Youth ministry, student ministry, youth group, youth pastor, student leadership

Raise Up & Shape Up

By Doug Franklin November 4, 2013

We are on the team that is raising up students who will glorify God with their lives. Their parents are the primary faith influence, and we come alongside and reinforce what parents are teaching. In some cases, parents have abandon their role, and we carry the message and training forward for students.

Our goal is to help students navigate the unstable waters of adolescence while learning from their  circumstances about the faithfulness of God. Every part of their lives tells the story of what God is doing in them and through them. We just connect the dots.

While we often think about raising students, teaching them the stories of Scripture, I don’t think we spend enough time on shaping students. By shaping I mean, helping them understand how they are wired and how they are uniquely made to serve God. Scripture refers to this as, “iron sharpening iron” (Proverbs 27). the practical way we live out our lives in our culture and community.

While students know some of the stories in the Bible, they don’t understand what ts has to do with their lives. They separate the Truth of God from their reality. How they act online is totally different from how they act at home or in a church setting. They have not internalized the truth of God and made it their own. Scripture says, “They knew the truth about God but decided not to follow him” (Romans 1).

The shaping process allows students to see the work of God on their own life. By showing them God’s incredible design of themselves, we have a great opportunity to convince them that God loves them beyond belief.

When shaping students I like to use the following resources:

1. Assessments
Leadership assessments and spiritual gift inventories are great tools to help students learn about God’s design on their lives. Students have a favorite subject, and it’s them. Use this predisposition to convince them God only made one of them, and it is good.

2. On-site Training
Mission trips, summer camps, and retreats are great places to shape students. Give them leadership on these events and mentor them through their decisions and actions. You can teach so much on-site, and you will never want to go back to the Sunday school classroom again.

3. Strength Finders
This is a book that comes with an assessment. This tool helps you discover your strengths, things you will always be good at. You can get it at Amazon. It’s well worth the $14.

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