While so many parents and students are focused on the end of school and graduation, as youth pastors, you are focused on summer already. Camp is likely in major final push mode right now, trying to get every student to sign up. Stats show, year after year, that summer camp is one of the most effective tools in the hands of God to either lead a student to Christ or re-focus their relationship back to their faith. Camp is also where many students surrender their lives to full-time service to God. No doubt, summertime is a huge opportunity to win students to Christ through camp, VBS, weekly Bible study, and other activities during the school break.
Of course, a major responsibility is created as soon as a student trusts Christ for the first time, turns their life around and re-focuses on their faith, or decides to surrender to the ministry full-time. The enemy of God will immediately work hard to steal away what the Holy Spirit has done. Non-Christian family and friends can discourage or discredit their decision and quickly cause doubt and confusion. A plan for on-going discipleship for these students is just as crucial as planning events like camp. After all, Jesus called us to make disciples, not just converts. Converting is just about the decision, while discipleship is all about the journey of a relationship with God.
So, what’s your plan for the students who make a decision for Christ this summer? Here’s some questions and thoughts to help you think through the next few months.
Do you have resources to give them? A point-of-decision guide that can get them started right there at camp would be great.
Do you have a plan for you or another leader to meet with them for either one-on-one or small group discipleship? Having a group or small groups ready to begin right after camp would build a great foundation.
How does the student’s family factor into their decision? Supportive or no? This is where the adult volunteers in your student ministry can be crucial to making connections that last. A sense of community and church family are a must.
What about their friends? Supportive or no? Have your core students ready to engage and befriend the students who make decisions. This is an opportunity for them to lead, serve, and disciple too.
Do you have prayer support? Go to your senior adult church members this month and enlist prayer commitments for all your summer activities, as well as for the students who make decisions. Be sure and give them updates. Let them see and hear what their prayers help birth. It’s amazing how a handful of little blue-haired ladies can pray a fringe kid into the Kingdom!
If you have a solid plan for discipleship in place before your summer launch, you and your church will be grateful. And God will be glorified and honored in your efforts to build solid believers for a lifetime.