The Seven Principles
If we could permanently imprint anything we wanted upon our students’ minds, what would it be? What do they need to know? What is the irreducible minimum? When everybody else is “doing it,” what’s going to keep him from joining in? When she is sitting in a dorm room during her freshman year, contemplating her options for the evening, what principles or truth should drift through her mind in that potentially defining moment?
Each year the student ministry will study what God has to say about these seven principles. We will look at a different aspect of each principle every year, with the goal being that by graduation students will be able to make the wise choice in all that life throws at them.
Principle #1: Authentic Faith
This focuses on a correct understanding of faith. Faith is confidence that God is who he says he is and that he will do all he has promised to do.
Discipline: God can be trusted; he will do all he has promised to do.
Critical Question: Are your students trusting God with the critical areas of their lives?
Key Passage: Proverbs 3: 5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Principle #2: Spiritual Disciplines
A student’s devotional life is the focus of this principle. The apostle Paul assures us that transformation begins with a renewed mind. As students begin to renew their minds to the truths of Scripture, their attitudes and behaviors will change.
Discipline: If I can see as God sees, I will do as God says.
Critical Question: Are your students developing consistent devotional and prayer lives?
Key Passage: Romans 12: 2
Principle #3: Moral Boundaries
Purity paves the way to intimacy. One of the most important things a student can do is establish limits. Students need to learn how to protect their bodies and emotions by honoring God’s plan for sex and morality.
Discipline: Purity paves the way for intimacy.
Critical Question: Are your students establishing and maintaining moral boundaries?
Key Passage: 1 Thessalonians 4: 3– 8
Principle #4: Meaningful Friendships
The people our students associate with the most will determine the direction and quality of their lives. This principle focuses on helping our teenagers build healthy friendships and avoid unhealthy ones.
Discipline: Our friends determine the direction and quality of our lives.
Critical Question: Are your students establishing healthy friendships and avoiding unhealthy ones?
Key Passage: Proverbs 13: 20
Principle #5: Wise Choices
In light of their past experiences, current circumstances, and future hopes and dreams, students need to ask themselves, “What is the wise thing to do?” Good decision making is more than simply choosing between right and wrong. This principle focuses on the need for wisdom in decision making.
Discipline: Walk wisely in a fool’s world.
Critical Question: Are your students making wise decisions?
Key Passage: Ephesians 5: 15– 17
Principle #6: Ultimate Authority
Freedom and authority are often viewed as opposing concepts. But the Scriptures teach that freedom is found under authority. This principle focuses on the need for students to stay under the authorities that God has placed over them.
Discipline: Maximum freedom is found under God’s authority.
Critical Question: Are your students submitting to the authorities God has placed over them?
Key Passage: Romans 13: 1– 2
Principle #7: Others First
Selfishness comes naturally. Selflessness must be learned. The hallmark of believers is their willingness to put the needs of others ahead of their own. This principle addresses our students’ propensity toward selfishness and self-centeredness.
Discipline: Consider others before yourself.
Critical Question: Do your students consider others before themselves?
Key Passage: Philippians 2: 3– 11