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Developing the whole person: the eight essential areas

A lot of students today come from broken or dysfunctional homes, many times with parents who have not really modeled or taught their children some of the essentials of just basic living. If you really care about your students and want them to be as successful as they can in all areas, you will probably have to help them in a number of the seemingly simple tasks of life. Some of these you can teach in a group setting or even in a conference workshop, but some of the areas need to be communicated on a private, one-on-one basis. Below, in no particular order, is a sampling of areas you might need to help them in:

1. Family/marriage

How to prepare for marriage
How to raise children
Birth control options
Why and how to put a filter on the Internet
How to safeguard against impurity in relationships
How to honor and care for your parents

2. Finances

How to make a budget and use a credit card wisely
What kind of car to purchase and how to care for it
How to build good credit rating
How much to give and where
How to save, invest, and borrow
How to raise support if they need to
How to buy insurance
Why to pay every bill on time

3. Personal gifting/talents

How to discover their spiritual gifts and use them
Discover and develop a hobby
Understand their personality type

4. Physical

Model to them good exercise and diet
How to have a healthy self-image
How and where to get regular checkups

5. Professional

Why and how to read a daily newspaper
How to dress modestly
How to choose a career
How to be a good employee
How to exercise business ethics
How to select a graduate school or full-time ministry opportunity

6. Social

Develop good manners
What kind of person to date
Personal hygiene
How to relate to people of all ages
How to get involved in a singles’ or couples’ class

7. Spiritual

How to find a good church
How to continue in Scripture memory
How to find an accountability partner
How to use Bible study reference tools
How to handle cults and false teaching

8. Ministry

How to be hospitable
How to have a house ministry
Reaching and discipling laymen is different from students
How to find resources for ministry materials

The list goes on and on, including how to manage their time, make priorities, and set and reach goals and how to balance work, family, and ministry. Because life is complicated and we as Christian laborers are held to a much higher standard than most, any one of these areas, if not attended to properly, could have negative, even devastating, effects on us and the people around us.

Luke 2:52 says, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” If Jesus felt the need to develop Himself mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially, how much more should we? Commit to a holistic ministry in your students’ lives, but don’t think you can do it all alone. Even this morning (at 6:30 a.m.!), I brought in Bill Smith, a godly sixty-three-year-old Little Rock businessman, to talk to our key students about “Following Christ and Making Disciples Over the Long Haul.” Our goal is to address areas of personal life and ministry that will help in their transition from college life to the real world. Make it a team effort as you involve others from your church, campus ministry, and community, together seeking to produce balanced laborers for Jesus Christ.

An excerpt from The Fuel and the Flame
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