"For Those Who Are Passionate About Reaching The Younger Generation"

Youth Ministry Topics Programming

Growth Zones

Seven Zones or Priorities

Russ Butcher

NorthStar Student Ministry
G.P.A Overview

By Russ Butcher

It's been well said that if you aim for nothing, you'll hit it every time. Therefore, when it comes to growing godly students, we want to define as specifically as possible what we're aiming for. In other words, when students enter our ministry as freshmen and leave their senior year, what do we want them to be like?

We like to think of students as graduating our youth ministry with a strong G.P.A., that is, an intimate relationship with God, resulting in godly Priorities and Attitudes. In order to produce students with these qualities, we provide them with a C.O.M.P.A.S.S. to guide them in their journey with God. This compass points them toward a specific growth zones (see following pages) during each of our activities, whether it be through teaching, mentoring, training, or serving.

In other words, every aspect of a ski trip - the teaching, planning, and activities, may emphasize the growth zone "Meaningful Relationships." A series in our weekly large group meeting entitled "Where is God When It Hurts" emphasizes trusting God (under "Pursuing God"). A planned "Act of Kindness" or mission trip trains kids to put "Others First."

Recommended reading: 1) Andy Stanley and Stuart Hall, The Seven Checkpoints (Howard Publishing Company, 2001. Stuart Hall's earlier teachings on this concept started me in this direction. 2) Gary Kuhne, The Dynamics of Personal Follow-up. Great book for looking over all the specific areas you want to cover with students, and envisioning how each aspect of your church's program can be a part. 3) For an example long-range teaching schedule, click on this URL
http://www.reach-out.org/article.asp?ai=49&ac=2&al=50 . Consider revising both it and the below Growth Zones and making them your own.

C.O.M.P.A.S.S. Growth Zones

Compassion focused

Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. (Matthew 9:35-38)

Others First

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:3-5) Therefore go and make disciples of all the nations…. (Matthew 28:19)

Moral Boundaries

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. (I Thessalonians 4:3-8)

Pursuing God

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself." (Luke 10:25-27)

Authentic Relationships

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Corinthians 5:14-17)

Spiritual Habits

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:16)

Submissive Heart

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. (James 4:7-8)

Compassion focused (Matthew 9:35-38)

  • Radical Hospitality
  • Acts of Kindness
  • Selflessness
  • Servanthood
  • Servant Leadership
  • Being a Christian at Home
  • Discovering & Using Spiritual Gifts
  • Developing your Personal Ministry

Others First (Philippians 2:3-5)

  • Intentionally Influencing the Lost
  • Outreach
  • Salt and Light
  • Witnessing
  • Sharing your faith
  • Intentional Relationships
  • Christian Worldview
  • Answering Tough Questions

Moral Boundaries (I Thessalonians 4:3-8)

  • Dating
  • Sex
  • Thought Life
  • Sexual Purity
  • Sowing and Reaping
  • Lifestyle of Integrity
  • Drinking and Drugs
  • Building Christ’s Character

Pursuing God (Luke 10:25-27)

  • Knowing God
  • Loving God
  • Trusting, Depending on God
  • What is Faith?
  • Grace
  • Knowing Scripture
  • Understanding Doctrine
  • Apologetics
  • Genuine faith
  • Assurance of Salvation
  • Forgiveness
  • Knowing Jesus

Authentic Relationships (2 Corinthians 5:14-17)

  • Choosing Friends
  • Supporting Your Family
  • Accountable Relationships
  • Becoming a True Friend
  • Mentoring Others
  • Peer Pressure
  • Freedom in Christ – Who I Am, Self-image
  • Personal Wholeness
  • Spiritual Warfare

Spiritual Habits (II Timothy 3:16)

  • Personal Worship (time alone with God)
  • Corporate Worship
  • Prayer
  • Bible Study
  • Tithing
  • Memorizing Scripture
  • Accountability with other believers
  • Pursuing Wisdom and Knowledge

Submissive Heart (James 4:7-8)

  • Authority of Scripture
  • Submission
  • Parental Authority
  • Respecting Leadership
  • Obedience
  • Walking Wisely
  • Will of God
  • Decision Making