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The Seven Checkpoints

Seven Principles Every Teenager Needs To Know by Andy Stanley & Stuart Hall What every Teenager needs to know - These are intentional systematic approaches to discipleship that focuses on the content of what is needed. The style and methodology needs to change over time but the content does not change. These seven points are the irreducible minimal of the content of discipleship in our ministry - We cover these seven points in any or all our ministry programmes every check point has a principle, a critical question and a bible verse - When we are ready to release youth we need to be sure that they have these principles ingrained in who they are and what they do The Seven Check points:

Authentic Faith

Principle - God can be trusted: He will do all He has promised to do Critical question: Are your students trusting God with the critical areas of their Lives? Key passage: Proverbs 3:5-5 We do not want to get youth to trust in the biblical promises but rather in God himself. Most people will base their opinion of God on their picture of their earthly Father. God is not a reflection of our earthly fathers He is the perfection of our earthly fathers. Our youth need to come to an understanding that God has us in a hug and all he does (discipline etc) is in this hug gesture. We cannot do anything to get a bigger hug from the Father he cannot give us a bigger or a smaller hug we are already completely in His hug and He loves us. Authentic faith understands that we cannot earn Gods favor. Two main things that youth need to believe not just understand are: a. Jesus is the Son of God b. His death on the cross paid the penalty on the cross Heb 4:14 let us hold firmly to the faith we profess When we talk about authentic faith we talk about being secure in ones relationship with the Father so secure that if we had to hear something about God that is in conflict with our previously developed view of God we are easily able to dismiss it. As a result our foundation of faith is not easily shaken.

Spiritual Disciplines

ILL: Have four boards put together and then poor concrete into these boards and point to the fact that the boards are the disciples and Gods love is the concrete that makes it true Principle When you see as God sees, you will do as God says. Critical question: Are your students developing a consistent devotional and prayer life? Key passage: Romans 12:2 Spiritual disciplines lead to intimacy. Core Disciplines that we want all our youth to be doing: i) Read all about it the discipline of reading scripture When we read scripture: a. Ask what is the passage saying b. Summarise it c. What should I do about it? d. How can I remember this? e. Get people to hold you accountable to it ii) Pray through it: Get youth to pray through the material that they have read through -Lord help me Get youth to pray through their day as they observe what is going on around them Get them to pray through their relationships with others both those they like and those they do not Write on it: Journal what you are learning Journaling helps us to slow down and process our thoughts. Memorization of scripture: Help youth repeat the scripture over and over repetition Repeat the verse giving emphasis on different words through the verse think through the implication of each word Always remember where the verse comes from

iii) iv)

Moral Boundaries

Every chance we can we need to be imparting moral boundaries Principle: Purity paves the way to intimacy Critical question: Are your students establishing and maintaining godly moral boundaries? Key passage: 1 Thess 4:3-8 Students must know that sex is great and it is Gods plan. God loves them and designed it for them as long as it is done in the right way. ILL: we do not give a car to a child and hope that they will enjoy it to its fullness We need to encourage youth to want to marry people that have saved themselves for marriage if this is the case then we need to help them keep themselves for marriage as well. Intimacy is the joy of knowing someone fully and being known by them with no fear of rejection. ILL: To illustrate that just a little bit of something can affect you bake choc chip biscuits with a laxative in half of them. Serve on 2 plates, those with and those without the laxative. Then bring it to the youth asking them if they would like a biscuit, explaining that some have laxatives and others dont. Then see if they still feel that just a little bit of something means nothing? Lies that the youth are being told 1. Everyone is doing it 2. I cant live without sex 3. Sex is a natural part of having a relationship 4. Sex is a natural part of growing up there are over 50 STDs out there 5. Sex makes life better it actually makes life more complicated Teenagers are always asking, how far is too far 1. The further you go the faster you go 2. The further you go the further you want to go 3. The further you go the harder it is to go back 4. Where you draw the line determines the arena of your temptation and it also effects that intensity of the temptation If you draw the line at kissing this means that you will not go down as far as having sexual intercourse 5. The more you save, the more pure you are, the more intimate your marriage relationship will be in the future If we say no to sex because of AIDS we are missing the point. The time will come when we do have a cure. God wants the best for us and this is purity this is what we are to build our commitment on and not the fear of something

Healthy Friendship

The top influences on the teenagers: In the 60s 1. Parents 2. Teenagers 3. Spiritual leaders In the 80s 1. Friends 2. Media 3. Parents and at 17 comes spiritual leaders Principle: Your friendships determine the direction and quality of your life Critical question: Are your students establishing healthy friendships and avoiding unhealthy ones? Key passage: Proverbs 13:20 Youth will often run away from what their parents say to follow what their friends do or say. Gangs become a real option for teenagers because these groups become surrogate parents.

Definition of a wise man: he knows the difference between right and wrong and chooses to do right even when its hard. Teenagers are acceptance magnets they need to be accepted and when they come into our ministry and find love and acceptance because we remember their name, what they are doing, what is important to them this means the world to them Youth do not choose their friends they are chosen by their friends. What inevitably happens is the youth will go from group to group until they are accepted what this means is that if they are not accepted into a good group they will be drawn to the bad groups. The Bottom Line: choice of friends has more to do with their desire to be accepted than a list of characteristics. Acceptance is not a bad thing, but acceptance paves the way to influence. Why is this important? Students must choose what they want out of life before they allow someone to choose them for a friend.

Questions to ask: 1. Have you ever lied to ensure that you do not look bad? Do you believe lying is bad? 2. Have you ever stolen just because your friends are stealing?

Do you believe stealing is wrong? 3. Do you have friends that have self-destructive habits and you have never said anything about it them Why? We want to help youth develop a healthy self-image so that they are OK even when they are not accepted. If youth do not make changes in their circle of friends all the life commitments they might make on a camp or retreat they will never follow through on the commitments made. The only time youth make significant changes is when they change their circle of friends. Circle of Concern Circle of Influence Circle of intimacy

Spiritual Friends

We will allow anyone and everyone into our circle of concern we need to teach youth to be very careful of whom they allow into their circle of influence and even more concerned with who they allow into their circle of intimacy. The question to ask is: Do your friends encourage or hinder your walk with Jesus? Use and recruit Adults to be involved with youth to build relationships of influence.

Wise choices

Walking wisely in a fools world Principle: Walk Wisely Critical question: Are your students making wise choices in every area of their lives? Key passage: Ephesians 5:15-17 Instead of saying is there anything wrong with this we need to get youth to ask what is the wise thing to do? Quote: There is good and bad but that is not our que but rather what is the wise thing to do? We need to help youth anticipate what is going to happen even before it happens what could happen. Teenagers to not like to think of the outcome, they do not plan to get into trouble. The real problem is that they also do not plan not to get into trouble it just happens and they fall into the traps of the kingdom of darkness. Help your youth to be proactive and to start making wise choices. Proverbs is packed full of wisdom and speaks of three types of people 1. Wise people: They will make good decisions, live a long life, the will be a good counselor for others, they will prosper. 2. Foolish people a fool goes After immediate desires, by what they feel at the moment, they do not think about the future consequences A foolish person will attract attention in a stupid way it is not necessarily a negative to the environment 3. A scoffer these are those kids that choose wrong and break down those who do right these kids are often good leaders and if we can help them choose right this will have a great impact on the youth These guys usually think they are too cool to be caught they will do it for attention and this attention is a negative on the youth environment We need to ask ourselves about the environment we are creating to help lead them to make wise choices

Ultimate Authority

Principle: Maximum freedom is found under Gods authority Critical question: Are your students submitting to the authorities God has placed over them? Key passage: Romans 13:1-2 This principle needs to be modeled and taught by the leaders. How youth respond to authority will influence how they respond to their parents. We need to be sure that we do not teach that God is the only authority in your life He is the ultimate authority but not the only. Youth grow up thinking that God is all into rules but in the beginning of the creation he only had one rule. Establishing relationships has to be a balance of grace and justice. This means that we do not allow youth to run wild in our youth ministry to keep them. By forming a clear understanding of authority they will: TRUST Then when you give an instruction that they do not like they will follow anyway we will not do something mean to them just because. INFLUENCE If there is no trust you will not be able to influence them Proverbs 5:23 He will die for lack of discipline, lead astray by his own great folly. Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid Proverbs 15:32 he who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death We cannot become the parent of teenagers if they do not understand authority in the home and we do not establish clear authority they will start treating us as they do their parents. If they understand our authority they will trust us when the wheels come off. Unless we live lives of integrity and do not abuse authority we will not have an impact. Youth will notice and evaluate our message by what we do if they do not match up we will loose our impact.

Others first

Principle: When you make yourself nothing you are really something Critical question: Are your students putting the needs of others ahead of their own? Key passage: Philippians 2:3-11 We need to acknowledge that Jesus is the ultimate authority and if he is we need to copy his example There are 4 overlapping commands in Philippians 2 1. Do not allow ambition or conceit to drive your decisions vain conceit is the notion that we deserve better We want to help youth understand that they are special in Gods eyes but this in no way entitles them to special treatment. 2. You view others as more important than yourself if we want to follow Jesus example we will treat others as better than ourselves when treating others see yourself as responding to nobility treat everyone as you would treat Jesus if he were to come to your home. What would you talk about, how would you respond to His needs this is what we need to do with all others. 3. Look out for the interests of others: I need to watch out to see what your needs are and help meet them. I put others needs before my own. 4. Follow Christ example of humility: When we have been abused by someone else and we feel we have a reason not to serve this is when we need to be humble and put aside our feeling. Questions: Is your schedule more important than serving others? Is your position you have among your peers more important then serving others needs? Is your ego or pride stopping your from stooping to serve? By youth living their lives as if they are nothing they become something in Gods eyes If I go first there is potential for conflict but if I allow you to go first then there is a potential for a relationship Four areas to apply this 1. Listen more, talk less 2. Remember you remember the things that are important to you if you remember youths names you are telling them they are important. Remember what they are talking about this tells them a lot 3. Ask Ask about the things that you remember this has a significant impact and shows them that they are important

4. Pray for them evaluate your prayers and see if they are more about you and than others Practical: - Highlight youth that do service in front of the group - Encouraging them to serve - This is more caught the modeling Conclusion: Three things that come out about these checkpoints 1. They are all relational 2. This strategy is a process it needs to be continual 3. It is about the students and not about running a programme that is going to help you achieve it once of the product we are trying to produce is youth in love with Christ We must minister in the present always thinking about the future