Gorebridge Parish Church has a discipleship strategy in place in their youth ministry: Here’s the difference it’s making

Year 1 Student, Josh (left); Steven (centre-left); Year 1 student Abigail (centre-right); Reign alumni Joel (right).

“Life wasn’t good, we’ll just leave it at that…”

Steven, from Gorebridge, Scotland, was describing his life before he came to Christ early last year.  It sounded raw, so I didn’t ask for more, but as our conversation continued a few more details spilled out.  “Before I came to church I felt very alone,” said Steven.  He had suffered the loss of his Dad in 2016 and described how since then he was burdened with heavy questions of death and the meaning of life.  Although Steven accepted that there had to be a higher being that created us, he didn’t understand why this being, or God, if you like, hated him and was making things so hard for him.

Our students, Josh and Abigail had all attended high school with Steven but now it was a few months on.  Josh described how they had been friends but leaving school brought a lot of changes for everyone.  “I missed Steven after high school,” said Josh. When Josh and Abigail’s youth minister, Joel challenged them to start praying about who they could invite to the Alpha Course, Steven’s name kept coming to mind.

Steven accepted their invitation.  “I got messages inviting me for free food and good company,” laughed Steven, “They had me at free food.”

Steven was nervous, but liked the Alpha Course right from the beginning.  “At Alpha you get to discuss things that I don’t usually talk about.”  Steven dialogued with Josh, Abigail and others in their discussion group and God was working powerfully in his life.  “I got to ask my questions and as it went on I found out that God isn’t there to attack me and make life difficult.  He’s actually there to be with me and walk with me through difficult things,” he said.

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During one evening on the course things were hard to process and he was trying to make sense of the God who was being presented to him.  “I went to the back and Josh prayed for me about all the things that didn’t make sense.” Steven experienced God in a powerful way and from that night on surrendered  his life to Christ.

Abigail and Josh are estatic about how God has worked in their friend’s life.  They both had felt specific prompting from God to reconnect with and care for Steven, and now they are helping him grow in his new faith.  “He’s done like 250 Bible reading plans on the Bible App,” said Abigail, obviously excited about Steven’s passion to know the God of the Bible.

Our graduate, Joel, who leads the youth ministry at Gorebridge Parish talked about the discipleship phenomenon.  “I had very little to do with it.  I just invested in others who invested in Abigail and Josh, who are now investing in Steven.”

This is the discipleship phenomenon.  Believers being brought to maturity through intentional mentoring and being equipped to go out and do the same.  When a discipleship strategy is in place in a church, changed lives is a natural outcome.


jstevens

Joy has 20 years youth ministry experience and serves as the Development Director for Reign Ministries.

Categories: Volunteer Training, Youth Ministry Degree Course

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