3 things I want my students to know before they graduate (part 1)

What students should know before graduationGraduation is coming up in a couple months and it’s caused me to reflect a bit on our ministry overall, from 7th grade through 12th grade. By the time they graduate, what should they know? Where should they be spiritually? What should their lives look like?

This is obviously a very subjective list, but here’s what I’d like to see for our youth group’s graduates before they leave our ministry.

1) An overview understanding of the entire Bible. I’m not saying they need to know everything in it, but at least be able to track through Genesis to Revelation at a 35,000 foot level. Biblical literacy is key because you cannot fall in love with someone if you don’t know much about them. But the more you know, the more there is to fall in love with, and the more you fall in love, the more you want to know about that person. Knowing God’s Word is foundational to knowing and loving God.

2) Know how to study scripture for themselves. I don’t want our youth group kids to graduate and always be dependent on someone else to chew on God’s Word, digest it, and spit it out in bite size pieces for them each week at church. I want them to learn how to feed on the Word of God for their own and not just swallow the assumptions that I, or any other pastor or teacher, throws at them. They should be equipped to dig into God’s Word on their own, study it for themselves, and feed on it’s life-sustaining power, not being content with spiritual milk.

3) Worship and evangelism should be a natural part of their daily lives. 1 Corinthians 8:1 says, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” And 1 Corinthians 4:20 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.” Learning God’s Word and being able to study it on your own is great, but if that knowledge is just a lot of talk and never turns to love for God and for people (i.e. the Great Commandment), then it’s a waste. The outpouring of their knowledge of God should turn into a passionate love that is exemplified in their lifestyle of worship and a burden for lost people.

Tomorrow I’ll share how we address these things practically in our ministry. UPDATE: Part 2 is now published here.

What 3 things do you want your students to know, do, and/or experience before they graduate? Share in the comments below.

Posted on March 16, 2010

  • Jerry Schmoyer

    It is extremely important for teens to internalize the faith for themselves, not just buy into it because parents, youth leaders or peers do so. They have to make it their own because THEY believe it and are committed to it. When they do this they will be a 'stand alone' Christian. They won't be dependent on others to prop them up and keep them going spiritually. They will consistently follow the Lord because THEY want to, no matter what others around them do. That's been out goal for our children and God has honored that by bringing it about in all of their lives.

  • I just finished a series dealing with five elements that have seemed to consistently be a part of my teaching over the years. (I hope 5 is ok.) Before they graduate, I want my students' lives to be characterized by:

    A permanent attitude of worship
    A global view of God's church
    A passion for revealing God to people who don't notice Him
    A commitment to local service as the church
    A hunger for depth in their relationship to God

  • I'd say this list is pretty solid. I might only add to it that students do not rely on their American perceptions of the church

  • Pingback: 3 things I want my students to know before they graduate - part 2 | Life in Student Ministry()

  • Love this, those are the kind of things we have on our "Description of a Discipled Person," we use it to make decisions regarding curriculum, programming and so on.

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