Who should be shepherding the students in your group? Mom and Dad? You? The village?
Yes. (Psalm 22:30-31; 78:4; 145:4; Hebrews 13:17; and so on)
But it won’t just happen, and there’s no formula. The guys who founded The Navigators worked relentlessly to figure out the best possible training for each new believer (Colossians 1:28-29). And they taught them how to teach others the same things (2 Timothy 2:2).
You can do this too. What do you want each student to believe when he or she graduates from your group? What gifts, skills, or disciplines should each regularly exercise? (We refer to this as your “Description of a Discipled Person” in numbers 11, 14, and the Appendix of our book.)
Here are a few guidelines that have worked for us over the years:
1. What we’re after is each student taking ownership of his or her own faith.
2. Meet with them at least once and teach some basics of the Bible. Teach them how to ask questions about what they read. Have them record their questions.
3. Give them an assignment. For example, “Check back with me once you’ve filled a page with questions.”
4. Get them plugged in with someone besides you. An adult volunteer. A college student. A retired person. A same-gender peer that’s farther down the road.
5. Keep a healthy inventory of books for them to read and booklets to work through.
6. Use small groups.
Often this entire process can be sped up with a retreat or event. They’ll gravitate to someone when relationships are compressed and presto, your handoff is completed. You can even design a trip specifically for this purpose.
This is crucial stuff. Let us know what’s worked best for you.