Sermon series, camps, devotionals, and information. I think we all can agree on how important these things are when it comes to planning out certain things in our ministries. Sermon series on the weekends or midweek, camp themes and speakers, small group curriculum and devotionals that go along with it. There is just a ton of information that needs to get to our students and it's important for us to get it to them. In a sense, it's part of our job to create this for our students. But not only thinking about just getting it to them, it's how we are getting it to them.
When it comes to our sermon series, camp themes and curriculum, we need to realize information does not lead to transformation. We need to be intentional and prayerful. I thought a lot of what we do as youth workers and how we are passionate about getting information about certain things to students. As we do we need to know not all students are at the same place. Some are more mature than others. Some or ready to go deeper. Some are not. I was just thinking a ton about the discipleship process and the journey we as pastors take our students on. This is not an exhaustive list, but just some thoughts as I was talking to my team about our fall planning meeting we have coming up and the launch of our small groups system:
- I don't need to be the one to give them all of the information.
- I do not need to give all the info in one sitting.
- Take students on a journey. Start them off and then through a series think about where you want them to land.
- My job is to set up our leaders so they can facilitate discussion with their groups of students. Even though I'm the one speaking to them, their leaders will be following up with them and doing the follow-up conversations. Set them up well.
- I want students to know that being honest with God is okay. Make it clear to them because some of them don't know that's okay.
- I want them to know that not having a mountaintop experience... is okay. Depending on where they are in their faith journey, it will happen sometimes and sometimes it won't.
- I don't want them to feel in love with an experience but I want them to fall in love with God.
- Silence is okay sometimes. Don't fight it. Sometime what comes up in the silence are not distractions, but the very things God wants to deal with in your life.
- There is a difference between a retreat and an escape. Many students look at a retreat as an escape of what is going on at home and they need to get away from it and "recharge". A retreat is to retreat to God, not escape from home.
- Sermons and topics should be guided and intentional. Am I doing it because I think it's cool? Or am I doing it because I really think this activity or lesson will cause great conversations later with leaders?
- Don't Let a "cool" theme run the camp or service. Am I doing this because I think it's cool? Or have I really thought about it and prayed about how this is best for my students and their faith journey while they are listening to me teach or go through a camp I put on?
Anyways, my hope in sharing my thoughts on this would be you would get to thinking about how you go about discipleship as well. Are you just spouting out information or are you really being intentional with how and why you are doing the series you are doing, the theme of camp you are doing, the devotional you are doing? Whatever it is, I'm sure it's great and I would love to hear about what exciting things you have planned coming up.
Fell free to share below what you are most excited about in ministry right now when it comes to discipleship.