It's official, 2014 is over and we are moving into a new year.  Looking back, there are many things to celebrate.  Our Barefoot Student ministry has seen new faces come through the doors nearly every week.  Students coming to church are making life changing decisions and our leadership team is growing with the amazing adult leaders.  Our Barefoot Kids ministry also has a lot to celebrate, seeing more families joining us each week and our volunteer leadership team growing as well.  

We must remember that our work can't stop with the celebration

I love to celebrate victories, especially when life-change is involved. It is good for us to celebrate, and God loves to see us enjoy the blessings He has given to us.  We must remember that our work can't stop with the celebration.  We saw one of our students come forward this month wanting to enter into a relationship with Jesus, and the hearts of all of the adult leaders were so full at that moment.  This is our hope with all of the students that we work with, that they would desire Jesus in their life.  Each week we pray and hope for them to see the need for the Savior in their life.  We would be foolish to allow our work to stop there with that student.  God has called His church to so much more through His great commission.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. - Matthew 28:19-20

We are called to not just celebrate, but to make disciples and teach them what we have learned, to walk along side our brothers and sisters in Christ as life happens.  I can't remember anything my youth leaders, pastors or parents preached or taught me.  What I do remember is who they were and how they lived, not what they said.  Our relationships with those around us are what leave lasting impact.

We enter into life with each other

This fall, both Stacie and I felt our small group was the highlight of our week.  The study was great, but our favorite part of group was how relational our group was.  Our lives were not just asked about and prayed for, but we felt truly cared for by those in our group.  I believe this is one of the most special parts of being in a church family.  We enter into life with each other.  This sort of relationship can't happen and isn't intended to happen at a weekly worship service.

My guess is that the disciples learned primarily from living life with Jesus

Jesus taught his disciples often, his teaching came in many forms; sermons, parables, asking questions and living life.  From my view of the Gospels, my guess is that the disciples learned primarily from living life with Jesus, not sermons.  In Barefoot Students, we teach each week, but the real discipling comes when we can have small conversations with students; asking questions, learning about family, praying for and building relationships with students.  

Who are you entering into discipleship with?  How can you move past the celebration and enter into a rich walk of life with someone?