Ministry Tools

Student Discipleship Guide (FREE Download)

A Student Discipleship Plan

6th – 12th Grade

As Christians, we are to pass the faith on to the next generation.  Whether we are parents or grandparents, church staff or volunteers, we have been tasked to make disciples (Matthew 28:19).  One of the primary ways we can be discipling the next generation is by encouraging them to be readers.

We serve a God who created all things by using words (Genesis 1-2) and a Savior who calls himself the Living Word (John 1:1-14).  Christians are also called to be a people of the Word and to meditate upon God’s Word day and night (Psalm 1).

Not only should we – and our children – feed upon God’s Word, but we should also be feeding upon other words.  That is, we should be reading.  We should be reading theological books, classics, fiction, etc.  Teaching our children to be readers in many different genres and categories will foster a deeper appreciation for the various genres and categories found in Scripture.

However, simply saying that we should disciple our students to be readers can seem like a daunting task.  Where do we begin?  What books should we focus on?  At what ages should this begin?  These questions led to the creation of the following plan.

The Plan

What follows is a suggested discipleship plan for middle school through high school.  Any compilation of books, including this one, has its limitations.  For starters, there are many great books that aren’t listed.  To be honest, there were books we love and wanted to include on this list, but we simply couldn’t fit them in.

Other aspects to consider are the reading rate and reading motivation that vary from student to student.  Some students will scoff at the lack of challenge in the following list and desire to read more, which is great!  Other students, however, will scoff because they hate reading and will find the list to be too strenuous.

If we truly believe we are to make disciples and we truly believe that part of the discipleship process involves reading, then we must be making readers of the next generation.  For the Christian, this isn’t optional. If you think about it, our students are expected to stretch themselves mentally at school, so let’s stretch some of them through this plan.

The plan that follows not only suggests theological books we think are helpful, but also tells you the approximate[1] number of pages you need to read per day to finish in the allotted time.  The reading plan is based on reading five days a week.  Students can use the weekend to take a break or to catch up. Note: When booklets are suggested, a page number is not listed because of their brevity.

It is also suggested that parents read alongside their children in the middle school years. Not only are they younger and still growing in reading, there is also some mature content suggested that you will want to read with them.  As they get older, give them the independence to read on their own, but plan on having discussion throughout the week and month, based on what they are reading. Hopefully, this will also prove to be helpful in your conversation with your child – it will give you something to talk about.

Something to keep in mind . . .

As mentioned, there are readers on different spectrums, but there are also students on different maturity levels.  Some of the books listed deal with challenging topics.  For those books, we’ve also suggested alternative titles.  However, because of the prevalence of some of these issues in our culture, we think it’s important to equip your children by talking about these topics.  If you choose to omit these books, our suggested titles may be helpful.  We also give other suggestions of titles that may share similarities in a specific area.

One important note: Understand that this reading is done in addition to Scripture reading.  There’s no substitute for God’s Word; therefore, be sure your student is feeding upon the eternal Word of God, above all other books. A helpful tool in light of this is the NIV Lifehacks Bible. It was put together by Joe Carter with a foreword by Kevin DeYoung. It contains 365 articles that accompany Scripture texts. Students can pick a specific biblical text, read it and read the accompanying article. This will greatly assist their interpretation and application of the text. We recommend this is valuable resource.

I know this plan may overwhelm some. If that’s the case, then adjust it in a way that best disciples your child. You know your child best. Whatever adjustments you make, just make sure you do something in the area of discipleship.

Children are an amazing gift from God, but they are not ours – they belong to God. We are merely stewards. We are to steward the young souls under our care. We hope this plan assists you unto that great end.


[1]We say “approximate” because some editions of the books may vary. Just know that this page number is pretty close and gives you a good range of what should be read. 

Posted by John Perritt at 1/15/18

The Local Youth Worker (Podcast)

RYM PODCAST: The Local Youth Worker [click here to subscribe]

Reformed Youth Ministries is excited to announce the launch of a new podcast entitled The Local Youth Worker. This will be a daily podcast (Monday-Friday) that centers on five questions.

Each individual episode will focus on one question and have a runtime of approximately 10 minutes. Sometimes the episode will be shorter or longer, but we want to keep it around 10 minutes to offer you something that fits into your busy schedules.

Practical to Professional

We plan for our questions to range from “the practical to the professional,” and here’s what we mean. For the most part, we will have five basic practical questions we ask youth workers. Those questions are as follows:

  • (Monday) What’s the best thing you’ve done in student ministry?
  • (Tuesday) What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in student ministry?
  • (Wednesday) What’s a truth you cling to in order to keep perspective in ministry?
  • (Thursday) What’s something you do to foster relationships with parents?
  • (Friday) What books, besides the Bible, have made the greatest impact on you?

It is our hope that hearing these questions answered by youth workers in other contexts will be beneficial to you. For the “professional” questions, we plan to interview seminary professors, authors, counselors, and others with more topical questions. Those episodes will still center around five questions, but the questions will vary from our Basic Five.

Here’s a preview:  we have an episode featuring Jaquelle Crowe who is the author of This Changes Everything and one with Tim Challies, an author and blogger. It is our plan to have many more like this.

Our Hopes and Vision

Ultimately, we are launching this podcast to serve youth workers who are laboring for God’s Kingdom; therefore, we look forward to seeing how God may use it.  With that in mind, here are some of our goals:

  • Foster community: While a podcast is a lesser community than face-to-face community with other youth workers, we do hope there’s a sense of community people get from The Local Youth Worker. We know there are some youth workers who are ministering alone with no access to other youth workers in their area. We hope our podcast gives them that sense of community.
  • Encourage and Equip: Going right along with the above, we hope you are encouraged by this podcast, and we hope you learn from others through it. One of the greatest gifts God bestows upon the church are our brothers and sisters in Christ. We pray the Lord uses the thoughts and comments from our fellow laborers to bless you.
  • God’s Church: A heartbeat of RYM is serving the local church. RYM does not want to be a ministry unto itself, but rather a ministry that constantly serves the local church. Not only do we hope to accomplish this through this very podcast, but also with other written resources that bless youth workers, parents, and teenagers.

Some Requests for Our Listeners

Patience: We are just figuring this podcast thing out, so we hope you’ll be patient with us as we grow. We’ve learned a lot, but we still have a long way to go. Some of the episodes may sound better than others; some took place at youth conferences, so the rooms we recorded in weren’t the best. In fact, a few episodes we had to scrap all together because of background noise. Please be patient with us as we seek to serve you.

Subscribe: It would greatly help us if you subscribe to this podcast and spread the word to others. A major aspect of RYM’s ministry for the last several decades has been RYM’s youth conferences. We hope the Lord uses The Local Youth Worker to inform others about the ministry of RYM. When you subscribe to our podcast, you can end up promoting it to other churches and students who wouldn’t have heard about us otherwise. It is especially helpful if you subscribe within the first few weeks of the podcast launch. Subscribing greatly increases the promotion of the podcast on iTunes. If you do this, we will be very appreciative.

Purchase:  While you’re subscribing to our podcast on iTunes (see what I did there), please check out Joe Deegan’s newest album, Cover and Title Page. In the intro and outro for each of our episodes, we borrow a song written and performed by Joe, entitled The Wedding Feast. Joe’s lyrics are theologically rich and saturated with Scripture; we know you will be blessed by them.

We have many episodes already recorded and ready to share with you. If you visit iTunes and subscribe, those will be made available to you, and you will begin to receive episodes weekly.

It is our prayer that the Lord will use these podcasts mightily for his Kingdom and that you would be ministered to in the midst of the ministry He has called you to.

***Click here to view episodes***

Posted by John Perritt at 8/28/17