Like many pastors and student leaders, I was thankful for the day we decided it was safe to open our doors for student services again. For us, it had been six months since we had met in person. We had created an online experience for students to engage and connect but we desperately wanted to be in front of our students again.
Usually our team would rally together and brainstorm creative ideas and ways we could attract or welcome students back: MAKE IT A BIG DEAL! MAKE IT ATTRACTIVE! MAKE IT OVER THE TOP… all the things most student ministries think about. However, God led our team in a different direction. I felt the Lord saying “create a series, not an event”. Build a series that would point students to the Gospel and empower them to see that their faith wasn’t dependent upon a physical building being open. We wanted to teach them that they are the church.
That birthed a series entitled Beyond a Building. We walked through the book of Acts and pointed them to gospel of Jesus and how the Holy Spirit lives within them and empowers them to be the church. We asked the question, “does your faith live beyond the building”? The result was unlike anything we had ever experienced. As we pointed students to the gospel, we saw that Jesus would bring the growth. We saw 67 students in 15 weeks surrender their lives to Jesus, several students baptized, students growing in their relationship with Jesus, students called to ministry, students inviting their friends, and the list goes on and on. The Lord made it very clear that our focus must always be GOSPEL OVER GROWTH.
What does Gospel over Growth mean? It means that the Lord is truly the only one that can bring growth, both spiritually and physically. Often times the debate is to pick evangelism or discipleship. Do we push students to share the gospel and reach the masses or do we encourage students to dive deep into community and spiritual growth. The concept of Gospel over Growth says the answer is yes. Our goal is to invite students into a growing relationship with Jesus. We do this by evangelism = relationship and discipleship = spiritual growth. To invite students into a growing relationship with Jesus means students are passionate about growing deeper in their understanding of the Gospel but also passionate about sharing the Gospel with others. We feel this is the best measure of success.
If you’re really ready to take the plunge you could consider starting a discipleship group with your kids! The D-Group Starter Guide will help you get things rolling!
Pastors, equip your church members to disciple their kids and develop every other aspect of your discipleship ministry by checking out the Replicate Network.