The Biggest Loser: Discipleship Episode

Right now one of the most fascinating reality TV shows that is mesmerizing viewers every Tuesday night is The Biggest Loser and it has been rolling for nine seasons now. Have you seen those before and after photos from the show? They are amazing! They take some of the most obese, undisciplined people in the United States and train them, teach them, and give them the confidence and skills to not only change their weight but their lives. I love that about the show but hate the unimaginably long and drawn out weigh-ins that make the show practically unwatchable in my opinion… unless you DVR the show.

The contestants on The Biggest Loser all tell a version of the same story: I knew I had a weight problem, I knew that I didn’t eat healthy, I knew that I needed to exercise, I knew that I needed to change but I just couldn’t seem to ever it do it. Then the trainers, Bob and Jillian, FORCE them to change. And in a few weeks the contestants discover they CAN change. And eventually they leave the ranch and CONTINUE the transformation.

Just about everyone recognizes that they need to eat healthy and workout to be healthy. Yet many people do neither. They know they should. And they want to do both. But when it comes to action time, they never get around to doing either.

Following Christ is exactly the same. The concepts are, for the most part, pretty simple. Our students know what they should be doing to follow Christ. They agree that they should be doing those things. Most would even say they WANT to do those things. Yet, they just don’t get around to actually doing the things that lead them towards being transformed by Christ.

Mission trips are like the Ranch at The Biggest Loser. It is the place where students are FORCED by the situations on the trip to spend time in listening prayer, dig into scripture, support, encourage one another, and share the gospel with others. During the trip they discover that they CAN change! They can hear God speak to them through the Bible and listening prayer. They can be used to encourage another believer. They can share the gospel with someone else and lead them to put their trust in Christ. And when we return home they CONTINUE the process of transformation through Christ.

In the same way that The Biggest Loser contestants need the ranch to lose weight and change their lifestyle habits; many students need a mission trip to gain spiritual weight and change their discipleship habits. That’s why mission trips have played a significant role in the process of discipleship in my youth ministry. Students NEED the spiritual workout that a mission trip offers to help them change their heart and lives.