10 Ways Student Pastors Can Kick-Start Disciple Making in Their Student Ministry (Part 1)

10 Ways Student Pastors Can Kick-Start Disciple Making in Their Student Ministry (Part 1)

Growing up in a neighborhood called East Park in Tuscaloosa, AL, I hung out with a group of close friends almost every day. One of my friends had a basketball goal, another friend had video games, another an awesome backyard, but Tommy had a motorcycle. He was the only one, so we wore it out! I can remember wrecking Tommy’s Honda in my front yard, which sent me flying into barrel rolls across our grass.

One thing I’ll never forget about Tommy’s motorcycle was how hard it was to kick-start. Only a few of us could do it, so if anybody else wanted to ride, we had to do it for them. Kick-starting a disciple making movement in your student ministry can feel just as impossible. You don’t have to wait for somebody to do this for you, though; you can be the one to help get those motorcycles started!

I believe that there are 10 ways that every Student Pastor can kick-start a disciple making movement in their student ministry.

#1 Make Disciples Yourself

The number one way for every Student Pastor to kick-start disciple making in their own student ministry is by making disciples themselves. Many student pastors may start down the road of encouraging disciple making because they’ve heard its trendy or even biblical, but their movement does not last because they weren’t personally committed to the process, themselves. Instead of starting something by telling everyone else to do it, I first recommend you begin a D-group yourself.

If you are feeling the call to start a D-group, the first step is to study what the Bible says about making disciples. Yes, you can read the books written by others, but as someone who wants to encourage your students to hear from Holy Spirit, you want to model it by hearing from the Holy Spirit before all others. If your disciple-making ministry is based only off of books that you’ve read, it runs the risk of being about following a trend;  hearing about disciple making from God in His Word is about following Jesus. Trendy disciple making will lose its “cool” factor the second it becomes challenging, but it will always continue if you’re called.

After personally studying disciple making from the Scriptures, then it is helpful to read from top disciple makers like Robby Gallaty in books like Rediscovering Discipleship and Growing Up. Books like these will help you put a strategy behind your theology.

Once you’ve done your study on disciple making, I encourage you to pray about the 2-3 students God is calling you to disciple. You can’t disciple everyone (that’s called preaching), and you can’t disciple twelve (that’s called small groups). But be like Jesus, who poured His life into His three: Peter, James, and John.

God will reveal to you whom He wants you to disciple. It won’t always be the super-spiritual students, and it won’t always be the students who need the most help. The best place to start is with the FAT kids: Faithful, Available, and Teachable. These are the kind of students you want to disciple because they will be the ones who continue to process of disciple making with you.

Once you have discerned whom God gave you to disciple, then pick a time and a place every week. I love to disciple my guys on Mondays at 6am at Starbucks. At 6AM on Mondays, there is nothing else to get in your way!

When you start a disciple-making movement in your student ministry by first making disciples yourself, it gives you time work out the process. As you’re discipling students, you have to answer your own questions, work out your own issues, and strategize your own method. After you’ve discipled for about a year, you are in the beginning stages of being ready to launch and lead a disciple-making movement in your own student ministry.

Check back next week for the second step in growing a disciple-making movement right where you are.

All Posts in this Series

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

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Chip Dean is the Global Student Pastor at Liberty Baptist which is a multi-site church in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. Chip has also served as Student Pastor at FBC Woodstock, and he graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity Degree in their Billy Graham School of church growth, evangelism, and missions. Chip's vision is to send out Gospel-centered, relational students who make disciples that are on mission with Jesus.
  • Good stuff Chip. I’d love to catch up with you sometime on how God is using D-Life in student discipleship. D-Life has come a long way since I meet with you guys at Woodstock. This year our church has multiplied to 120 D-Groups meeting all around NE Birmingham. Last Sunday we baptized a senior in high school who was led to Christ though one of our D-Groups. In many of our groups we are engaging students in discipleship before they are saved, leading them to Christ, and continuing to disciple them organically through the D-Group. We recently started D-Life on the Wallace State University Campus through their BSU. Let’s catch up sometime soon.

  • Yes! I began these personal D-Groups in 2003. Many YP’s/Missionaries/Worship Leaders have grown out of those. You can’t expect your leaders to do things that you are not willing to do. Nice. Dustin

  • Chip Dean

    You’re exactly right, Dustin. I’m thankful for pastors like you who have faithfully followed the command of Jesus to make disciples! Let me know if we can ever partner together in ministry, brother!