Over the next few weeks, I’ve asked several members of our team at The Austin Stone to write about how missional communities integrate with some of their areas of ministry. To start with, my friend (and former intern!) Scott Frazier wrote a series on Student Ministry and Missional Communities. You can find more about our Student Ministry here.
- Student Ministry and Missional Communities
- Student Ministry Gatherings
- Student Ministry and LTGs
- Student Ministry and Third Place
- Student Ministry and Volunteer Missional Communities
Student Ministry and Life Transformation Groups
The most powerful moments in our ministry that I can recall of the past year revolve around students learning to read the Bible, repent of sin, and pray for their lost friends. Many of my high school boys have started to read their Bible on a daily basis for the first time in their life. One even sends me pictures of his journal entries for accountability!
I’ve seen students repent of pornography addiction, cutting, eating disorders, and take steps towards healing through the power of the gospel. We’ve also seen our students pray for their friends, invite them to church and share the gospel with them. Powerful stuff.
If you’ve kept up with Todd’s blog you’ll see that we practice what we call Life Transformation Groups or LTG for short. You can get caught up on the practices of LTG within our church here.
Within the student ministry we instituted a hybrid version of LTG that we call Discipleship Communities or D-Comms for short. We gather age and gender specific groups of 4 to 6 students with 2 student volunteer leaders. It doesn’t always play out that way, but it’s what we’re striving towards.
Just as in our LTG’s we emphasize three components.
- Hear and Obey – we want our students to learn to read the Bible for themselves. We use the REAP method of study which you can read about here (add link). Then we want our students to hold each other accountable to actually living out what they read!
- Repent and Believe – we desire our students to identify their sin, confess and repent of their sin, and be healed of their sin. Then the student volunteer leader aides in a discussion on how the gospel speaks to that sin specifically. Hopefully as time passes our students learn how to speak the gospel to one another without the aide of the volunteer.
- Consider and Pray – we want our students praying for their schools, their clubs/organizations, and individual names of other students within those spheres of influence. Then we want to encourage each other to think through opportunities to share the gospel in those environments.
Another crucial component in teaching our students to live on mission within our d-comms is to utilize the tool from Dave Ferguson called B.L.E.S.S. This gives our students simple and practical ways to live a life on mission.
The acronym stands for:
- Begin with Prayer: Our students are doing this already within their d-comm.
- Listen: We want our students listening to their friends so that they know their story.
- Eat: We want our kids sharing meals with their non-believing friends either in their homes, out with larger groups, or through events.
- Serve: We want our kids thinking and dreaming of ways to serve their friends.
- Story: We want to hold our kids accountable to sharing the story of Jesus with their friends on a regular basis. We have found that this is a simple and reproducible way to teach our students how to live on mission.
The BLESS tool has been incredibly helpful and memorable for our students! How are you helping students be a disciple of Jesus?