Student Discipleship Guide
Wherever you may find yourself in your walk with God, we wanted to take a moment to compile some resources for you! We hope it will be a blessing and a help to you as you grow in your relationship with God.
There is nothing greater than belonging to God’s family when we put our faith in Jesus—and that’s just the beginning!
God designed each of us to live in community, which means you are not alone in this journey! Not only that, but God created you. He is for you and has an incredible purpose and plan for you. And He has placed people in your life who are ready to walk alongside you in your faith journey—your parents, small group leaders, student Pastors, and your church family!
As you begin your walk with God, the first question that often comes to mind is, “now what?” Well, we’re here to give you a few great places to start!
- Begin spending time in God’s Word. Reading your Bible is the best place to start. Now, we know the Bible is big and can be overwhelming, so we suggest starting in the book of John. Why, you might ask? John writes the story of Jesus and presents the gospel in a clear way. It’s the best book to start with to get a good idea of the whole narrative of Scripture.We suggest picking up an ESV copy of the Bible. If you need a copy, reach out to us. We’d love to give you a Bible to call your own. You can also begin reading the Bible through the YouVerison Bible app.
- Prayer. Prayer can seem like a very weird thing to do, but it is an essential thing in your walk with God. When you start praying, come to God and talk to Him. There is no wrong or right way of praying. Praying is you and God have a conversation about life.For example, your prayer can be as simple as, “God, I got a big test tomorrow. Please help me to recall all that I have studied and learned so that I can give the right answers for the test. Thank you for always being with me throughout my day. In Jesus name, Amen.” Pretty simple, right? Just come to God as you are and talk to Him like you would anyone else. The more you pray, the easier it becomes.Be sure to ask your small group leader or Student Director if you have more questions about prayer. We also have lots of prayer resources available on our blog; visit woodsidebible.org/read to check them out!
- Stay connected. As we said earlier, God designed each of us to live in community with one another. Set up times to meet weekly with your small group leader or Student Directors. And be sure to come to your campus’s Woodside Students gathering! It’s here we worship together, encourage one another, and become better equipped to accomplish our mission as followers of Jesus.
In Acts, Peter delivers a well-known sermon to the masses. Within it, he states, “Repent and be baptized” (Acts 2:38). This is one of many scriptures where new believers are commanded to be baptized in Jesus’s name. Why is that?
We are called to follow Christ faithfully as we put our hope, faith, and trust in Him. And the next best thing any new believer can do is to get baptized—as one gets to publicly declare Jesus as the Lord of their life.
Baptism serves as a symbol of what Jesus has done to the believer internally. As we have been transformed by Christ internally, giving us a new heart, we profess that belief externally to the church!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
This Scripture helps to paint a picture of what happens to the new believer and gives us a hint as to what baptism symbolizes.
As the person is baptized and is out of the water, they are their old self, but as they go in the water and back out, it symbolizes a new creation in Jesus. So again, baptism represents what Jesus has already done in your life. If you have not given your life to Christ, you should not be getting baptized.
Many believe baptism saves, meaning that when the person gets baptized, they are, at that moment, becoming a believer in Christ. The truth is that new believers should already have faith in Christ before they get baptized.
As Christians, we are saved by grace alone, and that grace is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8-9). If we put any requirements on being saved, that is a work, meaning we have to work for our salvation. That is what every other religion teaches, so we want to clarify that baptism is merely a symbol and an act out of obedience for the new believer!
So, who is the new believer?
The new believer is the one who has repented and accepted Jesus as their Savior. Baptism symbolizes new life in the believer, providing a way for the church to celebrate you and even more celebrate Jesus’s work that has been done in you! It’s a way for your church family to pray, support, and help disciple you on your faith journey.
If you have put your faith, hope, and trust in Christ and are ready to take the next step in being obedient to God through baptism, talk to your small group leader or Student Director!
As followers of Christ, there will be moments that put our faith to the test. No one said this journey would be easy. In those times of trial or hardship, we may find ourselves drifting away from God. The closeness we once felt, we may not feel anymore. In those moments, we may choose to re-commit ourselves to following Jesus as we continue our faith journey.
It’s an amazing decision to re-commit your life to Christ. It may not seem like one, but it is. Why, may you ask? For many of us, this is where we begin to take our faith seriously. There’s a difference between being a fan of Jesus and a follower of Jesus.
In Luke 15, we are given a parable of a father with two sons. Both sons were to be given an inheritance once their father had passed. The younger son demanded to take his inheritance immediately before it was to be shared. The father obliged. The son then left his father and blew all of his inheritance. In his shame, he decided to return to his father, not as a son, but as a servant. But once he came home, his father welcomed, loved, gave him the finest clothes, and had a feast for him. Why? Because he was the father’s son.
We are often like the son, taking advantage of what God has blessed us with and choosing to do our own thing. But God patiently waits for us to come home to Him. The Father is faithful, and He welcomes you back home. If you have put your hope, faith, and trust in Christ, He has gifted you, by grace alone, to have faith. And it will never be taken away.
So, how do we ensure we have the strength to stay committed to our faith and follow Jesus this time? Here are a few practical ways below to get back into things:
- Talk to your small group leader or student director. Set a time to be discipled and ask someone to mentor and pour into you. We often feel adrift because we lack direction, and having an older spiritual person to help walk with us on our faith journey can help guide us.
- Get involved in community. Come to church, come to Woodside Students. We were created for community—so dive into one!
- Read your Bible. How can we know Jesus if we do not spend time with Him? In the Bible, we learn who God is and the character of God. Start in John and The Gospels, and ask a mentor or leader to read it with you!
- Prayer allows us to communicate with God. It may sound daunting and even challenging. But it’s simple, talk to God about what’s on your heart, your longings, your pains, your struggles, whatever it may be. Jesus is faithful and can take whatever you give Him.
- Check out the resources available to you. Below is a list of resources/books to help you continue your faith journey
Gentle and Lowly – by Dane Ortlund
Don’t waste your life – by John Piper
The imperfect Disciple – by Jared C Wilson
A 19th Century English preacher by the name of Charles Spurgeon once said, “If God has called you to be His servant, why would you stoop to become a king?” The calling to vocational ministry is that of the highest calling under heaven! With that being said, we must address a few questions first.
How do I know if I’m called to ministry or mission work?
What does ministry look like as a full-time job? What does life as a missionary look like?
Before we answer the question of what ministry or missions look like, we first must deal with calling. How do I know? Well, there are a few things to consider. While Paul is instructing Timothy on the role of a pastor in 1 Timothy 3, we can apply the principle across the board. Paul would say that the beginning to discerning the call to ministry is “Do you desire it?” Do you want to go into full-time ministry? Do you want to serve the Lord on the mission field? If not, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. You don’t need to be in full-time ministry to serve God faithfully. You’re able to do that in every area of life- School, work, home, etc.
If you have concluded that you feel called (meaning you desire it), the next step is to determine what you desire. It can be helpful to ask yourself, “How has God gifted me?” Each of us has spiritual gifts given to us by God so we may use them to glorify Him. Some are gifted in teaching, others in evangelism, and others in showing mercy.
11 & 12 Grade Students
If you’re interested in serving within the church, the Woodside Leadership Institute is a great way to discern where the Lord may be calling you. You’ll be able to work hands-on in a ministry you’re passionate about and connect with others in a similar stage of life as you have weekly intensives.
If you feel called towards mission work, Global100 may be the track for you. Global100 is Woodside’s missionary initiative to send out 100 Global missionaries. Through this program, you’ll be able to connect with our global partners and be trained to make disciples around the world.
6-10 Grade Students
The best way to begin to discern the call is to get more involved at your respective campuses. Talk to your student director, pastor, or outreach coordinator to get more involved.
Your relationship with the Lord is the most important thing you can work on regardless of where you’re at. It won’t matter how gifted or desires you are if your walk with God is not foundational.
Resources on Calling:
Am I Called to the Ministry? (thegospelcoalition.org)
Am a Leader by Angie Ward & Discerning your Call to Ministry by Jason K. Alen
Visit our website:
Woodside Leadership Institute: https://woodsidebible.org/leadership-institute/
Global 100: https://woodsidebible.org/global-100/
Here are great devotionals from the YouVersion to check out. They are a quick and easy way for you to get in the rhythm of spending time in God’s Word! Once you download the app, search for these studies!
▶️ Teach Us To Pray
▶️How to Study the Bible – A 5-Day Plan with Jen Wilkin
▶️The Pursuit: Chasing After Your New Life in Christ
▶️Read the Bible in a Year: BibleProject | Biblical Storyline
Small group leaders can play a vital role in a student’s spiritual development. There are a few ways that we’d like to support you as you do so. Regardless of a student’s decision (baptism, recommitment, etc.), you should first communicate with the student director of your respective campus. This allows them to be on the same page and relay to parents what’s going on in the lives of their students.
Secondly, and arguably most importantly, show up and love well. We know how difficult it is to be a middle or high schooler, so they’ll need all the support they can get. Connecting with them on Sunday mornings and Sunday/Wednesday evenings is essential, but it would also be helpful to try and get them out of their everyday environments. A few options include getting together for lunch every other week or getting your small group together for a hangout night to connect with each other outside of Oasis/Wake.
Another option could be creating a group chat with other students in your group to send prayer requests, questions, verses of Scripture, etc. You can also further contact your student director to get some ideas. Even if you’re unsure of what to do, something is better than nothing. Being a Christian in middle/high school is challenging, so anything you can do to encourage your students will be worth it!