Last week we attended a conference in Minneapolis that focused on planting churches cross-culturally. Though this is is not what we'll be doing in Costa Rica, there were still several concepts that are applicable to our ministry to the students.
First off, the idea of multiplication. In church planting, there are 3 different kinds of churches. One is where a pastor stays at the church and is eventually replaced when he retires. The second kind is where the church plants another church. The third kind is where the church plants a church, and then the church plants another church that plants another church. See this diagram to get the idea...
For the youth group, the idea of multiplication is in discipleship. If we equip the students to disciple others, and then have the discipled student disciple another student and the discipler another; an unstoppable force is created where students are maturing in Christ!
The second application from the conference was the "3 Greats": The Great Mission (glorifying God); The Great Commandment (love God and love others); and The Great Commission (make disciples of all nations). While these were given in the context of the purpose of church, this is true for all believers. We were created to glorify God, love Him and others, and make disciples. This creates an outline for discipling.
The third application from the conference was in equipping. If you want the above diagram to happen, then it is extremely important that the green oval is ready to pour into the red and then later the yellow. For the youth group, this means that the students who are discipled need to learn how to disciple others instead of just being discipled. This is where the whole "give a man a fish vs. teach a man to fish" comes into play. Obviously teaching a man to fish yield the best long term results! We not only need to equip, but we need to teach how to teach how to equip. We need to teach students how to study God's Word, so that they can dig into it without only gleaning from what parents, Jonathan, or I say. They can study God's Word for themselves and teach others to as well.
Finally, the importance of prayer. Obviously this is important in youth ministry! It is essential that Jonathan, I, the parents, and those who are partners with us in ministry pray for the students. We must pray that they love God, want to glorify Him with their lives, love others, stay true to the Word, and desire to see their peers walk with Christ. We need to pray that they would mature in Christ.
Please, please, please be praying for the students!
The ideas in this post are from Craig Ott and Gene Wilson's book, Global Church Planting: Biblical Principles and Best Practices for Multiplication