In November of last year, God blessed our church with the addition of a new staff member, Jimbo Watson and his family. I, along with many of you, have been able to see firsthand how Jimbo really cares for the students and wants to see them become disciples of Jesus in every way possible. I’m so excited about the possibilities our church now has for equipping parents to invest in their kids and teens.

Did you catch what I said at the end of the last paragraph? It was actually really important and you may have just read past it… We are looking for and implementing ways to help parents fulfill their role as the lead and primary disciplers of their own kids and students.

This vision greatly shapes Jimbo’s approach to student ministry, so I want to encourage you to take a few minutes and read his thoughts below. I believe they will both challenge you and give you perspective for what a healthy student ministry will look like as we continue to take our next steps of faith with Jesus as The Grove.

from Jimbo Watson…

First, I want to start off by saying how thankful my family and I are to be a part of the family at The Grove. We have enjoyed getting to know most of you and  your children and look forward to serving our community in the name of Christ.  Nothing brings me more joy than being able to walk alongside your families as we disciple your children together.  I eagerly look forward to how God will work in each of your families.

Some of you have heard me say on an occasion or two that I don’t think there is such a thing as Student Ministry.  I firmly believe that the Student Ministry should not exist in a silo, separate from the church as a whole and the families.  That together we love on our children and watch their roots plant firmly in the good soil of the gospel and watch them grow and flourish as we love on them together.

It is my prayer that the students will be taught and shown the gospel through me and student leaders.  However, we cannot do it alone.  During the course of a year each students will spend approximately 40 hours at church and over 3,000 hours with at least one parent.  It is in this way that I want to encourage you, to use the time you have with your kids to disciple them at home.  This is why I wanted each of your email addresses and to periodically send you emails to keep you up to date and actively involved in what we are teaching and doing.

I know right now you are probably cringing at the previous paragraph.  I want to encourage you to have some sort of family worship together. And by worship I do not mean music and songs, but a time when you sit down with your student and actively talk and listen to them about God.  You might be saying that you do not know how to have a talk with your student. I am afraid that it would be too awkward or they won’t listen to me.  Well….you are probably right.  I know it will not be easy, especially if this is something new for you.  Not only do I want to encourage you but help you in the discipleship of your child.

This will not be easy, but anything worth the results usually are not that easy.  A simple way to start out is by telling your student your “story.”  Does your student know your faith journey?  Most students don’t think of you as a person with a real story filled with ups and downs. Let your kids see you vulnerable and how God has worked in your life.  Be honest with them.  This will help break the ice for future faith talks. Being honest and open will open the door for them to feel comfortable and open for future talks.

One of the ways I want to help you disciple  your child is to keep you informed about what the teaching emphasis is on Wednesday nights. The Student leaders and myself are going through the book “What is the Gospel” by Greg Gilbert.  I would encourage you to get this book and follow along with what we are learning.  Ask your student about what we learned.  Look and read over the assigned Scripture for that particular Wednesday night.  Ask them how God was working on them as they read it.  What did they learn about God?  What is God telling me about a certain situation we are in?

It is my desire and in God’s design that as we look at Deuteronomy 6 and the book of Ephesians that families are the primary training ground in the life of a child.  Our church will flourish and reach people for Christ as we partner together to disciple the kids.  Please, know that myself and all the Student Leaders love your children and each and every one of you.  We pray for you and long to see God move in our church in a big way.