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Effects of Christian Discipleship in the Achievement of Youth Development.

Chukwuemeka Chinedu is an ongoing Student Pastor at Nigeria Baptist Theological Seminary, Ogbomosho, with BSc in Economics.

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Introduction

This article is mainly focused on youths; it covers youths' characteristics, personalities, and relationships. This paper presents the topic: "Effects of Christian Discipleship in the Achievement of Youth Development". This topic will do justice to what is Youth Ministry, vividly explaining the age grades of youth. Essential concepts like Youth Developments, Discipleship, and Christian Education will be discussed. Some programs and processes that bring about youth developments will be enumerated, highlighting their effects.

Some scholars versed in youth ministry, with their definitions and explanations on some concepts, are cited in this material for proper acknowledgement and referential study.

Youth Ministry

Youth ministry is a purposeful program or service set with the appropriate programs to reach out to the youth, empower them and develop them according to the definitive goals and objectives of the youth ministry.

According to Ada and Ethel (1960), youth are grouped into three categories which are:

  1. Early Adolescence (12-14)
  2. Middle adolescence (15-17)
  3. Later Adolescence (18-24)[1]

Early Adolescence (12-14): At the age of 12-14, this group of youths are regarded as Early Adolescence. At this development period, these youths will begin to experience puberty. Both males and females will develop sexual interest and experience physical growth.

Middle Adolescence (15-17): This is the stage when youths experience intense emotions and relationships with their friends or mates. They sometimes seek independence away from their parents and find support from their friends.

Later Adolescence (18-24): At this stage, youths experience more cognitive developments than physical growth; at this stage, there is high self-involvement and independence. Experience in social and emotional changes increases.

Christian youth ministry is, therefore, a voluntary or sacrificial service carried out with the necessary programs and tools and with a discipleship mindset to reach out and empower the youths to be like Jesus Christ.


YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Youth Development is the transforming changes of youths' character and personality in the likeness of Jesus Christ and their potentials for better performance in every aspect of their lives.

Discipleship is, therefore, necessary to bring about Christ-like changes in the course of youth development. As an individual grows, some effect should be associated with his growth. That is why discipleship is necessary with physical, psychological, social, emotional, and spiritual changes.


[1] (Ada and Ethel)

Christian Discipleship

WHAT IS DISCIPLESHIP?

The word discipleship is derived from the word disciple. Christians primarily define this concept as the followers of Jesus Christ that learn and practice his way of life. Apart from Christianity, some religious faiths experience this concept of discipleship, though theirs is not more defined than Christianity. In a general sense, what then is discipleship?

It is a spiritual process, which involves a submissive individual learning his teacher's principles of life and ministry by guidance, teachings, and suitable lessons to make the person being trained to possess the exact nature and character of his master.

Discipleship is mainly spiritual because it affects the person's attitude being trained and mentored; that is why it requires an intimate relationship between the disciple and his teacher. Other physical and intellectual aspects involved in discipleship are hinged on the spiritual element. The dressing style, the feeding technique, the desire to engage in certain activities and others must be from the transformation of one's character and the development of an individual's traits from his master.

The best teacher ever encountered since the world began Jesus Christ. He had disciples, though, in Luke 10, he had 70 disciples appointed for service, and in John 6, the scripture reveals that he had many disciples. However, many of his disciples left because of his teachings, his high standard, and principles of life and ministry. Only twelve disciples were remaining and were considered to be his supposed disciples.

WHAT IS CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP?

According to Kayode Oyedemi, discipleship is a spiritual process of making someone who has received Jesus Christ as the Savior grow in Christ-likeness by following him, learning from him, and trying to embody him.[1] From this definition, the scholar implies that an individual who has received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour will need to grow to be like Jesus Christ. For one to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, he has to keep following the way of his master-Jesus Christ and be learn practically from his teachings. Therefore, from this explanation, Jesus is the actual master of the disciplined person, which can also be regarded as Christian Discipleship.

According to Gbile Akanni: Discipleship is a process whereby a Christian who has voluntarily surrendered himself to the Lord Jesus Christ is being made to become like Jesus Christ by various exposures, activities, and disciplines administered by the leadership and determination of the Lord Himself.[2] According to Gbile Akanni, there are multiple aspects involved in Christian Discipleship, which he mentioned. Gbile's definition of Christian Discipleship implies that every disciple and follower of Jesus Christ needs all these aspects of exposures, activities, and disciplines, which can also be administered in a sound structural teaching-learning system. Therefore, an adequately distributed educational system is essential to implement this wholesome definition of Christian Discipleship.


[1] (Kayode)

[2] (Akanni)

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The Christian Educational Structure

According to Chukwuemeka Ananti Elijah Chinedu (in his article: The Role of the Holy Spirit in Christian Education); defined Christian Education is the teachings and organised structure of knowledge and lessons offered to the student or learner about Jesus Christ and his way of life. It is an education that teaches the relationship that exists with God and the Church to nurture the student or learner to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.[1]

Christian Educational Structure involves various programs and processes needed to make a student or disciple grow and become more like Jesus Christ.

According to Doug Fields: Concerning students, especially youths, a process serves as a spiritual growth map they can follow. By connecting a program to a spot on the process, students can easily see where they are in the youth ministry's strategy for growth.[2]

This explanation of a process that aids an individual in learning and spiritual growth; implies that some learning programs fit for each process must be well implemented for the student.

Christian Educational Programs for Youth Development

Doug Fields has listed and formulated Christian educational programs for empowering, disciplining, and developing youths. They are as follows:

  1. Friendship Evangelism Challenge: This process involves the youth members entering a particular community by exercising their verbal communication with already produced baby steps to engage with their fellow unconverted youths. It is a primary program to reach the community.
  2. Hot-Night Events: This process is one of the best ways to support the friendship evangelism challenge, especially when youths like going to places. Hot-Night Events is the best way to reach out to certain youths that are members of a local church but not committed. Times like new year's eve, homecoming night, Christmas eve and others. These are reasonable periods to perform this process.
  3. Weekend Worship Services: worship services should sometimes be run mainly by youths, and there should be some adult hosts. Worship services should be precise, at most an hour and 30minutes-long. If the church attendance is growing, it can be increased to two or more services.
  4. New Believers Class: This process involves teaching converts or new believers the basics of faith for six months.
  5. Dinner for Ten: The Youth Pastor can organise a process of inviting some uncommitted church members to his house for dinner or to the local Church Pastor's house or any one of his choice.
  6. T.N.T.: Teens and Temptation: This program engages youths struggling with various temptations and helps them overcome such issues with the help of exemplary leaders.
  7. Ministry teams: This is a process that involves members joining different groups. Usually, the number of youth members depends on the group function, and a committed team leader supervises each group. These ministry teams include art, computers, careers, meals for the needy, prayer, singers, missions, drama, band, engineering, photography, cancer support, etc.
  8. Class 101: This new membership class carries out a life-development process for the youths.
  9. Area Bible Study Small Groups: This kind of program is arranged for small groups to meet an individual youth member house and conduct Bible studies. In this way, those who can't attend the particular ministry event can meet in prepared homes for Bible study.
  10. Class 201: This class focuses on teaching students who have graduated from class 101 Christian habits to learn and develop; some necessary disciple tools are offered to these youths to help them grow spiritually.
  11. Discipleship Tools: These are resource materials used to support the discipleship process. They include resource materials like Quiet-Time Journal, S.A.G. Five, Hidden treasures, Rootworks and Bank of Blessings.
  12. Praise and Worship Service: This program is primarily praising and praying unto God. It usually involves committed youths desiring to sing unto God in a fellowship meeting.
  13. Monthly Missions: These are mission projects conducted formally and informally and carried out in a particular community or country.
  14. Bible Institute: This process provides an in-depth educational study of the Bible to develop the spiritual level of the youths as it covers the whole passages of the Bible being studied with an agreed interval period. And sometimes include a study on theology and apologetics.
  15. Class 301: This is the third class that includes youths that have graduated from the second class (Class 101). This class helps the youths to identify their spiritual gifts and talents. It enables the youth to know the ministry called has called them into with their skills.
  16. Ministry Team Leader: This process offers ministry and leadership profiles to individual youths who have completed their Class 301 exercises to fill, thereby allowing them to embark on their ministry or become leaders of various specific team ministries.
  17. Student Leadership: This process confirms the leadership quality of core youth members in exercising their divine gifts and living a godly lifestyle as Christian.
  18. Class 401: This final class reviews all the fundamentals from Class 101, 102 and 301. This class gives youths that have graduated from Class 301 the opportunity with some functional materials to write a life mission statement that will feature their walk with God and confirm their call to fulfil their kingdom mandate for God.


[1] (Ananti)

[2] (Doug, 1998)

Effects of Christian Discipleship in the Achievements of Youths Development

From the processes discussed and the educational programs enumerated, some sound effects of Christian Discipleship can be realised in achieving youth developments among students. Some of these effectual changes are:

  1. By these processes and programs, youths can be more committed to Jesus Christ, tending to know more of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour.
  2. These programs will result in the youths acknowledging the power of the Holy Spirit and being sensitive to the guidance and control of the Holy Spirit.
  3. These programs will result in the youths becoming active and meaningful members of any local church.
  4. The youths will have experience in worship and know how to worship God in reverence and love.
  5. The youths will become more knowledgeable of the Bible and apply scriptural truths in their lives and ministry.
  6. The youths become disciplined in the stewardship of their substances, time, skills, and energy.
  7. The youths will always desire to join other Christian ministries and support world Christian missions.
  8. Christian Discipleship programs will eventually make youths allow their will to align and be subject to the will of God in all their decisions and endeavours.
  9. These programs will build Christian leadership traits and qualities in them, and they will be able to witness their experiences to others about Jesus Christ.
  10. These programs will make the youths less distracted with the world and prioritise the kingdom of God and its mandate concerning their individual lives.

CONCLUSION

The scholar of this material has written the definitions and explanations of youth ministry, youth developments, discipleship, and Christian education. The purpose of youth ministry has been well discussed with the structural programs and processes involved in bringing about youth developments. The effects have been highlighted, and proper understanding of how Christian discipleship can influence and bring about positive results or changes in youth developments.



REFERENCES

Ada, Zimmerman B and Yake M Ethel. The Christian Nature of Youth with Date. Mennonite Publishing House, 1960.

Akanni, Gbile. Raising Agents of Transformation: Discipleship, Disciples and Disciple-Making. Gboko: The Peace House Press, 2013.

Ananti, Chukwuemeka C. The Role of the Holy Spirit in Christian Education. Ogbomoso: Nigeria Baptist Seminary, 2020.

Doug, Fields. Purpose Driven Youth Ministry. Michigan: Zondervan Publishers, 1998.

Kayode, Oyedemi. The Minister's Manual. Ed. Nihinlola Emiola, Akintola O Samuel and Ijaola O Adelokoji. Ibadan: Nigerian Baptist Convention, 2019.

© 2021 Chukwuemeka Chinedu

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