“Bueller… Bueller… Bueller…”
Have you ever passionately delivered a message to your youth only to discover they just weren’t listening? Sometimes youth ministry can feel like the scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off where the teacher repeatedly calls out “Bueller” to no avail. This has happened within my own youth ministry on several occasions. I’ll go up in front of all my teenagers, excited to share from God’s Word, only to find out later that the students cannot remember a single thing I told them. It can be pretty discouraging to feel like your students aren’t “getting it.”
Try This! ❯
Do your adult leaders understand disciple multiplication? Are they committed to it? Take time to encourage them in this area this week.
Disconnected students can cause any youth leader to question his or her ability to lead. So how do you begin to change the climate and turn the ship? Through prayer and disciple multiplication—which is why one of the key tactics for developing a Gospel Advancing ministry involves focusing on the right kinds of strategies for disciple multiplication.
Here are five insights to help with your disciple multiplication strategy.
1. Understand your role.
Your goal as a youth leader is disciple multiplication. To fulfill this goal, your ministry needs to grow in size and influence. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t mean you’re solely responsible for personally inviting every student who comes into youth ministry. Instead, your greatest priority as a youth leader is to equip your teenagers and leaders to be more than followers. You need to help them become disciples who make disciples. Remember, Gospel Advancement involves multiplication, not just addition.
2. Develop a core group.
Trying to invest in every student and leader is just not possible. Even if you’re a high-capacity leader, there will come a time within every ministry where there are too many teenagers and adults to individually disciple. But that’s a good problem to have, especially if you handle it with wisdom! Instead of trying to disciple every student and leader, you want to find the right leaders to multiply your influence.
3. Choose your leaders wisely.
Developing a core group is kind of like Jesus picking out His 12 apostles. These are the group of people you’ll be spending the bulk of your time with, so select them prayerfully and carefully. Look for students who are passionate about the Gospel and reaching others for Christ. Find leaders who care about teenagers and want to make long-lasting investments (for more, check out 3 Questions Every Leader Needs to Ask and Answer). As you wrestle with whom to choose, invite God into the conversation and ask Him to guide you or send someone to you. After all, your disciple multiplication is the very work He’s called His church to be a part of, so you know He wants you to succeed!Disciple multiplication is the very work God has called His church to. He wants you to succeed! Click To Tweet
4. Make investments.
Once you’ve selected your core group, start investing in your team by spending time together. Building relationships helps your students hear the heart of your message and buy into it. It also helps keep everyone accountable to THE Cause. As you inspire them to live sold-out, Gospel Advancing lives, they’ll begin to inspire you and the others around them.
5. Keep it simple.
Don’t overwhelm your teenagers and adults (especially your student leaders) with ever-changing strategies and goals. It’s good to have a bold vision and specific goals (Power of Leadership & Bold Vision), but you want to keep the message simple. Teach your adult and student leaders the 7 Values of a Gospel Advancing ministry. If you need help, download free copies of Gospelize Your Youth Ministry and read through it together, using the discussion questions at the end of each chapter to work out how to apply the principles to your own ministry setting.
Understanding your role, choosing and developing a core group, making investments, and keeping it simple are all key mechanisms to building a disciple multiplication strategy. Whether you lead a large youth ministry with hundreds of teenagers or a smaller group, realize that developing a Gospel Advancing ministry takes time—and that’s a good thing. We aren’t trying to create a fad; we’re trying to make lifelong disciples who are committed to making more disciples through the love of Jesus Christ.