What are some things that we can do as leaders of students to help them grow spiritually?
Better Bible Study
So many messages in student ministries today are simply watered down. There is no nice way to say this, we often treat middle and high school students like they are little kids. No wonder that when it comes to the difficult, deep questions in life, students often turn to “better sources of authority.” If we want our students to grow deeper in their walk with Christ, we must teach them the Bible in a deep, authoritative way. Helping students to connect the Bible from Genesis through Revelation to the Gospel and to their own lives will change the way they view God and the way they view themselves. Shane Pruitt says this “When we try to make Jesus more palatable than the Bible does, so that He’s “acceptable” to a new generation… we’re not proclaiming the REAL Jesus, who transforms lives. We’re just presenting a false god, conveniently named Jesus. The REAL Jesus doesn’t need a makeover. We do!” So, let’s strive to better serve our students by teaching them what the Bible says and how to live it out!
Community is such a tricky thing to define. Jonathan Merritt says this “We are word-shaped beings who live word-shaped lives within word-shaped communities.” Helping students find community among each other and the larger church is paramount to helping them be successful in their walk with Christ. There can be a temptation to limit community to fun activities or surface level “get to know you” games. We need to push students to be real with each other and with themselves about their struggles to follow Jesus and provided opportunities for mutual encouragement. This starts with building relationships that extend outside of youth group times, honesty and trust is earned. It culminates in creating space for students to really connect and share with each other in small groups settings. If your youth group is just a big gathering and never makes this space it is very hard for community to be created.
This also means that we try and help students integrate into the adult-church, older believers are a treasure-trove of mentorship for young people! We must not be scared to lets students see “big church” as their church, not just youth group. Ultimately students will one day be adults, and if we want them to be connected to a church community, we need to develop those habits now!
A Call To Mission
God has not saved us so that He can just put us on a shelf and collect us and look at us and admire us…He has saved us to use us for His kingdom! Students are just as capable as ambassadors for Christ as adults! If we don’t teach the students that they have a calling in Christ to reach the world while they are students, they certainly will not understand that calling when they are adults. This doesn’t just means service projects and trips, though those are great, but it means helping students to understand their calling to make disciples of the adults and students around them. Being “on mission” will radically change how a student perceives the world! As leaders of students we need to help make this calling clear, and provide training and opportunities for students to be a light in a dark world!
If you desire to grow in your leadership one of the ways you can do that is through our Youth Ministry degree program at Calvary Chapel University. In the Youth Ministry Degree we offer a fully online university to encourage you in your ministry calling by allowing you to pursue ministry while attending a Christian college to study youth ministry. For more information visit CalvaryChapelUniversity.edu