The Homeless Blogger: Kidmin Discipleship

Hello friends. My name is Kenny Conley and I’m the homeless blogger. What does that mean? Well, I have a blog over at childrensministryonline.com (BUT DON’T GO THERE). My blog is very sick with a nasty virus. Since she’s sick and slowly getting better, I don’t have a place to post new articles. I’m at the Kidmin Conference in Chicago and like always, I’ve got something to say… I just don’t have anyplace to say it. So, thanks to some good friends, they’re giving this homeless blogger a couch to sleep on and letting me finish off the carton of ice cream in the freezer.

The Homeless Blogger: Kidmin Discipleship

For the past five months, I’ve been heavily involved in the student ministry at Gateway Church. It’s been a huge learning curve as I’ve cut my teeth on Kidmin over the last 15 years. I’ve been providing a lot of hands on leadership in Middle School and I’ve been leading through others in high school. I love what I’ve been learning, but I’m really excited to hire a student pastor who really knows what he/she is doing. Ha!

So, one thing that I’ve been giving a lot of though to recently is the idea of discipleship. Discipleship… that’s a loaded word, isn’t it? I just want to express some of the things I’ve been thinking about this word and how it relates to kidmin.

First of all, I think that the definition of this word is different for every person that you might ask. I think that’s kind of sad. In my process of interviewing student pastors I’ll often ask them to describe discipleship and it saddens me to hear what some think is discipleship. This is just my opinion, but if I turn to the Gospels, I think we see a pretty clear picture of discipleship. Jesus hung out with 12 guys for three years… and the amount of time he spent with these guys was pretty significant.

So when I hear someone say something like “Our large group teaching style is discipleship in nature,” I want to question them. Even when someone says that they are discipling a student by meeting with him or her once a week for coffee, I question the label.

Again, let’s look at the scriptures for just a second. What if Jesus spent one hour a week with his disciples? Would they have been ready to change the world like they did? Would they have been prepared to die for their faith? Okay, what if he led their small group at church every Sunday and met with them all individually once a week at Starbucks? No, I’m not sure that would have been discipleship.

I have a few leaders in my student ministry who have students or small groups of students at their houses or they meet together for meals 4-5 times a week… sometimes more. Yeah, that’s kind of unrealistic… but I think that’s the clearest picture of discipleship I’ve seen in student ministry. I think a leader could with confidence say, “I’m discipling these young men.”

So, what does this look like in kidmin? My opinion? Let’s call it what it is and not call it what it isn’t. We can have a leader in the life of a child every week, but is it really discipleship? Don’t get me wrong, I want a leader in the life every child at least once a week… and that’s certainly better than the alternative. Most ministries struggle to even get that kind of commitment. We encourage our leaders to call, send postcards, connect with parents and even go to soccer games and other events. Why, because quantity time equals opportunities to make investments for life-change. I don’t know if there’s an amount of time that would “quantify” discipleship, but I think our kids just need more.

Lastly, I think this is all the more reason why we must equip moms and dads to be the primary influence… the opportunity is there for them every day and every week.

Thanks Gina for hosting my post. I accidentally slept on your TV remote. Seems like the volume is permanently stuck on high. Sorry about that. Look for my next post by following my tweets at twitter.com/kennyconley

See past homeless blogger posts at the following sites:
Small Town Kidmin
Jenny Funderburke
Sam Luce
Dustin Nickerson
Brian Dollar