What is CENTRIC?: 4 Step Student Ministry Strategy

What is CENTRIC? CENTRIC is a word born from a God-given conviction to be unashamedly Christ-CENTERED in everything I preach and teach in student ministry. Not only preaching and teaching, but also in every way I lead, counsel, strategize, disciple, and live missionally.

Over 10 years, CENTRIC has expanded from a conviction to now resources, a wholistic student ministry strategy, and conferences.

CENTRIC Resources are Gospel-centered resources that are designed to take your student ministry creatively through the whole Bible and all Christian doctrines in 6-7 years. These resources not only span over 6 years, but also include over 80 different series, over 4000 files, and over 12GB’s of info. You can now download all of the CENTRIC Resources for only $99. Here is the packet for more information: CENTRIC Student Ministry Resources

The CENTRIC Student Ministry Strategy is both wholistic and integrative. This student ministry strategy is wholistic because it drives everything we do, and it is integrative because it connects everything we do. Our CENTRIC Student Ministry Strategy is boiled down to 4 Words: GOSPEL, RELATIONAL, DISCIPLE, MISSIONAL. I exist to send out Gospel-centered, relational students who make disciples that are on mission with Jesus.

The CENTRIC Conferences is what I’ve had the privilege to preach in many church, in many states, and in many student ministries. I absolutely love to pass on the CENTRIC Strategy that God has given me to Student Pastors, Student Leaders, and Students. Here is my personal preaching packet if you’re interested in booking me: Chip Dean Preaching Packet

GOSPEL: Step 1

GOSPEL is the first step in our CENTRIC Student Ministry Strategy.

The Gospel isn’t just something we preach in Student Ministry, but it must be the power of God that is unleashed to start His unstoppable movement through your student ministry.

I believe the Gospel is the central theme of all Scripture. Every passage, event, story, character, etc of Scripture is ultimately pointing us to the Gospel. But also, every passage, event, story, character, etc of Scripture is deepening our different perspectives of the Gospel. I believe this so strongly, that I’ve committed my life to preach through the whole Bible and all major Christian doctrines to my students so that they see the Gospel from all Scripture, all doctrine, and every perspective. Here is our 6-7 year plan through the Bible and all doctrine: All Bible and Doctrine Series Flow Plan Liberty Students

Not only should the Gospel permeate everything we say and do in student ministry, but also the Gospel should be simplified and clarified for our students. (1 Cor .15:3-4)

The Gospel is the POWER of God (Romans 1:16). 

P – Person of Jesus (Jesus is both fully God and man)

W – Work of Jesus (Jesus’ life, death, burial, and resurrection)

R – Response to Jesus (We must repent of sin, believe on Him, and follow Him as Lord)

This has been the best tool to see students understand the Gospel in a simple, memorable, and reproducible way.

The Gospel is not only God’s plan of salvation, but the Gospel is also God’s plan of sanctification. We know that if we are believing the Gospel, then we will be living the Gospel.

Here are my personal sermons through a whole series on the GOSPEL called GamePlan:

Gameplan – 1 – GRDM Overview – Luke 24 (sermon)

GamePlan – 1 – GRDM Overview (curriculum)

Gameplan – 2 – GRDM Person of Jesus – Luke 24 (sermon)

GamePlan – 3 – The Work of Jesus (curriculum)

Gameplan – 4 – Response to Jesus – Luke 24 (sermon)


Relational is the second step in our CENTRIC Student Strategy.

The Gospel isn’t just something we believe in student ministry, but it is what drives us to love others because we understand God’s love.

The essence of the Gospel is that even in our sinfulness, Jesus came to earth to save us. He did the most loving act imaginable by leaving the comforts of heaven, becoming a human being like us (while remaining fully God), resisting sin and obeying God every single second, becoming our sin on the cross, and raising from the dead. All of this was so that God could have a relationship with us. God did not create us because He was lonely, but because He wanted to love us and give us as a love gift to His Son, Jesus.

In Luke 24: 13-17 right after His resurrection, we see Jesus joining two of His disciples on a walk. “Their eyes were kept from recognizing Him” because Jesus was in ninja-mode. These disciples were already discussing His death because the miracle to His death and resurrection are so powerful that they naturally dominate our conversations. Jesus played dumb and asked them what they were talking about. They did everything but unknowingly call Jesus stupid and told His stranger-self about all that had just happened.

The point is, without them knowing it, Jesus stepped into their conversation and came in on their level. In verses 25-27, Ninja Jesus strongly taught them what really had happened by reminding them of ALL the Scriptures have spoken. He went on to tell them how all the Bible is about Jesus and the Gospel.

Because of this passage, the 2nd step in our CENTRIC Student Ministry Strategy is RELATIONAL:

  1. Our RELATIONSHIP with Christ.
  2. Our RELATIONSHIP with Christians.
  3. Our RELATIONSHIP with Not-Yet Christians.

We know that the Gospel has entered our LIFE when it has affected our LOVE.

Students Ministries should strategize to train students RELATIONALLY by:

  • Encourage their students to enter into daily devotions from the Word.
  • Train their students to have powerful times of personal prayer with God.
  • Design their Small Group experience as discussion and application.
  • Equip their students to have conversations with the lost about Jesus.

Here are my personal sermon on RELATIONAL:

2 – CENTRIC – Relational – Luke 24_13-27 DNOW Camp Conf 2



10 Articles on 10 Ways Student Pastors Can Kick-Start Disciple Making in Their Student Ministry: https://youthgrouptruth.com/disciple-making/

A call to the Gospel includes a call for all Christians to make disciples. Jesus clearly commissioned every Christian in Matthew 28:18-20 saying, “Go make disciples of all nations.”

We need to be honest with ourselves, what Student Ministry has been doing has not been working. Researchers and statisticians tell us that 70% of our churched students will leave the church soon after graduating high school and never return to any church faithfully again. The number reason: they never owned their faith (1 John 2:19). Unfortunately the answer isn’t as easy as a better transition plan into college ministry. I firmly believe the answer is that these students never received the Gospel for salvation.

Student Ministries have never been so good at mega-services, conferences, and camps. We  have never been so strong at packing out a room, but we’ve never had weaker Christians. Its almost like there’s something we’re not doing. What we’ve been doing is not working.

If I asked you to sit on a two-legged stool, you would decline or fall over. It doesn’t matter how study the legs are or how well they are attached, two legged stools aren’t designed to stand.

Two part Student Ministries aren’t designed to make disciples. Worship services and small groups alone are two legs to the stool that need a third by the sturdy.

What if Student Ministries were capable of far more than raising up students who were faithful church attenders? What if the WIN in student ministry was to disciple our students so that they could make disciples for the rest of their life? What if God’s design was not for Christians to simply invite friends to church, but to multiply themselves by making disciples?

What if Making Disciples was so easy even a Christian can do it? As Christians, we are notorious for complicating things. What if we’ve complicated disciple making that only pastors, professors, and professionals can do it? What if Jesus meant it to be so simple that our students could be making disciples while in student ministry?

I believe the reason we’ve made discipleship so difficult is because Jesus made it so easy and we thought “Surely, this can’t be it!” I believe Jesus did expand on disciple making. He expounded on how to make disciples in Luke 24.

I believe that Luke 24 is the expansion of Jesus’ Great Commission where He expounded on how to Make Disciples:

Bible (Luke 24:44). Disciple Making starts with the Bible. While it is not a Bible study only, it always involves Bible study. The first step in making disciples is studying the Bible together so that God can speak into the conversation.

Gospel (Luke 24:45-46). Disciple Making points to the Gospel. The Bible has not accurately been studied unless it has been understood through the Person and Work and Jesus. When we study the Bible in light of the Gospel, then we are becoming disciples of Jesus. Jesus opened their minds to understand the Bible, and that revelation was Gospel-centrality.

Personal (Luke 24:47). Disciple Making gets Personal with each other. The biggest difference in making disciples and doing small groups is the ability to get personal with one another. Small Groups are usually larger and open groups while Disciple Making Groups are smaller and closed groups. Jesus said that our study of the Bible and understanding of the Gospel leads us to sharing personal needs of repentance, forgiveness, and witness (24:47). These personal discussions lead Disciple Making into Missional Living. We can’t proclaim these things until we discuss these things.

Like Jesus, I believe we should pour our lives into the 3 that God gives us for 12-18 months using Bible, Gospel, Personal.

The WIN in Disciple Making is when our disciples are making disciples. In fact, we haven’t made disciples unless our disciples are making disciples.

Step 3 in our CENTRIC Student Ministry Strategy is disciple our students to that we can send them out to make disciples for the rest of their lives!


True belief in the GOSPEL, a real love that is RELATIONAL, and a life that MAKES DISCIPLES will live on MISSION.

The Gospel is ultimately the mission of God by the ultimate missionary, Jesus. Jesus is our missionary model because He stepped out of His home, became like the people He left to reach, served us, sacrificed Himself for us, and rose from the dead to complete His mission.

Everyone loves a little adventure. My greatest adventures growing up were on our annual family vacations. I loved going to new places, seeing new things, eating new foods, and even meeting new people. There was one thing true about all of our family vacations…we always ended up in an argument. I’m confident the reason we ended up in an argument is because vacation is always our own personal needs, wants, desires, etc.

What if the adventures we were created for weren’t vacations but trips on mission? I’ve seen very few arguments breakout on mission trips because mission trips aren’t about us, but they’re about serving Jesus and others.

I remember being on a mission trip with a student ministry in the country of Belize. I was preaching a message in a church there one night on Acts 20. The message was on how that local church could continue our mission since our group would be leaving shortly. While I was preaching, the Holy Spirit convicted me that we weren’t living in our own city what I was preaching.

We need to not only take students on mission trips, but we also need teach students how to live missionally on a daily basis.

Missionally Living means to live in such of a way every day that someone could get saved.

Gospel-faith, Relational-love, and Making Disciples is a life that naturally lends itself to Missional Living (Luke 24).

Luke 24:47 talks about Missional Living in 3 words:

  1. Repentance. It is our pleasure to be able to proclaim to the world that they get to turn from their sin to Jesus in faith alone.
  2. Forgivness. It is our joy to be able to proclaim to the world that God has offered them forgiveness of all sin in faith in Jesus alone.
  3. Witness. It is our passion to be able to spread the name of Jesus to the world so that they know the name by which all can be saved!

Here are 3 free resources to download from our studies designed for our students to live on mission:

GamePlan – 12 – Missional – Matthew 28 (curriculum)

GamePlan – 12 – Missional Call – Matthew 28 (sermon)

GamePlan – 13 – Missional Community – Philippians 2 (sermon)