Making Disciples Who Make Disciples
As disciples of Jesus, it’s our passion and privilege to follow after Him. And as we do so, He will help us (and our students) grow in Christlikeness and become more and more like Him! Isn’t it amazing that our Triune God has promised to lead, teach and empower us as we seek to serve Him and make disciples who make disciples?!?
That’s the supernatural dynamic that undergirds every youth leader’s prayerful efforts to bring their ministry’s mission and programming into alignment with Jesus’ directive in The Great Commission. Think of it! As we consciously, consistently strive to make disciples who make disciples in the power of His Spirit, we are becoming more and more like Christ, day by day, moment by moment.
Consider these pointed, powerful verses that propel us toward purposeful disciple making:
Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did (1 John 2:6).
…He [Christ] is your example, and you must follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:21).
Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ…(Ephesians 5:1-2).
And you should imitate me [Paul], just as I imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).
What Drove Jesus Should Drive Us
Nurturing His followers toward becoming multiplying disciples was at the core of most everything Jesus did. 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. And His unparalleled passion to rescue the perishing was transferred in full force to His disciples when the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost. The book of Acts is proof of this.
What drove Jesus should drive us: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10). This is true in our own personal lives, but it’s also a central tenant of a Gospel-Advancing youth ministry.
Unless we motivate and mobilize our students to embrace Jesus’ cause and reach their world with the transformative power of His gospel message, they’re actually in danger of missing a core tenant of what it means to be a Jesus follower. They may mistakenly slip into adulthood with the distorted mindset that their life with Jesus is basically a series of random “please-help-me-now-God” and/or “sin management” moments. This mindset is so widespread among our young people that it’s been given a label by researchers: moralistic therapeutic deism. Sadly, this self-absorbed view of faith emasculates teenagers’ walk with God, and reduces their faith to something they may (or may not) bother to pull off the dusty shelf when they’re feeling a need for divine intervention or some “4-steps-to-a-better-life” advice.
That’s why it’s SO critical that we actually “deploy” our young people on their God-given mission while they’re under our spiritual care. We must do all we can to help them learn to live out their mission of reaching their social networks and schools with the message of the gospel. When we empower and unleash them to make disciples who make disciples—it will, in turn, nurture their spiritual growth and give depth and purpose to their relationship with Jesus!
Customize Your Plan
So how do you deploy your students for THE Cause of Christ? It looks different in different circumstances, depending on your adult volunteers, student leaders, students and their school situations. It will involve prayer, outreach and gospel presentations in your youth group meetings. It will require equipping and mentoring your students on how to have serious spiritual conversations (Share 6 can help here!). It may involve creating a story telling culture in your group (check out “Take 5 for THE Cause.”) It will include helping them grow deeper through Bible study, teaching, modeling and just generally doing life together—to name a few of the key components.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach here, but for how-to insights on making disciples who make disciples, I encourage you to download Dare 2 Share’s free e-resource “Building a Deep & Wide Youth Ministry…Help Your Teens Become Disciple Multipliers.” It’s packed and stacked with practical ideas that will help you develop your own plan.
But plan you must. For effective “deployment” doesn’t just happen. As the leader, you’ll need to help your students by coaching them through the strategy, tactics and basic faith-sharing skills they’ll need to reach their friends for Christ and, in turn, become disciple makers, as well.