What’s The Best Approach To Growing Disciples?

Courtesy of Dreamstime

I like to think of myself as a storyteller when it comes to my youth ministry style.  There is nothing better than sharing with students the story of my life and how it’s been transformed by Jesus Christ.  I like to think of it as my strength, sharing truth and vision.  But, I know that’s not necessarily the identity of our ministry.  Our ministry has impacted teens through small groups, mission trips and one on one encounters.
So, does that mean you should do what I do?  Not really and that’s because each ministry was destined to be different.  But, there’s a pressure to reach out to teens in this way and that.  We can feel pulled to a certain style of ministry because it’s what we see successful in another or the church pressures you to be one style or the other.  So, which approach is best?  Is it:

  • Experiential – It’s through mission trips and memorable events that you bring teens to Christ.  Your ministry is driven by reaching out to the community.  It’s about creating experiences that are not only memorable but impressionable for the teenagers.  These moments will link them to Christ forever.
  • Informational – It’s about knowing the Gospel, sharing the Truth and equipping others with God’s wisdom.  Whether you initiate God’s word through storytelling or lesson plans, you know it’s the key to growing disciples and growing His church.
  • Relational – Connect every teen to a God loving adult and surround them with accountable peers.  You saw Christ as relational and that’s what you want for your ministry.  Ratios (Click here to read about healthy ministry ratios) are what really matter because the more attention one can get, the more likely they are to grow in their faith when they graduate high school.

Now, you might want to push back and ask, “Chris, can’t we be all these things?”and you can; however, if you want to be effective and make the greatest impact you need to embrace the one that is your strength.  If you focus on that strength it doesn’t mean not doing the others, it means using the other styles to support your main purpose.  If you are relational ministry you can use experiences to grow that relationship.  If you are an informational ministry you can use relationships to sharpen one another’s knowledge of God’s word.

What’s your ministry identity?  Is there one not listed?

Do you agree that you can only have one identity?