Yesterday the NFL draft began. Millions watched as Florida State’s Jameis Winston was chosen first overall by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The next player chosen was Oregon’s Marcus Mariota who went to Tennessee. Both of these players are 6’4” and weigh over 220 pounds. They are intelligent, athletic and have arms that resemble cannons when throwing a football. Anyone with football sense would say both these players are guarantees for pro football greatness. History seems to say both these young men will probably not excel. NFL teams view films, study statistics, and hold private training sessions. They hope they can discover what makes a person a valuable choice.
Many student ministries treat youth discipleship like it is the NFL draft. God has provided incredible stories like David being chosen as Israel’s future king even though his outward appearance did not make him a typical draft choice (1 Samuel 16:7). However, youth workers look for the brightest and the best students in their churches to act as leaders amongst their peers. I hear many adult youth ministry leaders dream out loud. They wish and hope for one or two key students who can help transform their student ministry into a disciple-making factory. Look at the motley crew Jesus chose. How many disciples would have been chosen if there was a disciple draft two thousand years ago? Probably only one! He would have been chosen because of his talent and eye toward upward mobility- Judas! How many kids have you met named Judas? The other eleven would not have gone as high draft picks but Jesus saw the heart. Through these men He changed the world.
Picture a discipleship draft in your church’s student ministry. Consider how you would conduct this draft. Would you use an NFL system where people are selected because of their outward skills, appearance and mental sharpness? Maybe you would give everyone a chance. This can be equally ineffective. The godly way forward encourages people to look at the heart. Christian Endeavor has an exciting process helping churches to take this step. So before you conduct your next youth ministry “draft” consider going to www.cemidatlantic.org, click on the “Get Started” button, and learn a different way of doing youth ministry.