HSM PowellI've known Mark Artrip (the youth pastor at Powell) since I was in junior high. (We called him Elton John then... he was hilarious even back then.) Mark is a graduate of the National Institute (CE's youth ministry program through Grace College), an Operation Barnabas alum, has been an Operation Barnabas leader, and continues to be more and more involved with Momentum. In other words, he's had tons of training and experiences through CE National.
Last night we had the chance to speak at HSM (High School Ministry) at Powell. It's only their 2nd week back, so they are in their 4 part "Vision" series: worship, grow, serve, outreach. We spoke on, you guessed it, grow. It was a blast. We tied in 2 Peter 3.18, Ephesians 4.11-14, and Acts 2.42 to the concept of discipleship within the body of Christ. We challenged the students to quit being babies in Jesus and take the necessary steps to grow up.
The sweetest part of the night was what happened AFTER the "planned" part of the evening was over:
1- Students had the opportunity to join Grace Groups (small groups that meet in homes once a week). I bet we saw at least 20 students make their way to adults to get connected to a Grace Group. (there are already 62 kids involved)
2- Student leaders are seriously ministry minded. I was chatting with a few of them and after a few minutes they said 'Well we need to go connect with some new people.' and off they went. Those kids have ownership of their group.
3- A couple of people shared the gospel with a girl. She's getting together with Kristin, Mark's wife, later this week. Love it.
There is some incredible stuff going on at that church. And in a big way I believe it's because adults are passionate about the discipleship that goes on during Grace groups. Scripture is studied, accountability happens, relationships are built, leaders are developed, evangelism happens, all within these groups. Students are taking ownership of their faith and of their youth group.
Discipleship is not one size fits all. But maybe small groups would be a great catalyst at your church. They certainly have been in Powell.