YMX Article: Top Five Ways to Grow Your Student Ministry

One of the values over at YMX is to give “the little guys” in youth ministry an opportunity to get their writings and ideas out in front of our ministry peers. It’s a cool concept, and some well-done articles have shown up.

Last night, I read Top Five Ways to Grow Your Student Ministry by Todd Briener. And below are the comments I left in the YMX Forum thread devoted to discussion of this article.

I wrote: As has been said, pretty basic list. I wondered, though, if any of them would actually either “grow” students spiritually or “grow” a student ministry in depth or numbers (which aren’t so important to me except that I want to see as many reached as possible… doesn’t matter if your ministry reaches them or mine does… depth is the key).

So, since my focus is on depth, I think my list might look more like:

1. You can’t give what you don’t have – church leaders, parents and adults need to be “caught in the act” of being disciples. Students of all ages need to see more mature followers of Jesus learning/following the Apostle’s teaching, engaging in the fellowship of believers, the breaking of bread and the prayers, as well as living a life that seeks to fulfill the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.

2. Abide – teaching students by Word and action what it means to abide in Christ. To teach that joy doesn’t always mean happy, successful and prosperous in worldly terms, and that every challenge is a blessing in the same way as every good thing is a blessing.

3. The future is now – young people are full members of the church now… they are not the church of the future. Students need to be equipped to serve, be served, lead, be led, receive, be received, bless, be blessed, teach, be taught, pray, be prayed for, trust, be trusted, respect, be respected, love, and be loved… any and every thing a sufficiently mature adult believer would be asked to do or be in the church should be open to sufficiently mature young believers. Maturity in Christ is ageless, it is gained not chronologically but by our commitment/submission to God’s work of transformation in us.

4. Faith is a verb – while salvation is the gift of God in Christ by grace through faith, faith ain’t a noun after that! Faith is the act of believing, it’s the way to live, to make decisions, to welcome people into community, to worship in everything we do, to make good use of the “natural” and “spiritual” God-given gifts… Faith IS the means by which Christians live life.

5. Being prepared ain’t just for Boy Scouts – it was for believers in Jesus Christ first! “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

All of these are based in principles from scripture, especially (but not exclusively) 1 Peter. They aren’t meant as a criticism to Todd’s article, more an expansion. I’m interested in seeing how others might add, subtract, expand the ideas. [end comments]

So, I thought I’d open this up for discussion here as well. Thoughts?

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