Jesus’ discipleship approach interwove evangelism and discipleship seamlessly. He didn’t see these two elements of the Christian life as separate, distinct subsets of spiritual formation, but rather as the combined outflow of lives that were sold out to Him and committed to His cause. This wholistic perspective on becoming a fully-devoted, gospel-advancing Jesus follower melded these two aspects together and generated a synergy whose combined effect was exponentially more powerful than the sum of its parts. The book of Acts is evidence of this!
Three Essential Lesson Components
As you seek to seamlessly intertwine evangelism and discipleship together in your ministry efforts, I believe there are three essential keys that every lesson you teach should drill down into: theology, character and cause.
Every lesson, devotion or worship experience you plan should be continually striving to help your teens develop a biblical theology that will serve as the foundation for their view of the triune God and their relationship with Him and with others. Every lesson should incorporate practical, teen-relevant ways to communicate solid biblical truths that help your students develop a biblical worldview.
For free, practical help in doing this, check out Dare 2 Share’s Soul Fuel archive on our website, or for more fully-developed curriculum lessons that fold theology, discipleship and evangelism together, check out Dare 2 Share’s low-cost, downloadable series, Youth Group 2 Go.
The head knowledge acquired through the study of the Scriptures is never intended to lodge in our heads only. The Spirit of God is all about changing our hearts and our lives. That means it’s essential that you help your teens live out their biblical theology in Christlikeness through modeling, mentoring, and mobilizing teens to become “like Him” by living godly lives.
This happens when you consistently provide practical applications for your students in each lesson and then follow-up by holding them accountable. Accountability can happen one-on-one, as you mentor and model Christlikeness, or it can take the form of a designated time in youth group where you allow students to share about their efforts to live out their faith—both the things that worked and the things that didn’t work.
At the core of becoming “like Christ” lies a commitment to His cause. What was Jesus’ cause? He describes it for us in Luke 19:10, when He says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Until your students embrace Jesus’ cause of reaching the lost, they’re missing the essence of what it means to follow Him! Behind each of His powerful miracles, simple parables, gentle touches and scathing rebukes was a heart that beat, burned, and broke for those who were lost.
In other words, discipleship means more than helping teenagers adopt the theology and characteristics of Christ, it includes commitment to His cause as well. Jesus unparalleled passion to rescue the perishing transferred in full force to His disciples. So I encourage you to spend some personal time this week unpacking the following Scripture and wrestling with how to apply them to your life and ministry.
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10).
Now the tax collectors and “sinners” were all gathering to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent (Luke 15: 1-7).
Questions to Consider
- What do these verses say about the centrality of “seeking and saving the lost” in Jesus’ life and ministry?
- How is “seeking and saving the lost” related to your current youth ministry’s discipleship goals and strategies? In light of these verses, what role do you think it should play?
- What’s one thing you can do this month to help your students see how growing deeper in their relationship with God should overflow into having a heart that breaks for the lost?
- What’s one thing you can do this month to encourage your students to personally “seek and save the lost”?
Since the time Jesus walked the earth until now, every great spiritual awakening has reverberated with sound biblical theology, personal holiness, His unchanging cause and PRAYER as its epicenter. Pray that God will breathe His life and power into your ministry as you seek to help your students see their lives through the lens of a biblical worldview (theology), live in a way that brings glory to God (character) and advance His kingdom in their circles of influence (cause).