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student ministry, youth ministry, youth worker

Application. Application. Application.

By Doug Franklin June 28, 2010

We all want students to make applications. We don’t want them to just read the word of God, we want them to read it and apply it to their lives because we know that’s when life change happens. So how do we help students make good applications? Try using these 2 ideas next time your helping a student in this area.

1. Be specific. If a application is specific, students are more likely to do it and more growth will transpire in their lives. When an application is general or vague, the student is less likely to do it being uncertain of where and when to start.  Specific applications can answer these following questions: who? what? when? how? and who will keep me accountable? A student that makes an application that meets this criteria will always know whether or not they’ve accomplished it.  Better yet, they’ll know if they’ve grown.  It’s the difference between saying, “I think I’m trusting God more” and “I trusted God more this week.”

2. Don’t take over. Students will often struggle to make measurable goals or applications.  However, if we set the application for the student, the student has less ownership and is less likely to accomplish it.  If your student is stuck or struggling, ask questions that prod their thinking.  Gently guide your student, but don’t give away answers.  This process alone will help your student grow as they take ownership for their own growth and spiritual walk.

Example: One of the things that stood out to Jordan after reading in Nehemiah was how strong his relationship with God was.  Jordan wants this as well.  She wants to feel his presence in her life, and have a desire to read the Bible.   In order to turn her observation into an application, here’s some questions that might help, along with some typical responses that a student might give.

What do you think you can do, even this week, to begin to grow your relationship with God?  I can read the Bible

When do you want to read the Bible this week?  How about, before school.

How many times do you want to get up early to do this?  Two times?

What days? Monday and Thursday.

Where do you plan on going to do this?  I’ll go to Starbucks, that way I can’t fall asleep.

Can I keep you accountable and ask you next week if you did this?  Yes.

This may seems tedious, but next week, you and Jordan will both know if you guys are moving forward and if Jordan is growing. Isn’t that why you began investing in students?  If anything is vague, its easy to put it off.  If Jordan just decided to get up early on two days, without naming days, she might put the application off all week thinking about how tired she is and that tomorrow is another day. Also, if you remember to ask her next week, she’ll really know that you care and value her spiritual growth.

About the Author

Doug Franklin

Doug Franklin is the president of LeaderTreks, an innovative leadership development organization focusing on students and youth workers. Doug and his wife, Angie, live in West Chicago, Illinois. They don’t have any kids, but they have 2 dogs that think they are children. Diesel and Penelope are Weimaraners  who never leave their side. Doug grew up in…  Read More