Helping students develop a desire to grow on their own is an important part of the discipleship process. Too often, youth ministries primarily encourage attendance at programs, which sets students up for a spiritual drift after graduation if they can’t find a “program” to attend. Here are a few ways to help students develop their own relationship with Christ.

Give them a book you’ve read.
Think about the books that shaped you as a teenager and find the equivalent today. Tell students the story of why this book was important to you and your faith and encourage them to take steps down that journey as well.

HINT: Avoid the temptation to assume the same book is perfect for each student. If you can say, “I picked this out just for you…” it will make reading the book much more compelling.

Issue a challenge that’s out of their comfort zone.
Owning your faith usually takes root when a student rises to a challenge. Want to see someone grow? Push them to participate in a missions trip a long way from home. Watch them grow raising the funds to participate, and enjoy a front row seat to the refining process as they get to push past their breaking point into a moment of deep spiritual cementing.

HINT: Again, a personalized challenge is stronger than a generic one. Seeing a pattern, here?

Read something alongside them and meet occasionally to discuss.
You gave one of your core students a prayer journal? Did you share a 1-Minute Bible with them? Read a copy of it yourself at the same time, and meet up a couple times to check in and discuss what you’ve been learning.

Equip your small group leaders.
Last year we did “grow on the go” tubs filled with a few resources for leaders to give out to their students along the way. A push for a devotional during a message is great, but a personal nudge and gift of a devotional from a small group leader is the best.

Live it out yourself.
If you want to help your students grow on THEIR own, model it to them yourself. So much is caught rather than taught, so frequently do personal “check ups” in your own life to make sure you’re growing, too.

How are you helping students grow on their own right now?

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

I was just recommending this book to another youth worker last week – and noticed the $30 is on sale this week for $7.99. Great deal, great resource!

Youth Leader Training on the Go is an easy way to train leaders and multiply your ministry’s effectiveness. Best of all, teenagers will grow deeper in their faith because you’ve invested in your volunteers.

Encourage your volunteers to:

  • Connect with God and build faith in every area of teenagers’ lives
  • Understand teenage culture for effective outreach
  • Discover practical, helpful ideas for ministering to teenagers
  • Work with parents to help their teenagers grow in faith
  • Find balance between ministry and personal life

This resource contains 52 training sessions for youth leaders. Encourage busy volunteers with these practical leadership tips. Everything you need for at least a full year’s worth of leadership training!

JG



Congrats to Shawn Shoup on winning FLIPPED in Day 1′s giveaway and congrats to Tony B on wining a copy of LABELS from Simply Youth Ministry on Day 2. Want to get in on the winner? Leave a comment on this post and you could win Mission Trips from Start to Finish. Thanks for helping MTDB have over 15,000 comments!

JG

PS: There’s still time to get 15% off most all of Simply Youth Ministry resources using promo code: THEBIG15

Simply Youth Ministry is running some great bundle sales this week in honor of one of their staff getting married. Congrats, Veronica!

Check out my recommended youth ministry resources page as well if you’re looking for some other suggestions, too.

JG