministers, be examples of evangelism.  Evangelism is not easy for many young people, and they need your good example.  Show them what it means to be a living witness, and how to share the Gospel with people.


C. Challenge students to be witnesses

1. Teach the youth that most of the time lost people are attracted to Christians before they are attracted to Christ.


2. Continually teach about evangelism, and show the young people their responsibility to share the Gospel


3. Teach them how to share the Gospel


4. Give opportunities for youth to be involved in sharing the Gospel


5. Challenge youth to share the Gospel with their friends and bring them to church


D. Develop a program to which young people will feel comfortable bringing unsaved friends.

1. This could be a small group meeting in a home, or, it could be your main youth service (maybe on Sunday afternoon) at the church.  There are other possibilities as well.


2. See the next section, Ministry to the Attenders, for some ideas in how to plan a youth service that young people will invite their unsaved friends to.


E. Develop specific evangelism programs.  Here are a few ideas:

1. Create a "Friendship Evangelism Challenge," where you motivate the youth to share the Gospel with unsaved friends, and invite them to a church program.  At the beginning of the year, have them make a list of five people that they will commit to sharing the Gospel with this year.  For some who are more timid, give them specific steps to follow.  Be sure to keep them accountable through individual follow-up.


2. Have once a month be Evangelism Sunday, where all youth are encouraged to bring an unsaved friend.  Focus that service on reaching the lost rather than on ministering to the saved.


3. Organize door-to-door evangelistic outreaches for the youth.


4. Participate with the youth in crusades and other evangelism programs of your church.



2. Ministry to Attenders:  Worship & Evangelism

A. The goal of this ministry is to get attenders to become active members


B. Because some of the attenders will be unsaved, and some saved, this ministry must include elements for both.

You can plan programs for the attenders which fulfill the purposes of worship and evangelism.  Of course, only saved people can truly worship God, and only lost people need to be evangelized.  However, being in an atmosphere of worship can lead lost people to Christ.


C. As mentioned in the last section, this program could be your main youth service at church, or a small group meeting somewhere else.  In this section, we are going to focus on creating a weekly youth service that ministers to attenders.


D. Four goals for the service:

1. A service where unsaved people will come

2. Lead the lost to salvation

3. Lead the saved into worship

4. Encourage attenders to move to the next level of active membership


E. Creating an open door to your church

Your main service can be the door through which young people come to Christ and eventually get involved in your church and youth ministry.  Here are some ideas for creating such an open door.


1. Be positive – show the youth that you care for them and love them.  Do not focus on their bad habits, inappropriate clothing, or things like that.  Remember, you are fulfilling the purposes of evangelism and worship.  Other issues can be handled through discipleship programs.  (However, you do not have to allow youth to be disruptive or disrespectful – there are some rules you will need to enforce).


2. Greet visitors personally and individually and make them feel welcome.  Some visitors do not like being forced to greet the entire group, and to publicly state that they are not saved.  Do not force them to do so.  Encourage your youth who are ministers to be involved in welcoming people.


3. Have fun:  Use music styles that youth enjoy.  Make people laugh.  Create an energetic and enjoyable atmosphere.


4. Involve youth in the ministry as much as possible. 


5. Preach on topics which are important to both the saved and unsaved.  Remember both will be there.  Be very practical.  Do not preach too long.  Unsaved people will get bored.  Show how God's Word can help youth with the problems they face.


F. Worship

1. This is a time of leading people in expressing their love for God through singing and prayer.


2. If possible, allow some of your youth to be the praise and worship leaders.


3. Help people to focus their attention on God.  This is even more important than having music that the young people enjoy.  The goal is to bless God through worshipping Him.


4. Lead people to a point of surrender before the Lord


5. Even though unsaved people cannot truly worship God, they can be aware of His presence, and can be drawn to Him in an atmosphere where others are worshipping.


Class Discussion:

Describe a typical youth service in your church, or in another church where you have been.  How would you compare these services with what we have studied in this section?  Are they effective in attracting visitors to Christ?  How can they be improved?


3. Ministry to Members: Fellowship and Discipleship

A. The goal for this ministry is to move members into ministry


B. Discipleship and fellowship  fit together well.  Discipleship is most fruitful in the atmosphere of caring relationships.


C. You may want to develop more than one program to meet the needs of this group.  Two examples will be given in this section:


D. Small groups designed for discipleship and fellowship

1. There are many advantages for involving young people in small groups.  These include:

a. allow youth to be known by other believers

b. allows youth to participate

c. helps youth to apply truth to their lives

d. help youth to develop accountable relationships


2. Small group values

a. Example:  Small group leaders should be good examples to the youth of how to live the Christian life


b. Confidential – allow young people to share things that will not be repeated to others outside the group


c. Trust – let the small group be a safe place for asking questions and sharing feelings or failures


d. Love – let love be the guiding rule in all things


3. Small group leaders

a. These can be interested ministers in the church, or sometimes even mature youth


b. Spend time with the leaders, encouraging and training them

c. Encourage the leaders to be more than teachers or discussion leaders.  Help them to be true shepherds for the youth in heir group, and to develop caring relationships.


4. Small group details

a. Size – a good size for small groups of youth would be 4-5 people


b. With youth, it may be best to have different groups for boys and girls.


c. Where to meet – they can meet in the homes of church members, or in the church itself, or any other place that is convenient.


5. What if I only have a few young people in the church?

a. Begin with one or two small groups


b. Have an attitude that you are going to grow.  Beginning a small group ministry, even when you are small, prepares you for growth.


6. What to do in the small group

a. Have the leader give a short Bible study, and allow the youth to participate through discussion and asking questions.


b. Have time for fellowship


c. Pray for one another


7. Small Group discipleship and growth

a. The goal of discipleship is to help the youth grow to become more like Jesus


b. Growth includes change – "putting off" old ways of living, and "putting on" the new self.  See Eph 4:22-24


c. Earlier in the course, we discussed helping people to change through grace.


d. Small group leaders who are meeting with youth on a regular basis and developing good relationships with them are in a good position to help them to change some of their bad habits.


e. We mentioned earlier that the main service where you are inviting unbelievers is not the best place to confront harmful habits.  The discipleship relationship that develops through small groups is a much better place.


E. Forming Godly habits – Discipleship

1. Discipleship can be broken into three parts:

a. Relationships with mature believers

b. Teaching – learning biblical truth and how to apply it to life

c. Forming godly habits


2. The first two can be met through small groups and other youth services.


3. Forming godly habits is another important aspect that needs to be considered.


4. Helping students to form godly habits

a. Think about the things you do which are most helpful in your own spiritual walk (Bible study, prayer, fasting, giving, meditating, meeting with other believers, etc…)


b. Make a plan for how you will encourage youth to develop these same habits


c. One idea would be to make use of the small groups.  You could have the group leaders introduce each habit over a period of time, and teach about it.  Then he could ask if anyone would want to commit to developing that habit.  The leader can then keep those who make the commitment accountable.


4. Ministry to Ministers – Fellowship and Evangelism

A. The goal of this ministry is to help your ministers to develop their ministries and to move into leadership


B. Some ideas for developing youth ministers

1. Continually teach about the need for all believers to be ministers.  Teach that, as members of Christ's body, each young person needs to discover the ministry to which God is calling him.


2. Teach and encourage students that God has a ministry for them, and will equip them to fulfill it


3. Help youth to discover their ministries.  You can do this through:

a. Teaching about spiritual gifts


b. Helping the youth to discover what spiritual gifts he may have


c. Asking what type of ministry the youth feels strongly about – what would he like to do


d. What natural abilities does he have that might be useful in a ministry


e. Allow him to try a certain ministry.  He may begin with joining the worship team, and then find out after a few weeks that he is not fit for it.  From there he may join a door-to-door evangelism team, of children's ministry, or drama, or something else.


4. Continue to work with them in developing the ministry


C. Helping youth who are active in ministry to become youth leaders

1. Have a high standard of lifestyle for leaders


2. Expect a lot out of them


3. Choose them carefully based on their spiritual strength moreso than on their natural abilities


4. Allow them to take a leadership role in a ministry for the youth (such as leading worship, evangelism, leading a small group,…)


5. Spend extra time with them, teaching them about how to lead in a Christ-like way


D. Encourage youth ministers to be active in evangelism.


Cell Groups:

Discuss the ideas in this section – ministering to the lost, to attenders, to members, and to ministers.  What do you think of these ideas?  Can you think of some other programs or ministries which could also meet the needs of the youth in your church?  What are some practical things you are going to take with you and put into practice in the coming weeks?



The Journey to Maturity


1. Maturity is the Goal

As ministers to young people, it is your goal to bring them to a level of maturity.  You want to see them enter their adult lives as fully devoted followers of Jesus.


2. Maturity is a Process

Maturity cannot be gained through a single event.  You cannot lay your hands on someone so that they become mature.  Attending a seminar or conference cannot make someone mature.  It is a process that will continue until we are in heaven.



3. Maturity Takes Time

We know that a baby does not become physically mature in a few weeks or months.  It takes years.  The same is true spiritually.  Growth is little by little.  It is usually so slow that you cannot see it happening.  However, when you compare someone to who they were one or two years ago, you should see a change.


4. Maturity is connection to Jesus

Maturity is not being devoted to a program, a pastor, or a ministry.   It is not even being devoted to being good.  It is being devoted to the person of Jesus (2 Cor 11:3).  The more devoted a person is to Jesus, the more outward change you will see in his life.  However, outward change in itself is not maturity.


5. Persevere!

In light of the above points, know that you must be patient in working with youth.  You may not see the results you would like to see right away.  However, if you persevere, and do not give up on them, you will "reap a harvest if you do not give up." (Gal 6:9).


Prayer Time

As a class spend some time praying together for the youth of this nation, and for the ministers who are dedicated to reaching them with Christ's love.