Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Following Jesus - A Youth Ministry Blog Series on Discipleship

What comes to your mind when you hear the word discipleship?

Bible study? Small groups? Sunday school classes? Mentoring? Confirmation? Programs? People? Jesus?

Discipleship is one of those values that we all know is absolutely critical to youth ministry, yet still remains so elusive and ill-defined. Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples. That's a fairly simple command, but the execution is far from easy. Where do we begin to make disciples? We should probably have a clear idea of our cultural context and the current youth ministry world as we invite students to follow Jesus with us. I'd love to see an online conversation begin between youth workers about what discipleship is, what it isn't, why it is, and how we can better nurture a culture of following Jesus.

I present two questions to begin the conversation:

1. What is discipleship? We can't have a conversation about this without some definitions. The words "disciple" and "discipleship" have numerous baggage attached to them, so some clarity and redeemed definitions are needed.

2. What is the greatest barrier to discipleship in youth ministry? There are a myriad of responses to this question, but I'm curious as to which barrier stands out, either because we may not be aware of it or because the barrier seems too overwhelming to change. I'm also curious as to how knock these barriers down, brick by brick, so the path towards Jesus is a bit more open and unrestricted.

Over the next two weeks, I'll be sharing a few church and youth ministry leaders' response to these two questions. This is a diversity of voices who have offered some honest and insightful answers. But the conversation can't end there.

We need to hear your voice too--your comments, ideas, questions, and retorts. So share them in the comments. Share them on Facebook and Twitter. Write a blog post and send me a link. For those silent readers who are wary about posting comments, this is an invitation from me to you--your voice is especially desired.

Let the conversation begin. Let's figure out how to follow Jesus together.

To see all the posts in this blog series, click on the Following Jesus label.

(Photo credit: Lora Bruton)

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