In the Fall of 1995, Hot Hearts was a growing movement of youth rallies throughout Texas and Arkansas, led by networks of local youth pastors, all committed to seeing students come to Christ. A group of these leaders called us at Student Discipleship and asked to meet. Billy Beacham, the founder and President of SDM, and I gladly agreed. They were looking toward the next year of conferences, expecting thousands of students to attend, and then also, hundreds of students to make decisions to trust Christ for the first time, to recommit their lives to Him after falling away for a time, or to surrender to ministry. They wanted a counseling and follow-up piece that was more youth savvy than current available resources and targeted toward these three decisions. But they wanted a very unique spin on the usual counseling pamphlet—something the student could take home and use to begin to grow in their relationship with Christ. We wrote down all their ideas and agreed to produce this resource, seeing the need for this in many ways.
By the first Hot Hearts conference in January of 1996, LifeChange was released. Born out of the expressed need of youth pastors, this 48-page booklet has now sold over 1.1 million copies and been used all over the world by most evangelical denominations. Continually updated and re-designed, this booklet is used weekly to walk students—and adults—through their commitments at the point of decision, as well as support their discipleship within that crucial first month.
Here’s how it works . . . Whether the person is led through the book by another Christian or is handed the book and uses the instructions, their decision is identified and then they walk through the Q&A pages to better understand their commitment. Then the person has 4 weeks of daily quiet time devotions and 4 self-taught Bible studies dealing with family, friends, doubt, and lifestyle changes. LifeChange also touches on baptism, accountability, addiction, and local church involvement. Plus it’s loaded with Scripture—all this inside 48 pages of full color. Each booklet includes a decision card for the church or ministry to get necessary info on the person making the decision.
Many churches, across denominational lines, use LifeChange as their go-to resource for anyone pre-teen and above making a decision in their ministries. While the booklet has clear instructions and is easy-to-use, it is best if someone is following up and checking on those who have made decisions for both connection and accountability.
If you’re looking for a cornerstone piece to help the disciples placed in your care get started on a strong relationship with Christ, LifeChange provides exactly that for the first month of their walk with Christ or re-engagement into a Christian lifestyle.
Next month, we’ll talk about and introduce the second phase in discipling new believers and an exciting new resource that can become an on-going ministry in your church. Until then, let your life be about changing lives through the power of Christ!