Next Steps Conversation Guide
Some call this “Adult Service”—let’s change that! For students to integrate into the Whole Church, it is essential that they get into the routine of attending Sunday Celebration weekly. Celebrating God during a corporate worship experience has boundless benefits. This setting allows the entire family to come and see what God has to offer!
Students who grow up in NT Kids should start attending Sunday Celebration between 6th-8th grade. We run a Sunday morning program called Middle School Switch during 2nd service to help incoming 6th grade students integrate with the church. It is designed as a temporary means of forming relationships with students while their parents make the transition to regularly bringing them to Middle School Mash-Up (Sundays, 6-8 PM). Once students are regularly attending Middle School Mash-Up, they should begin integrating into the Sunday Celebration with their parents.
- Beginning of 6th Grade — Students should attend Middle School Switch on Sunday mornings.
- 6th-8th Grade — Students should attend Middle School Mash-Up on Sunday evenings & begin integrating into Sunday Celebration with their parents on Sunday morning.
- 9th-12th Grade — All students should attend Sunday Celebration.
- Post-Graduation (if staying in Zanesville) — Students should be fully integrated into the Whole Church by the end of the summer after graduation!
- Post-Graduation (if moving away) — By this point, students should be fully prepared to find & join a church wherever they go!
Sunday Celebration Talking Points
Ask, “Do you come to church on Sundays?”
If no, invite them to come and sit with you! Encourage them to make it a priority, and tell them why you believe it is so important for them to be a part of. Let them know what you love about it and how it’s probably different from any other experiences they have had at a church on Sunday morning. (This is also a great opportunity to connect them with other students who come regularly!)
- If they say they already have a church they are attending, we’re not trying to “steal” them. We never want to make them feel obligated to leave their church for North Terrace. Still, dig a little deeper to find out what they mean when they say, “I already have a church.” They might mean they have a church that they are committed to going to, but it’s also possible that they’re talking about a church they only go to on Christmas/Easter. Ask them how connected & involved they are at their church. If they don’t seem very involved/connected at their church, it might be a good idea to invite them to come sit with you on a Sunday.
Discovery: Beginnings gives people a sneak peek into the basic beliefs and practices of North Terrace and shows people where they can get involved. This is everyone’s first step to getting connected at North Terrace and a prerequisite to becoming a member. This is often seen as an “adult thing,” but it is really an important thing for students to experience when they are ready! This is an essential piece of integrating students with the whole church.
Discovery: Beginnings Talking Points
When a student is ready to experience Discovery: Beginnings, this is a great opportunity to help integrate them with the Whole Church! Explain to them why it’s an important thing for them to experience, and invite them to attend. Here is how you might go about this:
Step one: Explain why Discovery: Beginnings is important.
Step two: Invite student(s) to go with you!
- Invite the student to go to Discovery: Beginnings with you!
- Get together a group of students, and ask them all to attend Discovery: Beginnings with you.
Step three: Afterward, encourage next steps.
- Intentionally sit down with your student(s) after Discovery: Beginnings, and challenge them to take next steps.
We believe that the symbol of baptism is an outward expression of the next step that someone has taken to be buried with Christ and be raised in new life. It is the first step someone should take when they want to follow Jesus. We see this event as an act of obedience as well as a testament to those in the life of the member. For theological issues, it is best to meet with their Coach to discuss beliefs, common misconceptions, and language. Each student’s background and situation will be unique.
What do you have to know to be baptized?
Not a whole lot! Jesus’ disciples didn’t know much when they decided to follow him. We don’t need to either. Life is a journey of growth, and this should be the starting point! Here are some basic things that are important for a student wanting to be baptized:
- God is the one and only creator of all things.
- We are separated from God because of our sin, therefore we are in need of a savior.
- Jesus is the Son of God, he died as the ultimate sacrifice to pay the price for our sins.
- Jesus calls us to repent—to turn away from our life of sin and turn toward Him.
- The student must have a genuine desire to repent & follow Christ.
Don’t make this complicated! It’s not. :)
Baptism Talking Points
The following questions are good ones to ask students to figure out if baptism is their next step:
- “Have you made the decision to accept Jesus as Lord & Savior?” (Do you want to?)
- “Have you ever made the decision to become a follower of Jesus? (Do you want to?)
- “Have you ever been baptized?” (Would you like to?)
- If the student wants to be baptized, but you feel like they don’t have a basic understanding of the above concepts, invite them to attend Discovery: Beginnings with you!
Student has never been baptized.
- If they are ready to follow Jesus, encourage them to take this step! To plan a baptism, please consult with your Coach. Make sure to keep parents in the loop!
Student was baptized as an infant.
- This may be a sensitive topic. That being said, a respectful response will be to validate their experiences. Being baptized as a baby is not wrong, nor will not being baptized cause someone to be far from God—but we do very much encourage students to make this decision for themselves. Share your story and how it was very important to you. Share the dedication of Christ (Luke 2:21-40) as well as the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist (Matt 3:13-17). This should be a discussion, not a lecture, so you are encouraged to practice with your Coach. If your student decides to get baptized, make sure to keep parents in the loop! To plan a baptism, please consult with your Coach.
Student is a follower of Jesus and has already been baptized.
- Celebrate their story!
Student was baptized, but now they want to do it again because "they didn’t mean it”, “didn’t understand everything”, or “have been far from God lately.”
- As leaders, we do not encourage or suggest re-baptism. When students are baptized young, very often they come to a point where they believe their baptism is no longer valid, or they believe that because they didn’t know enough back then, it “didn’t count”. This is not true! God is not commanding them to get baptized again. If they feel that they have been far from God since getting baptized, encourage them that maybe this is a time when they need to repent and come back to God. This doesn’t mean they need to be re-baptized.
- That being said, if a student says they want to be re-baptized as a way of re-committing their life to Christ, we will not deny them this opportunity. Consult with your coach about setting up an appropriate time for such a thing, realizing that Sunday morning may or may not be the best time or place.
Baptism complete… Now, the work begins! Immediately after the baptism, start helping your student take next steps. Don’t wait long. They’re ready to be challenged right now, and we owe it to them to challenge them. Below are some things you can do:
- Have your student write a letter to their future self to keep as something to help them when they have doubts or need encouragement. In the letter, they should write:
- Who Jesus is to them
- What they are committing to
- Why they are making this awesome commitment
- What will/won’t change in their lives after this decision
- Write some encouragement to themselves that they WILL fail, and encouraging themselves to run back to Jesus in the midst of that failure
- Anything else that is on their heart
- Help your student get connected to a Community Group or Covenant Group.
- Help your student find a team to serve on.
- If those next steps have already been taken, help find the appropriate next step for them!
Community group takes place after teaching time at the weekly program.
Community Group Talking Points
If student has never been to the weekly student program (where community groups happen)…
- Encourage them to try it out, and offer to be there with them!
If student goes every once in a while, but isn’t super committed…
- Tell them you want them there! Challenge them to make a commitment to be there for 6-8 weeks straight. It can be hard connecting with people at first, but normally when students give it a chance, they make the connections they have been looking for, and we can’t keep them away!
If student has sports/extracurricular activities that happen at the same time as the weekly student program…
- Tell them you’re bummed they can’t be there :(
- If it seems like it would be helpful for them, connect them with a Covenant Group that might fit their schedule better.
- Ask them how you can help them stay connected even when they aren’t able to be there.
- Go watch them at their sports/extra-curricular activities!
Part of helping students pursue the immeasurably more is empowering them to serve. Not only does it strengthen students spiritually; it also makes a difference in the lives of others! At North Terrace, there is a place for everyone to serve on a team. Typically, the easiest team for students to get plugged in to is the NT Kids Sunday morning team. Other teams include the Worship & Tech Team, VIP Team, Student Ministry Team, and many, many others! Once a students is regularly connected at North Terrace, it’s time to get them serving on a team!
Team Talking Points
- Are you serving regularly on a Team? (Where are you interested in serving?)
- Are you being apprenticed?” (What NT Ministry role could God use you in?)
This is a great opportunity to have an ICNU conversation. Maybe your student needs to hear what you think they would be good at!
Kingdom Work is similar to serving on a team, but with a specific outward focus. The emphasis here is on reaching our friends, schools, community, nation & world. We want students to care about these things! It could be that your student is already serving on a team with a specific purpose… Great!
Kingdom Work is helping build God’s kingdom, and we all have something to contribute. Is there something huge God is calling your student to do? Does your student have the potential to do things that can have an amazing impact on their friends, school & community, or even the world?
Challenge your student to do kingdom work, then walk alongside them and do that kingdom work with them. Build their confidence. They may not see the potential you see in them. Your job is to unleash that potential!
Kingdom Work Talking Points
- “Who are you reaching through Kingdom Work?” (Who could you reach?)
- “Is there something big that God is calling you to do for His Kingdom?”
Any student who is a committed follower of Jesus should have a mentor or be in a covenant group. This is where students should be going beyond the surface and digging deeper. Students are ready for a challenge. Our weekly program is designed to help students accept Jesus as lord & savior and get them ready for important next steps. Mentorship & Covenant Groups are where most of those next steps will happen!
Covenant Group Talking Points
- "Are you in a Covenant Group?” (Do you think it’s time to join one?)
- “Who is pouring into you?”
- “Who are you pouring into?”
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” -Psalm 119:105. The benefits of daily encounters with God through his words are indisputable. Just like the other one mores, you cannot model an action that you yourself neglect. There are many avenues for daily encounters.
Daily Encounter Talking Points
Have you ever read the Bible?
- If no, offer to go through the Life Book with them. (Life books available in the upstairs student area.)
How do you best connect with God?
- Reading the Bible, while important, is not the only way to have a Daily Encounter with God. We all experience God in unique ways. Suggest that your student take the Spiritual Pathways Assessment to learn how they best connect (ntcoc.org/pathway).
Would you like to start a daily Bible reading plan with me or as a group?
- There are tons of Bible reading plans in the YouVersion Bible app!
Have you ever gotten into a habit of reading the Bible regularly? What about right now?
- Offer to start a Bible reading plan with them.
Often times, students see this as just something for parents and adults to do—we believe God wants students to tithe too!
Financial resources and personal security may be the one thing separating your student from putting full trust in God. We read in the Old Testament that God called his people to give of the first fruits of their labors. For these ancient people, this was their livestock and agricultural production. For us, it is our money. God’s goal for tithing is to grow in us a spirit of generosity, selflessness, and movement towards trusting in God more than our own means.
We interpret the biblical commandment as giving one-tenth of your earnings to the church. Some students may be able to give 10% right now. Others may be able to give more. The important thing here is the heart behind their giving. Tithing is not about the physical money, as evidenced in the story of the Widow’s offering (Luke 21:1-4).
Tithe Talking Points
“When you receive money or resources, do you intentionally give a portion of it to God?”
- Help student figure out their next step in giving their resources to God.
“How are you using your money/resources for God’s Kingdom?”
- Help student figure out their next step in giving their resources to God.
Student says, “But I don’t have a job!” or “I hardly have any money.”
- Share with student the parable of the Widow’s Offering (Luke 21:1-4)
- Help student think of ways to give: birthday money, allowance, etc.
Discovery: Footsteps is all about helping you learn how you are uniquely wired to grow in your relationship with God and with your church community. Find out how God has purposely shaped YOU to use the strengths He’s gifted YOU with, and how He’s equipped you to share YOUR story. Discovery: Footsteps takes us deeper into what it looks like to live a life of obedience to God. This is not for community groups. They will be bored and will think it’s lame. This is for individual students or Covenant Groups that are ready to dig deep… Not for students looking to have fun—for students looking to get serious.
Discovery: Footsteps Talking Points
Student you are mentoring: “Would you like to do Discovery: Footsteps together?”
For Covenant Group: “What do you think about doing Discovery: Footsteps as a group?”
For individual student: “You seem ready for Discovery: Footsteps. Is there an adult or Covenant Group you could go through this study with?”
We believe that God has designed your students and is equipping them to lead and to reach a particular group or groups of people. This step is initially more conversation than action but ultimately will be solidified with action.
Lead Talking Points
- Are you serving anywhere right now?
- Are you currently being apprenticed by someone on a team?
- Who are you leading?
- Who are you passionate about?
- What are you passionate about?
- What are you good at?
- How could you use your skill set?
The idea here is to challenge your student to take their next step toward leading. They’re not going to be a “rock star leader” right away… It’s all about taking next steps and making progress! Continue to encourage them as they grow in leadership.