youth ministry, student ministry, discipleship

LeaderTreks Discipleship: The Solution (Part 2)

By Doug Franklin May 3, 2017

Last week we took a hard look at the problem of discipleship. As much as we want to see our students move forward in discipleship, it appears that our present understanding and underlying assumptions about discipleship have fallen short of bearing fruit and producing mature disciples. (Look back at LeaderTreks Discipleship: The Problem (Part 1) to revisit our 7 Misconceptions about Discipleship.)

At LeaderTreks, we define discipleship as multiplication through relationships. Through relationships we make disciples who, in turn, build relationships and make more disciples. Any discipleship strategy, therefore, must explain the inner workings of a discipleship relationship; it must establish a plan for both the discipler and the disciple.

“Any discipleship strategy must explain the inner workings of a discipleship relationship.”

That’s why we wanted to create the LeaderTreks Discipleship Model. The LeaderTreks Discipleship Model articulates a strategy of discipleship by outlining the role of the discipler, the disciple’s experience, and a series of desired outcomes.

The model hinges on the role of a discipler, which describes a series of practical steps for disciple makers. Check it out:

LeaderTreks Discipleship Model, Discipleship, Youth ministry, student ministry

Build Meaningful Relationships

Discipleship cannot take place outside the context of a deep and meaningful relationship. Students want to learn from people who care about them; they want to be discovered and known. The key to discovering a student is asking questions. Begin by asking about their friends at school or their favorite sports team, and then dive into questions that get at students’ hopes, fears, struggles, and dreams. A meaningful relationship is what lays the foundation for continued discipleship.

Share Personal Stories

Our personal stories are one of our greatest tools in the discipleship process. When shared with a student, our bad decisions and past mistakes point to God’s mercy and forgiveness and demonstrate God’s ability to work in and through broken individuals. Our vulnerability encourages students to be vulnerable and opens the door for students to more fully understand and experience God’s grace.

Ask Intentional Questions

Intentional questions get students to think beyond the “right answer” and dive deeper. Transformational discipleship requires that we ask questions like, “Why is that important to you?” or “What would that look like if lived out in your life?” In doing so, we challenge students to seek out out the truth and begin to own their beliefs.

Make Life Applications

As disciple makers, we must ask students to make practical and tangible life applications. Great applications answer the questions “Who? What? Where? When? How?” The application of “I want to love my younger brother more” becomes “I will make a snack for my younger brother when he gets home from school on Wednesday.” Specific and measurable applications give students ways to put their faith into action.

Hold Students Accountable

Accountability provides sharpening to the life and walk of a disciple. By taking the time to debrief students’ applications and ask them about it later on, we can see for ourselves if a lesson made an impact. If the student follows through, we know that transformation is taking place; if they don’t, we have another opportunity to find out why.

The LeaderTreks Discipleship Model is designed to be used a training tool with your adult volunteers. Click here for your free download of the LeaderTreks Discipleship Model and Video, or join us at a Refuel Retreat this fall to learn more.


leadertreks youth ministry discipleship model

Doug Franklin

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 […]

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