10 Ways Student Pastors Can Kick-Start Disciple Making in Their Student Ministry (Part 5)

10 Ways Student Pastors Can Kick-Start Disciple Making in Their Student Ministry (Part 5)

iStock_000083515123_SmallWhen I was growing up, basketball wasn’t just a part of my life, it was my lifestyle. What I loved about it was that you could practice almost everywhere—all you needed was a ball. You didn’t need pads like in football or a bat and a cage like baseball. Practicing basketball was so simple. What I worked on in my driveway made a huge difference during practices. What I worked on during my practices made a huge difference in my games. Everything was integrated with each other.

#5 Structure Your Disciple-Making Sessions Around Daily Devotions.

How To Study Incorrectly

Many disciple makers don’t watch their disciples reproduce because of what they chose to study. It happens all the time. For decades in our churches, “discipleship” simply meant to come back on Wednesday nights and study an elective course with a fill-in-the-blank workbook.

Other disciple makers choose their favorite book by their favorite Christian author or preacher.

The trained Bible college or seminary graduate may try to make disciples by working through a systematic theology textbook.

There is nothing spiritually wrong whatsoever with fill-in-the-blank workbooks, popular Christian books, or even systematic theologies. But the reason these don’t work well when making reproducible disciples is because these type books aren’t the goal of disciple making.

The goal of disciple making is to make disciples who can make more disciples who follow Jesus through His Word. Workbooks are short-lived. There will always be trendy, popular Christian books and seminary students may be able to teach from a systematic theology, but every Christian can make disciples from God’s Word using the “Bible, Gospel, Personal” method.

Study the Word When Making Disciples 

What you study will determine what you become. If you major in accounting in college, you will most likely become an accountant. If you want to become an architect, you wouldn’t major in psychology. The same is true for making disciples. If you ultimately want them to become disciples of Jesus who make more disciples of Jesus, then you should study the Bible which is all about Jesus (Luke 24:44).

Make Disciples Around Their Daily Devotions

You are probably wondering where to even begin in the Word when making disciples. Some may begin in Matthew, others may begin in Genesis, while a few might even start in Proverbs.

The bottom line is simple: It is not important where you begin in the Word, so long as what you study is integrated into your disciples’ personal, daily study. 

Like the game of basketball, students will become better at living God’s Word daily when it all ties together. When we integrate daily devotions with a weekly D-Group session, students seem to learn far more because there is a common theme.

Integrate Everything to Maximize Learning

A student pastor’s worst nightmare is for the students to entirely forget what we spent hours preparing—and it’s often a reality! We don’t do our students any favors when we preach something different on Wednesday nights than what we teach them on Sunday mornings. Add on to that different daily devotions and a different lesson during discipleship, and its no wonder they barely remember anything. In fact, if they’re learning four different themes through the week, they may only remember a fourth of it.

What if there was a way to help students remember four times more of what they learn than only a fourth of it? The secret to maximize learning is integration. Repetition really is the key to memory!

In my student ministry, we simply move from series to series through the whole Bible in the seven years we will have each student. We started with Genesis and we will finish in Revelation seven years later.

The secret we’ve found is not only preaching through the whole Bible, but also integrating our small groups on Sunday mornings with what we preached on Wednesday nights. What a student learned on Wednesday night will be their discussion guide for small groups on the next Sunday morning. We write this curriculum weekly so that leaders are facilitating students through discussions of Bible study and personal application on that week’s theme.

Not only do we preach and teach an integrated theme, but we also release daily devotions around that same weekly theme. Lastly, we ask our disciple making groups to discuss the same theme. This is not talking about the same thing over and over, but it is learning the same theme from four different perspectives and learning styles.

Student Pastors, you can kick start a disciple-making culture in your student ministry by using daily devotions in God’s Word and integrating your entire ministry around your weekly passages and theme. 

Check back next week for the sixth 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

Can you do me a favor? If these ideas resonate with you, would you:

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  • RESPOND. Leave a comment on this post.
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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.
  • Matthew Sawyer

    I love this idea and approach. What are some practical helps for a student pastor/ministry that has a curriculum already in place for Sunday morning discussion? For me personally – I don’t know how I could produce a devo and discussion guides each week. I could recruit volunteers and have done some things before but time and resources are limited. Thanks for sharing solid info and helps for creating a discipleship atmosphere for student ministry.

  • Chip Dean

    Hey Matthew! I really appreciate your question, bro. Here is my advice. Find curriculum or an already published material for the “service” during your week that you don’t have enough time for. In other words, if you don’t have time to write Sunday morning curriculum, then buy some. Or if you don’t have time to write a sermon, then invest in some good online sermons for purchase. Then, you can taylor your preaching or teaching during the other time to the resources you’ve bought. You can also integrate daily devotions for your students and disciple making group questions, as well. In other words, do whatever you can to integrate all your doing around the same weekly theme for maximum impact. It may be easier to taylor your study around the material you have to purchase rather than finding material to purchase around what you’re teaching. If you’re looking for free, gospel-centered material, check out http://www.youthgrouptruth.com. I pray this helps!