My wife, Michelle, and I have been married for right at two years now. In that two-year time, we’ve had both the best and the worst vacations of our lives. This past spring, we went to Panama City Beach, FL for the one of the best vacations of our lives. Since we’re both from the southeast, we love the Gulf of Mexico, the Gulf’s beaches, and restaurants. The Gulf is like home to us.
Last fall, we decided to do a cheap vacation to Myrtle Beach. We had never been there before, and we had no plan once we got there. We ended up driving long distances for restaurants and shopping, we didn’t get a room on the beach, and the weather was terrible that week. We enjoy our time together, but on this trip we learned that the where of our vacation is important.
In the same way, the where is important in making disciples. Many Student Pastors wonder, “Since I’m working with middle- and high school students, where is the best place to put disciple making groups?”
Do Disciple Making Where the Mission is.
Jesus never told us specifically where to make disciples, but He did tell us “As you go, make disciples” in Matthew 28:19. Jesus was reminding us that disciple making is not a part or compartment of our life, but rather our lifestyle. We have to remember that making disciples is not limited to a group, a meeting, or a session. Disciple making is how our lifestyle and conversations are consistently shaping those around us to follow Jesus with their hearts and lives. Our life itself is a mission, so we must be making disciples all the time on the mission. Take advantage of every conversation, every encounter, and see every appointment as a divine to make disciples “as you go.” Where do we make disciples then? Everywhere!
Where To Do Disciple Making Groups
There are two schools of thought when it comes to where to put student D-Groups. Should we meet publicly for the world to see or privately to enhance intimacy?
I don’t believe there is a bad place to do disciple making groups, but my personal preference is to do them out in public. If the purpose of Jesus’ disciple making was to make missional believers (Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men), then I believe we must make disciples in public places that are also missional.
I meet with a group of guys in a D-Group at 6am at Starbucks. The reason I meet that early with them is because I want to communicate that I’m not making disciples as a pastor, but as a Christian. The reason I meet with them at Starbucks is because I want to communicate the importance of open Bibles, biblical discussions, and shameless prayer in public places. Not only does this give my guys courage in public, but it also is a witness to the public.
Just last week in our D-Group, there was a random college student who had beat us to our regular corner in the coffee shop. We decided to join her (with her permission, of course). Get this: As she studied for her biology exam, we were studying the gruesome and gory details of the animal sacrifices and how they pointed us to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Leviticus 1-7). We may never know what impact that made on her, but I guarantee she heard guys talk about their faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus!
After our session, we also spread throughout Starbucks and pray for one another so that the world can watch and hear.
Other Places to Make Disciples
If you want to make disciples in areas for the purpose of mission, I also suggest school campuses. Your students don’t need to meet before school when they could meet right on their public school campus publicly! If you have groups of students eating lunch together, that is a perfect place and time to meet as a D-Group.
Another place to strategically make disciples is on the church campus before or after a weekly service. This place helps students who might have transportation or scheduling conflicts. Its much easier for a parent to drop off a student an hour before or pick them up an hour after an already scheduled service.
While I believe that public places are the best environments to make disciples, I realize that they are not the only environments we could use. There certainly may be times that you want your D-Group to meet privately in a home every once in a while for more private conversation that encourages confession of sin. A word of caution: Always make sure you have both parental permission as well as multiple people in your group if you are in a home. I would encourage you to never meet with a student alone in their house, and rarely one on one anywhere.
Student Pastors, you can kick-start a disciple-making culture in your student ministry by thinking strategically about “the where” when it comes to D-Group sessions. Make disciples where your mission is.
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