A recently graduated student who has been asked to lead a group of peers through some study at his new church has asked me for a list of stuff that he could potentially take the group through. I thought it might be helpful to share it here as well and let you guys add to the list. I know some of you are heavily involved in college ministries and your input would be greatly appreciated. Before I get to the list, though…
Hats off to Jim for not standing on the sidelines and for jumping into service at a new church as soon as you got to college! And thanks to the church for investing in young people and making space for them to learn to lead.
Ok. So.. in no particular order, here are some resources I’ve used and seen solid outcomes with young adults & college students. Not knowing particulars about the group itself or much about the context, this will be a general list, but can be a great place to start I hope:
BASIC video series from Francis Chan: This is a really good discussion starting video series in two sections: Who Is God? and We Are Church. There are 7 videos, with discussion guides and participant material for everyone to go through together. Could be a great baseline to build on for a new group of students from varied church backgrounds.
Catalyst GroupZines: I have not used these for a few years, but they’re a unique resource. Basically, a series of thick magazines full of articles exploring leadership from a lot of different angles and a myriad of leaders/writers. They are a companion/follow up to the content I saw at several Catalyst Conferences that I attended, but stand alone as well if you’ve got a group that is particularly leadership minded. (I’d also recommend the conferences themselves! Highly.)
Not A Fan from Kyle Idleman: This is a great little book about becoming completely committed to the cause of Christ. There are a lot of peripheral resources like journals and videos and discussion guides that can help a new group leader get comfortable challenging the group to a deeper discipleship than they may be used to. Also check out several other books Idleman has produced for small group use.
Eats With Sinners from Aaron Chambers: I may have a bias toward authors who’ve bought me good Chinese food, but this would be a great book for just about any group of Christians (college or otherwise) to walk through together. It’s a challenge to not just see people the way Jesus sees them, but to actually love them and treat them the way He treats
Storyline from Donald Miller: This resource is a little different speed and may be tough to go through with a group that isn’t comfortable with each other. It’s more of an introspective study of how God has been shaping you throughout the events of your life. If your group can muster the trust to be transparent with each other, though, it could provide some great moments of clarity about just what God is up to in your lives. (If there’s a good counselor in your church that would be willing to help lead the group through this book, I could see that leading to a whole new level of benefit.)
Complete Guide to Money from Dave Ramsey: What college kid doesn’t need some help with money, right? I’d say go through the Financial Peace University, but unless your church will sponsor a class, most college students aren’t going to cough up the cash to get the whole kit, but this book goes through the bulk of the content anyway. Good principles that can help you avoid some big money mistakes that you may not have had a chance to make yet.
Sacred Marriage from Gary Thomas: Since we’re on the subject of more adult topics, how about marriage!? While many of the current crop of college students aren’t thinking about marriage, many are, and this is a good book digging in to God’s intention for marriage. Again, this may be one of those resources that can help you avoid some future mistakes (and also offers hope for the the redemption of past mistakes). This is also one of those resources that won’t hit home for some groups quite yet. Know your group, first.
PRAY by me: (Thank you for pretending like you didn’t see that coming, but if I don’t plug it, who will, right?) While this resource has not been offered from a huge platform and sold far fewer copies than the rest of this list, I really do see it doing a lot of good with groups and individuals that have gone through this guided journal. The ongoing conversation we are having with God is the fuel for His movement. Growing healthy in how we talk to God and listen to Him can enhance what we get out of any other resource/study. (I can get a special price for you depending on group size if you let me know you need a bunch of copies!)
Ok, college ministry friends… What are you using that’s working great for discipling college students? Would love to hear how things are going in your groups!