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Student-Led Cell Groups: Kids Taking Charge
Published in Group Magazine March/April, 1998
by Ted M. Stump

The phone rang at 7pm. "Ted, I'm afraid something terrible has happened to my friend, Phil," said a troubled 12 year old boy named Josh. "I came home from practice tonight and an ambulance was in from of Phil's house." I'm afraid something terrible has happened to him. What should I do?" After I took some time to coach and pray with this young man of God, he called the hospital and spoke to Phil's mom. About 30 min. later, Josh called me back ecstatic. He was able to share Christ with Phil's mom and pray for her son to live.

Phil had taken an overdose of pills and almost died because he was upset about his parent's recent separation and plans for divorce. Three weeks later Josh brought Phil to a retreat where he gave his life to Christ. This happened, in part, because a 12 year old "kid" had a heart for his friend and prayed for him, ministered to him and brought him to the foot of the cross to meet Jesus.

We pastors have underestimated the potential of our youth to make a huge impact in our churches, our schools and on society. One pastor had this to say about student leaders," While they may be young, the Holy Spirit in them is no child." That same Holy Spirit that dwells in you and I also dwells within the lives of our youth.

God is doing mighty work with youth all around the world. This year over 3 million students gathered at their schools to pray for their nation, schools, friends and families. Last year over 500,000 members of this generation gathered in Washington D.C. to pray for their nation. In addition, last year 31,000 students met in D.C. and LA. to learn how to reach their friends for Christ. Signs of revival are cropping up all over the world.

Major mission movements have begun with students on their knees crying out to the Lord. Probably the largest church in our nation grew out of a gathering of youth.

Young people today have a tremendous number of needs and we must begin to restructure our ministry so we are able to meet those needs. Our youth are in a desperate search for the family they never had. We need to reach out to lost students, restoring them by helping them grow through the challenges they face and releasing them into the ministry to help us bring in the great harvest of students throughout our nation and the world.

Do you have a strategy for equipping and mobilizing your students to serve their local churches and reach out to their peers for Christ? Are you developing life long disciples? Are you tapping into one of the greatest resources in your church? If not, it is time to take a fresh look at student leadership and how these students can be moved to change the world around them.

There will never be enough "professional" youth workers to reach the multitudes, but there are enough of them "students". They simply need to be provided with training, equipment, encouragement and discipleship so they can meet the tremendous spiritual and physical needs of this generation. It’s time to get the combines out of the barn and bring in the harvest.

Here are a few practical suggestions to help mobilize your youth for service to your local church and community:

  1. Pray - Ask the Lord who in your current ministry are the core group of students who will become your student leaders.
  2. Develop Leaders - You must have a clear method to disciple your students.
  3. Clearly state your vision - Young people want a purpose in life - something to pour themselves into. Make sure you have a clear and concise purpose for them to get involved in.
  4. Allow them to make mistakes - I feel we often learn more by failure than success. Be there with them as they try and sometimes fail.
  5. Match gifts - Always seek to match a student's spiritual gifts with a given ministry opportunity.
  6. Develop a heart for the lost - There is nothing more motivating for a student to than to lead a friend to Christ. Instill in them a passion for the lost.
  7. Raise the standard - Expect the best from them and they will give it to you; expect less and that is what you will get.
  8. Lead, don’t push - You must "charge the hill first" and they will follow. Lead by example.
  9. Help them succeed - Remember you exist to help them succeed; they do not exist to make you succeed.

I see a huge shift taking place world wide in the form and substance of ministry to youth. We are shifting from program/ entertainment/ adult driven ministries to relational student led cell based ministries with a strong emphasis or worship and the preaching of God’s word.

The scripture says in John 4:35 that the fields are ripe for harvest. We need to equip our youth for service to help bring in the crop of student souls. Matthew 9:37 states: "The harvest is plentiful, but workers are few." If we are going to win this generation for Christ, we must organize and mobilize our youth to reach the multitudes and bring in the harvest.


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TESTIMONIES - What others are saying about Ted Stump and Student-Led Cell Groups

"I recently brought Ted to our church to share with High School students and key adults the vision and "how to's" of implementing this biblical approach to ministry. The seminar was extremely uplifting and informative."

Bill Goodwin
Youth Minister

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