10 Ways Student Pastors Can Kick-Start Disciple Making in Their Student Ministry (Part 7)


When I was wrapping up at my former church, I received a Facebook message from a student at my new church. I had never met him, didn’t know anything about him, and even had to make sure he was legit. Drake’s first message to me was an invite into his discipleship group. At that point, I knew that God was leading me to a ministry that was serious about disciple making.

#7 Disciple Your Future Disciple Makers First.

The FAT Kids

I realize this series of articles is to student pastors who want to kick-start disciple making in their student ministry. Its not every day that students invite their student pastor into their own discipleship group. In fact, I’ve never heard of it before. I’m very thankful for the student pastors who lead well before me.

For those who are kick-starting disciple making in their student ministry, one of the most important questions to answer is, “Who do I begin discipling first?” The best place to start is by discipling your FAT kids first. FAT stands for Faithful, Available, and Teachable. These are the students who are already Faithful to student ministry worship services and small groups, available to meet for disciple making, and teachable to learn and grow in the Word together.

Should We Start with Seniors?

When we are thinking through our FAT kids, we automatically start thinking about our seniors since they are the ones we may know best, are the most mobile, and have matured the most for disciple making discussions. There are many good reasons to begin with seniors. They are going off to college, so they need to be discipled to make more disciples. They are the leaders in the student ministry, so they can model the importance of disciple making. They are the easiest for us to disciple because they are the ones who can dive deepest into the discussions. God may call you to disciple your seniors, but I want to encourage you to also think about your sophomores.

A Case for Discipling Sophomores

While I would not suggest having more than two disciple making groups of your own, it is possible to disciple seniors and sophomores. Why would discipling sophomores make the best sense?

  1. Sophomores often are not as busy as seniors.
  2. Sophomores are just starting to drive, and they are always looking to hang out.
  3. Sophomores not only have two more years of influence in their schools, but they also have two more years of influence in your student ministry.
  4. Sophomores are mature enough to have deeper conversations, and discipling them will rapidly further their spiritual maturity.
  5. After you spend 12 months discipling them, sophomores will have two years left to make disciples in your student ministry.

Could you imagine discipling your sophomores for 12 months, and they take the next two years of discipling other students in your ministry? Could you imagine the impact that would make and the message it would send? I highly recommend your target the FAT kids in your sophomore class to kick-start a disciple making movement in your student ministry!

Don’t Forget Your Leaders

When kick-starting your disciple making movement in your student ministry, please remember that its not healthy to have more than two disciple making groups of your own. The major reason for this is the nature of discipleship itself: Jesus called His disciples (followers, not just pastors) to make more disciples. Think more about empowering both students and leaders to make disciples instead of you having too many groups to handle.

In saying all of that, don’t forget your leaders! I personally do not meet with my leaders for disciple making, but I do meet with leaders about once a month for lunch to talk about disciple making in our student ministry. Don’t tell them, but I chose my FAT leaders. I chose the leaders who I saw would initially make great disciple makers. Find your leaders who needs questions answered, needs a little motivation, and those who need to hear their pastor believes they would make a great disciple maker. Then, develop them into a life-long, disciple maker in your student ministry.

Student Pastors, you can kick start a disciple making movement in your student ministry by thinking strategically about who you will disciple and develop to make disciples off the start. Disciple your disciple makers first. 

You can read the other articles in this series or check out more disciple making resources at https://youthgrouptruth.com/category/disciple-making/

Chip Dean

Global Student Pastor

Liberty Baptist Church

Hampton, VA




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