Do you ever feel like you’re little more than a glorified activities director? As a youth leader, it’s all too easy to fall into this trap, even though what you really want to do is impact students for Jesus and leave a legacy of eternal significance for Christ and His Cause.
Mr. Bill Freund was just such a youth leader. So his burning desire to see lasting impact in his students’ lives motivated him to take a hard look and honestly evaluate his youth ministry efforts. That’s why a few years back, Mr. Bill asked himself a couple very challenging questions: “Is our student ministry producing fruit—biblical outcomes with long-lasting impact? Or are we just producing apathetic students who’ve had a few fun memories along the way?”
More Than a Social Club
Mr. Bill came to realize that there’s a big difference between what you’re doing week after week and month after month, and what is actually getting done. It’s the difference between activities that fill our schedules vs. activities that yield long-term spiritual impact. He wanted to do more than provide a social club for Christian teenagers.
Try This! ❯
Text one student today and tell them you are praying for them. Encourage them to share their faith with a friend sometime this week.
I’m sure that’s true for you too!
Jesus’ promise is clear. “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Jesus promises that we will bear much fruit—if we remain in Him and He in us. How do we do that? Through prayer, of course. And through plugging into the power of His Holy Spirit moment by moment. But another way we do that is by programming His priorities into our daily lives, into our ministries, into our calendars and into our weekly rundown sheets!
Everything we do as youth workers should drive toward fruit that lasts. And advancing the gospel in order to fulfill Jesus’ call to make disciples who make disciples is most definitely fruit that lasts!
Strengthen Your Focus
So how do you go about making your youth ministry efforts count for eternity? It takes focus, focus, focus.
1. Focus on the urgency of communicating the gospel.
2. Focus on your students’ fluency when it comes to understanding and communicating a clear, complete and compelling gospel message.
3. Focus on a gospel advancing strategy within your own youth ministry context that advances gospel both in and through your students.
Here are three questions that will help you strengthen your focus and program your priorities as you finish out this school year and look toward your summer ministry calendar:
1. Gospel Urgency: What specific elements of this event will help inspire our students to keep intercessory prayer for their unreached friends and/or relational evangelism front and center?
2. Gospel Fluency: What training or coaching do we need to incorporate into this event so that our students are better equipped to talk about Jesus and His gospel message with their friends who don’t know Him personally?
3. Gospel Strategy: What practical application can we fold into this event that will challenge our teenagers to relationally advance the gospel in their circles of influence in the coming week?
With every event you plan, remember to run it through these three questions in as your “gospel advancing grid.” Look for ways that you can “gospelize” each event so that some aspect of gospel urgency, gospel fluency and/or gospel strategy is woven into it.
There’s nothing wrong with fun activities that build great memories. Fun is good. But there’s nothing more fun in youth ministry than seeing teenagers leading teenagers to Christ! So gospelize every event and infuse it with a deeper purpose—a gospel advancing purpose!
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