Even if you as a youth leader are personally committed to building a Gospel Advancing youth ministry, it doesn’t take long before you figure that you can’t make it happen without a core contingent of your students onboard. So how do you go about getting some of your students excited about sharing their faith with those God has placed in their lives? Here are three key steps you can take that will help you nudge your students further down the faith-sharing road.
1. Let your students know that they are a walking, talking outreach meeting everywhere they go.
Your believing students are Christ’s ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:11-21)! Whether they know it or not, whether they want to be or not, they are. They represent Him to their unbelieving friends. Challenge them to consider whether they are being a good representative of Jesus or a poor one. Help them understand both the importance of their role and the urgency of the gospel.
Many teens have a hands-off attitude when it comes to engaging others on a spiritual level because they see spiritual conversations as inappropriate or intrusive. But in actuality, evangelism is an urgent search and rescue operation. It’s about reaching into other’s lives with Jesus’ grace and truth and rescuing them from a life without hope or purpose. And it’s about rescuing them from an afterlife that will be even more difficult—an eternity spent separated from God in a place the Bible describes as unbearable and unending.
God has purposefully planted them in their circle of influence so they can reach into their friends’ lives with His love and His gospel message. Whether their peers know it or not, they need Jesus. At the core of every human is a gaping hole, a hole that can be temporarily filled with stuff, sports, or sin, to name a few of the most popular escapes. But the only thing that can truly and permanently fill that God-shaped hole is a relationship with Jesus. Life without God is like having a car without an engine or a cell phone without a service provider. It’s a relationship with God that gives us hope and meaning. Teens need to understand that they can help their peers fill that invisible, unquenchable need for God by sharing the gospel with them.
But beyond the purpose and meaning that a relationship with Jesus provides in this life, your students must also grasp the eternal consequences. Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Your students need to see that their peers’ eternal destiny hangs in the balance.
2. Show your students how to bring God up in conversations with their unbelieving friends.
You’re the coach, so teach them the basic skills that will help them grow more comfortable with bringing God up in conversations with their unbelieving friends who might not dream of darkening the doorway of a church youth room. Show them how to move ordinary conversations toward spiritual things. Here are a few examples of how to go about shifting a conversation about some of the tough stuff of life toward Jesus.
Try This! ❯
This week, coach your students on how to transition a conversation about the tough stuff of life into a deeper conversation about Jesus.
- Hurt Feelings. Teen lives are full of drama, which means hurt feelings are an all-too-frequent topic of conversation. So here’s a natural segue to a deeper conversation: “When I’m hurting, one of the things I do is pray. It helps me to talk things through with God. Do you have the kind of relationship with God where you feel like you can talk to Him about this kind of stuff?”
- Relationship Troubles. When talking with a friend about relationship problems, they might say something like, “Sometimes relationships can be really tough, but the one relationship I can always count on is my relationship with God… Did you know God wants a personal relationship with you?”
- Tragedy or Loss. Whether it’s a school shooting in the news, a local traffic accident or the death of a grandparent, teenagers are processing loss and death. Conversation-shifting questions can help your students move a conversation toward God. Encourage them to try thought-provoking questions like: “What do you think happens after you die?” or “Do you believe in heaven?” “What do you think it takes to get to heaven after you die? …Would it surprise you to know that Jesus taught that we can’t earn our way to heaven by living a good life?”
3. Equip your students to share the gospel in a clear and compelling way.
Ultimately, the point of a spiritual conversation is to eventually get to the message of the gospel! All of your believing students need to know how to explain the message of the gospel clearly. Prepare them so they’re ready to concisely explain the key points of Jesus’ message of grace. There are a number of sound training approaches for sharing the gospel, so choose the one you like best; then train your students with it. At Dare 2 Share Ministries, we’ve found that the GOSPEL acrostic works well with teenagers.
The acrostic is not intended to be a script that’s read, but rather, to provide the basic building blocks necessary for a clear and effective presentation of the message of salvation. So be sure your students understand that the key points should be woven into a conversation in a way that is relevant and meaningful for the situation at hand.
As you motivate and mobilize your students to share their faith with their friends, tap into the cause-centric world your teenagers inhabit and unleash them for THE Cause of causes. Teach them to continually rely on God’s power and promises as they boldly take up His Cause and share His message in their schools and communities, spreading it in an unstoppable Gospel Advancing Movement across their interconnected generation. Until every teen everywhere hears the gospel from a friend.
God has purposefully planted you in your circle of influence so you can reach into your friends’ lives with His love and His gospel message. Click To Tweet
With passion, prayer and a little preparation, they can rock their world for Jesus! And remember that here at Dare 2 Share, we stand ready with a wide range of events and resources that can help you get your student excited about sharing their faith.
Want more practical advice on mobilizing your teens to share the gospel? All of our Mobilize stories offer great ideas for training your students and building a Gospel Advancing Ministry. Sign up here to receive this free, hands-on, resource in your inbox!