Beginning August 1, Youth Disciple Bible Study Online (YDO) will be launched as part of a partnership between the Institute for Discipleship and The YouthWorker Movement. This is a 32 week online course of the in-depth and popular Disciple Bible study tailored for youth ministry. Ideal for student ministry, YDO has a flexible schedule that can be tweaked and worked around the school year semester schedule.
I recently chatted with Leanne Johnston, Central Texas Conference Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, about her experience of becoming a YDO course facilitator and 3 smart benefits she think Youth Disciple Online will bring to her conference:
Erin: Why should churches offer Youth Disciple Online?
Leanne: Obviously, Disciple Bible Study is an incredible experience, but most churches don’t have a large enough group of youth to commit to a 32 week course. Unless you are at a really large United Methodist church (most are not), you probably don’t have 10-12 students who are ready to commit to 32 weeks of in-depth Bible study, but you might have one or two. There may be 1 or 2 more at another church, 3 at a third church, etc. By offering YDO throughout the conference, the course can bring together a critical mass of youth from different churches that are ready for an in-depth Bible study like Youth Disciple.
Erin: Why should you offer online youth Bible study instead of meeting in person?
Leanne: Students are used to building community virtually. Thanks to Facebook and more, students are used to online community. They don’t have the same qualms about it that adults might have. By offering an online course, students from all around the conference can participate in the same Bible study without the headaches of trying to coordinate transportation and a time and place to meet that works with everyone’s schedule.
Erin: How do you think YDO will benefit the Conference?
Leanne: YDO is just one great way to make the conference smaller and build community between churches. If youth are meeting each other this summer through mission trips and other conference events, they can continue those friendships and grow in their faith through online Bible study. I plan to offer YDO to any students in our conference to take starting this Fall, but in the future I hope to have more trained leaders in the conference that are offering the course.
Of course, offering YDO at the Conference level makes sense for connecting churches, but you do not have to be a Conference Coordinator to become an official Youth Disciple Bible study online facilitator. YDO can be offered to anyone in the world whether it’s within your own church or connecting your youth group with another. Is YDO a good fit for your youth? It might be – it’s worth taking a minute to register to become a facilitator or to learn more about Youth Disciple Online at http://www.beadisciple.com/workshops.html#youthdiscipleonline