Recently I started a discipleship (pilot) program for kids and parents called Next Steps. The purpose of Next Steps is to assist parents in guiding their children through the first steps of faith. As a pastor I want to join with parents in what God is doing in the hearts of their children. With that in mind, I've developed a simple discipleship plan as a way of intentionally teaching children the basic biblical truths to stand on as they step forward in their faith. Each “step” is intended to guide children on their journey with Jesus by applying these truths to their lives so that one day they will step into adulthood firm in their faith. Here are the 5 S.T.E.P.S.:
Salvation: Can I Be Sure That I’m Saved?
1. Wrong ways/Right ways to know you are saved
2. What to do when you have doubts
3. Salvation & Sanctification: Trusting Jesus & Becoming More Like Jesus
Time with God: The Basics of Bible Study
1. What is the main point of the Bible? Why should I study the Bible?
2. How to study the Bible on my own
3. Making a plan to study my Bible
Evangelism: Telling Others About Jesus
1. What is the gospel?
2. How can I share my faith? - Tools to help
3. Becoming a Christian on mission with Christ
Prayer: Talking to God
1. What is prayer and why should I pray?
2. How do I pray?
3. Will God answer my prayers?
Service & Fellowship: Why We Need Each Other
1. What is perseverance? What is fellowship? How do they relate?
2. Choosing my friends wisely
3. Using my gifts to serve others
How this Works:
I meet with both the child and the parent(s) for about 30 minutes to talk and discuss the first step. Then I give the child some homework that includes a short devotion and fun reinforcement activity they can do together as a family. A couple weeks later we meet again and review the first step and go on to the next. This process is intended to target the child, but all the while I'm giving the parent tools they can take with them to disciple their children at home with just a little help from me. I hope to develop this into a full-fledged curriculum some day.