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Whose Job Is It to Disciple Students?

Written by Zach Cochran on
I frequently use the term “partnering with parents” when referring to Student Ministries here at College Park. Why? Because it’s important. In fact, I think parent partnership is an essential aspect of what we do.
Often, parents hold one of two views regarding the discipleship of their student: (1) The church does all the work of discipleship, or (2) I, as the parent, do all the work of discipleship. So which one is it? Neither.

In Student Ministries, we don’t desire to “do all the work.” Nor do we want you to be the only one speaking into students’ life, encouraging them in their faith. Rather, we want to partner with parents in the discipleship of their student(s). 

Parenting is hard, and we as a church want to help parents—but not replace them—as disciplers. Three ways we seek to do that is by:


1. Providing a space outside the home for students to express their faith in their own way 

Our ministry programming is intentionally designed to give students opportunities to listen, learn, and grow alongside their peers. Whether it’s through worship, casual conversation, or Small Groups, we seek to create a place where students are accepted and known.

2. Providing other adults as additional eyes, ears, and voices that will point students to Jesus

We want to make an eternal impact in the life of students. That is why we have weekly Small Groups that allow students to discuss, process, and pray about what they are learning or experiencing. These groups are led by our trained volunteer leaders, some of whom have been serving with us for more than ten years. They, like us, want to see students develop a faith in God that is solid and steadfast.

3. Equipping parents with training and resources to parent well

We have a group of parents that gathers once a week, before Youth Group, to pray for their students’ faith. We love that! Through regular communication, connection, and prayer, we want to come alongside them. We have the same mission, and that’s to ignite a passion in students to follow Jesus.

Parenting is a race with plenty of hurdles and a lot of enemies, and it can be long at times. We want to run this race with you. When you drop your student off on Sunday morning or Wednesday night, you are handing us the baton; and when you pick your student up, you are taking the baton back. 

Parents, let’s run this race together for the sake of our students, that they may passionately follow Jesus throughout their lives.

Zach Cochran

Zach received a B.A. focused in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee at Martin and received his M.Div. from Southern Seminary in Louisville. A former pastor at College Park Church, Zach now serves as an associate pastor at Sojourn Church J-Town in Louisville, KY.

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