Much of the work for Covenant Discipleship is in the preparation and launching phases. When properly energized, with quality buy-in from church leadership and participants, Covenant Discipleship Groups of all ages can run continually. What then are some ideas to energize a community and create buy-in for Covenant Discipleship with youth?
Engage in conversation with church leaders, including the Senior Pastor, appropriate members of leadership teams, and any ministry area involving youth. Ask them questions about their vision and dreams for discipleship among youth and younger generations looks like.
- What should a youth experience as a part of our church?
- How does our church currently equip and empower youth as disciples and encourage them to mature in faith?
- Are leaders familiar with Covenant Discipleship? Have they ever been in a group? Are there other local congregations doing covenant discipleship who would be willing to meet and share knowledge from their experience?
Review the Works of Piety and Mercy with a pastor. Which of these is the church already doing? Which of these would a pastor like to see more youth involvement in? Share how having specific actions for youth can translate into them more completely interacting with the rest of the church body in places like worship.
Do a pilot group for a period of 3 months with several youth and leaders from the church. Allowing adult leaders to participate in these groups with youth will build a sense of understanding and potential value to the whole church community.
Talk with parents and other church leaders about how they would define “spiritual maturity” and what they want their youth to be able to do because of their experience in youth ministry at your church. Consider if any answers to these questions could be met by the concepts of “balanced discipleship”
Using the appendix materials in “Everyday Disciples” invite youth leaders to do the “Bento Box Brainstorms” “Idea Table” and “DLC” activities. The ideas and feedback from those activities can serve as a foundation for youth to understand concepts like balanced discipleship and accountability.
- Identify a smaller group of core youth, 4 or 5, who would be willing to pilot a covenant discipleship group for 3-4 months and report back to church leadership about what changed for them in terms of intentional faith development during their time in covenant discipleship.
- Talk with those participants about their willingness to be trained as leaders or guides for other groups, and use them to seed the start of 3-4 other groups. The personal testimonies of youth to other youth will encourage participation.
Calculate the time and money spent on current resourcing for discipleship in youth ministry in your setting. How much do you spend on curriculum? On supplies? How much time is invested in lesson planning? Organizing leadership? Compare those quantities to the time and money spent in the pilot covenant discipleship groups. Will adopting covenant discipleship groups free up time and resources that could be spent in other ways?