Do You Have a Plan for Students Who Come to Faith?

new_christians_341241708The most rewarding thing for a student pastor is seeing a student come to faith in Christ. But when a student comes to Christ, that’s only the beginning. Of course, rejoice and celebrate with them, but don’t leave them there. We need to have a plan in place to help students who come to Christ move forward in their new life with Christ.

A few weeks ago one of our students came to faith in Christ on our high school missions trip. It was awesome to see this student, who has been part of our ministry for awhile, finally understand the Gospel and place her faith in Christ as her Savior. My wife and I rejoiced with her. The other students rejoiced with her. It was awesome! But I knew we couldn’t just stop at rejoicing, we had to help her build a foundation and help her get started in her new walk with Christ. As I started brainstorming with my wife I realized we didn’t have a plan. We didn’t have a process that we take students through when they become believers. I realized that if we don’t get a plan in place we will see students who are new to Christianity fall through the cracks and struggle in their new found faith.

I can’t speak as an expert on this because like I just said, we didn’t have a plan in place. We are currently working on one right now and using it to help this student grow in her walk with Christ. However, here are a few thoughts I’d like to share in regards to having a plan in place for students who come to faith while in your ministry. These are things I’m learning along the way.

1. Start the process quickly. Whatever your process is, whether it’s going through a book or getting them plugged into a small group, get things rolling right after the student becomes a believer. Don’t waste anytime!

2. Find a good resource. The process we are working with right now is having an adult leader of the same sex meet with the student one on one to go through a short booklet called First Steps: The Adventure Begins. This booklet is broken down into six short (I mean very short!) chapters that help a student understand what they just did and how they can start growing in their walk with Christ. So we have the adult leader meet with the student six times in a period of two months. Another great resource you may want to look at is New: First Steps for New Christ Followers by Youth Ministry 360. I haven’t looked into this resource too much myself, but my friend Josh Evans wrote a short review of this resource here.

3. Make sure they get plugged into your ministry. If the student is not part of your ministry or maybe only comes a few times a year, make sure they get plugged into what you are doing. Encourage them to become part of the large group and place them in one of your small groups. Becoming a vital part of community is key to their spiritual growth.

What plan do you have in place for students who come to faith in your student ministry? Don’t just make up a plan as you go, put a plan together beforehand so when a student comes to faith you can quickly start helping them grow in their faith.

Recommended Sites for Youth Ministry Curriculum

3pic.001-001In my last post I shared some things I look for in a good youth ministry curriculum. As I mentioned in that post, there is so much youth ministry curriculum that at times it can be overwhelming  for the youth pastor or youth worker who is trying to find the right curriculum for their ministry. I want to make it somewhat easier by pointing you towards a few places that provide what I believe is some of the best youth ministry curriculum on the market right now.

Simply Youth Ministry. Simply Youth is by far the most popular place to get youth ministry curriculum. The thing I love about there curriculum is that they have something for everyone. Whether you’re look for small group curriculum, large group curriculum, Bible studies, devotionals, leadership training, they have it all!

Youth Ministry 360YM 360 has been my favorite place to get youth ministry curriculum over the past few years. I love the stuff that they have created in the past and excited about the stuff they are currently producing. They always create curriculum that is centered on Scripture and practical application. They also create great graphics, videos, and parent resources that go along with many of their studies. Definitely check out their website and see what resources they have that you can use in your ministry.

Word of Life Local Church Ministries. Word of Life has been around for decades and have been creating church resources for all ages. Over the past few years they have really been raising the bar and creating some incredible curriculum for students. They offer a year long curriculum package that you can use in your ministry year around and also shorter curriculum that you can use for a few weeks within your year. Click here to check out what they have to offer on their online store.

There are the three places I tend to go first when I’m looking for good pre-made curriculum. There are countless other websites and places you van get curriculum, but check out what these three sites have to offer. Where do you go when looking for curriculum for your student ministry?

Free Easter Resources for Your Students

Easter_2013_Blog_HubMy friends over at Youth Ministry 360 have just launched another round of free resources, just in time for Easter! They’re giving away three different Easter Bible study lessons, plus a set of 10-day Easter devotions for your students. It’s solid stuff that will help your teenagers prepare their hearts and minds for Easter. Easter is such a powerful time for Christ-followers. These tools will help you lead students to both reflect on and celebrate Christ’s death and resurrection.

I’ve used many of the resources from YM 360 and would highly recommend you check their stuff out, especially the Easter resources since their giving it all away for FREE! All you have to do is click the link below and download the resources that you feel works best for your ministry. Enjoy!

Click here to check out the FREE Easter resources from YM 360!

Partnering With Parents as a Young Student Pastor

When it comes to student ministry, I have a three-part philosophy: Biblical teaching, training leaders, and equipping parents. Biblical teaching is what I do with the students. Training leaders is what I do with my volunteers. Equipping parents is what I do in regards to, well, my students’ parents.

Recently, I was asked about the third part of my philosophy. The question went something like this:

How will you partner with parents when you are a young adult, just married, and without kids of your own?

It was an honest question that many churches, and most parents, will ask a young student pastor. How will you partner with me as a parent and help me when you’re still young and know nothing about parenting yourself? As I thought through that question, I came up with a few ways even young student pastors can partner with parents. Here are a few thoughts on how we can come alongside parents and help them fulfill their God-given job at pointing their children to Christ.

Build a relationship with them. No matter what your age, marital status, or if you have children or not, you can always build a relationship with your students’ parents. Many of the parents of your students only know you through their child. Put yourself out there and get to know them yourself. Invite them over for a meal or hangout with them at one of their child’s sporting events. The first step a young student pastor can take in partnering with parents is simply to build a relationship with them.

Encourage them. After you have built a relationship with them, encourage them. Many parents are exhausted, stressed, and worried about their children. Go out of your way to encourage them. Point out what they are doing well, and see if maybe you could offer any support in areas they are not doing so well. One of the best ways to partner with the parents of your students is to encourage them every chance you get.

Give them resources. The best way you can partner with parents is share with them practical resources that will help them point their child to Christ. Because you’re a student pastor, you have opportunity to get your hands on some great resources for parents. Many parents will never pick up any of these resources themselves, so make it part of your ministry to share the resources with them. There are countless books, websites, and training materials your parents would benefit from if you would just get them into their hands. No matter what your age is, you can always share resources with the parents.

These are just a few of the ways you can partner with parents even if you’re a young student pastor. Don’t let your age keep you back from coming alongside of the parents and helping them. Their children’s spiritual life is at stake; help them point their child towards Christ.

[Question] How do you partner with parents as a young or older student pastor?

Originally this post was a guest post I wrote for the Youth Ministry 360 blog. I would encourage you to check their site out and see some of the awesome resources they offer.

Freebie: A Guide to Writing Bible Study for Teenagers

For today’s freebie, I want to share with you a great resource provided by Youth Ministry 360. Recently, they released a short guide to writing Bible Studies for Teenagers called “The What? The Why? And How? Of Writing Bible Study for Teenagers.” I have already downloaded my a copy and have looked through it briefly. I am hoping to read through it more intently over the next few weeks.

This is a great resource for anyone who works with teenagers.Writing Bible studies can be a hard task, but with proper guidance can be a somewhat easy and enjoyable task. Andy Blanks, co-founder of Youth Ministry 360 says,

When it comes to Bible study curriculum, youth workers fall somewhere on a scale. On one end there are those youth workers who only teach curriculum they’ve purchased. On the other end are those youth workers who write all their own lessons. My experience is that the majority of youth workers fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum. Most youth workers will take a blended approach, incorporating a mixture of both self-written Bible study curriculum and off the shelf curriculum. Because of this, I wanted to pass along some thoughts on crafting your own Bible study lessons.

Andy has done a great job at providing great thoughts on how to develop a good Bible study for teenagers. I encourage anyone who is involved in teaching teenagers to download a copy of this guide and take some time to look through Andy’s thoughts. I am sure they will be of help to you. Click the link below to download the guide FREE!

A Short Guide to Writing Bible Studies for Teenagers