Disciple Now/Spring Retreat season is upon us in student ministry and summer camp is approaching. Small groups, host homes, long bus rides, caffeinated drinks, meal decisions – these elements keep youth ministers busy in the planning process. These events, as well as student worship services serve as great front door opportunities for new students.
People often ask me how I feel about invitations for student ministry events. After serving as a youth leader, youth pastor, and guest preacher – I have a few observations concerning responses during student ministry worship services.
- The Gospel calls for a response
Upon hearing the Gospel message at Pentecost, those in attendance asked Peter in Acts 2:37 – “what should we do now?” Peter responded by encouraging them to repent and believe. The Gospel is powerful and calls for a response. Whether you offer a public invitation at the end of every message or have leaders available to walk through decisions in small groups, be sure to communicate the call of a response to the Gospel and explain clearly what their next steps should be in sharing their response to surrendering to Jesus.
- Provide multiple opportunities for response
Not all students are going to respond in a worship setting to the Gospel. However, they may be willing to respond in a small group setting or talking to a small group leader. Provide multiple opportunities for students to respond to the Gospel. Train your small group leaders to walk through the Gospel decisions students are working through. Communicate well with students of the opportunities to respond.
- Follow-up on responses
Following up with decisions is critical. In a camp or D-now setting, emotional decisions may happen. Connect with the students and their families that have made decisions to trust in Jesus. Walk through next steps with the student and parents. Offering a class for new believers several times a year can help establish a culture of expectancy for salvations. Set up a visit with the student’s family, which provides an opportunity to share the Gospel with the family and to explain baptism.
Disciple now, retreats, and camps provide a great opportunity to see students surrender their life to Jesus. The Gospel is powerful and effective. Provide opportunities for students to respond to the Gospel call on their lives.