Working with youth kids is one of my favorite ways to serve. When working with youth, we can get so caught up in being their friend that we lose sight of what’s really important, growing them as a disciple. In order to ensure we can effectively grow them as a disciple, we have to make sure we find a balance between fun and developing them to be a disciple.
What is a youth discipleship plan? A youth discipleship plan is a method that consists of multiple steps for your student to take to grow as a disciple. The goal of this plan is to help your youth to work towards becoming a reflection of Christ. A few areas to help them grow in discipleship include: expanding their knowledge of God’s word, deepening their relationship with Christ, growing in spiritual maturity, and discipling others.
If you want to help your youth students develop as disciples then this post will help you create a plan to get them there.
What It Is And Why It’s Important
A youth discipleship plan is a plan that you use to personally develop your students as followers of Christ. This plan usually has multiple steps that start with a student coming to the youth group for the first time and end with them moving into a young adult group or graduating high school.
The ultimate goal of this plan is to not make youth group just an escape for your teens from their daily lives but helps you impact their lives in an incredibly important way.
I remember being the youth kid who was a full-blown EGR (Extra grace required). I never felt fully cared for or like I was worth putting time into, but that all changed when I went to my youth group for the first time. They welcomed me with open arms, challenged me, pursued relationships, and gave me opportunities to be a leader.
To this day I do not know where I would be without my youth leaders because of how much Christ worked in me through them. I say this all not to boast, but to show what your goal as a youth leader should be.
This is why using a youth discipleship plan for your youth group is essential. It helps you to create a step by step plan to ensure you are effectively discipling your youth.
7 Benefits Of A Youth Discipleship Plan
While the main benefit of implementing this plan is to shape your student into becoming an effective disciple of Christ, there are many other benefits that show the importance of developing a personal plan for your youth.
- It helps your students deepen their relationship with Christ
- Your students will discover their identity as defined by Jesus
- Your students will learn crucial skills that will help them to continue to develop a relationship with God into adulthood
- You will help them begin to discover God’s purpose for them
- They will realize that they have a heavenly father
- They will become on fire for God
- Your student will be able to equip others to be disciples.
Now that you know the importance and benefits of creating a youth discipleship plan, here are steps you can take to create a discipleship plan.
5 Steps To Create A Youth Discipleship Plan
Instead of giving you a specific plan to use with your youth I am going to walk you through how to create your own.
Before I get started with the steps I think that it is important to know that each student is unique, so each plan should be tailored specifically to them. This will help them grow at their own place while also working towards their own specific calling.
1) Meet With Your Team
Before developing your plan you must first meet with your team. Meeting with your team will help ensure that you are all united with the common goal of making your students better disciples.
You want to make sure every member is on board and willing to commit to this plan. Though it may be difficult to find a time to do this that works with everyone’s schedules, it is crucial that every leader is there.
When you meet have everyone spend time thinking and praying over what you want each student to leave your ministry looking like. After, spend time discussing your answers as a team, then talk about what tools you need to equip your students with to get there.
Once you know what tools you need to give your students in order to help them look the way your group imagined, combine all of that information to write your goal for the students for that specific year.
Your overall goal should be that the students leave your ministry as a disciple of Christ. You can create specific goals each year that will help you get them there.
2) Layout Your Plan
Once you’ve decided on your goal for your students it’s time to create your discipleship plan.
I’ve created a general overview of steps that are a must for your plan and the order they should occur.
- Reach out: This step is what you do immediately after a student’s first time at your youth group. This step helps your student not only feel like they care but also hooks them in and makes them want to come back. Ideas for this could be a coffee card, candy, handwritten note, or fidget spinner. Try to include a personalized note, so each student feels unique.
- Connect: In order to know where your student is in their relationship with Christ, you have to connect with them. This helps you to also create a relationship with the student so that you have the opportunity to help them grow. Though it is good as the head youth pastor to connect with each student individually you can’t do it all by yourself. Divide this role among the other leaders so that kids can also build relationships with them. Connecting with them can be as simple as a text, friend request, or going out with the student to coffee.
- Teach: This step is absolutely necessary because how can one know about God’s word if they are not taught it. Knowing the Bible is a part of being a disciple because it is our handbook for life. Teaching should be an easier step to add to your plan because you teach sermons weekly, but you can also add extra teaching throughout the week by leading your students in a devotion.
- Grow them: No student will ever be perfect just like us, so we have to allow consistent opportunities for personal growth. If you think that you have done everything you personally can to help a student grow don’t give up. Whether they are going through somethings you’ve never experienced or they are exceeding go to your head pastor for help because no student should be excluded in your plan. Ways to help them grow are: Setting up a mentor system, getting them involved in a life group, and helping them get involved in the church.
- Let them lead: Part of being a disciple is discipling others, and once your student has gone through all the other steps they’re ready to serve. Though your student may not have all the skills of a leader yet, putting your student in a leadership position will help them grow those skills. You can do this by getting them involved in children’s ministry, worship team, greeting team, or on any ministry in your church.
Remember to equip the students with tools to help them become a disciple of Christ.
3) Assess Your Students
Before you implement your plan, you have to first assess your students. Assessing your students will help you see where each individual student is at in their walk with Christ. From there, you a specific plan to help them where needed.
Doing this also helps you come up with sermon topics to help your students, and have an idea of who is already close to reaching your goal for the year.
To assess your students, come up with a personal survey for them to fill out. No youth wants to tell their whole life story to you quite yet, so I would stick with multiple choice or a scale of 1-5 for each question.
4) Put Your Plan Into Action
Now that you’ve gathered everything that’s needed for your plan it’s time to start putting it into action.
First, meet with your leaders again to propose your new development plan for your students. Be open to input. Discuss the importance/ purpose behind each step to your team.
After laying out your plan go over with each member what their role will be so that expectations are clear and no step is forgotten.
Once you’ve done this go over it with your students so they can be aware of all that you are going to do as one body, then apply it.
Good quality youth resources can sometimes be hard to find, so I compiled this list to help you out.
- Cool Carl: is a Christian content creator who has videos and merchandise specifically for youth. He’s hilarious, hip, and Christ-focused. To check him out click here. He also just dropped a devotional that I highly recommend using with your kids.
- Youversion: is a great resource to use in your ministry. It has hundreds of different devotions, and if you add your students you can complete the devotion together as well as communicate in the comment section. To download click here.
- Grow curriculum: is a company that creates and sells resources for youth ministry to help further your students’ knowledge of their heavenly father. Though this resource is not free, you are able to try some of the material for free before purchasing. – click here.
As you go and further your students as disciples remember they are not the future, they’re the present. Be intentional with your students. Show them through your actions and words what it looks like to be a disciple of Christ.