The world has suffered much during the last year. Political rivalries within America, terrorist attacks around the world, and natural disasters that leave families homeless and hurting all tug at our hearts. Turning on the news can be an instant pill of depression. Each of us wonders if things will ever get better, or why bad things happen to begin with? At times, it can be hard to show up to youth group after a tragedy. Playing games and hanging out can feel like a veneer is being placed over the mess that is life. How do we handle struggle while still maintaining a healthy, energetic, fun and gospel-centered youth ministry? By knowing our mission.
While youth ministry can look different depending on what state you’re in, what church you visit and the time of year, the mission of the church remains the same: The church is called to fulfill THE Cause of Christ (Matthew 28:19). That’s why every Gospel Advancing Ministry needs a bold vision that is focused on Christ and His commission to the church. This may seem too simple to be true, but if we understand well what the gospel is about, then we can come to appreciate the simplicity of THE Cause. A vision centered on Christ and His Cause changes everything, because the gospel is the answer to every twisted, broken and hurting aspect of this world we inhabit.
Try This! ❯
In your next youth gathering, include one of the three gospel truths in the message, and then teach the GOSPEL acrostic.
Here are three eye-opening, wonderful truths that show how the gospel is the answer to the brokenness around us.
1. The Gospel Brings Equality
The first century world struggled with racial and religious inequality. Societies clashed over their different religious and ethnic backgrounds and, tragically, would often resort to violence—problems we still face to this day. Yet when Paul was writing to the Galatian church, he advocated for equality in a time where people did not care to reconcile differences. He wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, NIV11). This timeless truth can help students lead the way in bringing about equality. It teaches them to see no dividing lines between race, class or gender.
2. The Gospel Advances Justice
As a youth leader, I regularly have to deal with the false caricatures given to Christians. That is, in the secular world students hear all sorts of tales about Christianity. For instance, it’s common to hear others speak of Christianity as a naïve, bigoted, self-righteous religion that only spreads judgmental hate. For youth, this can be a roadblock for faith. Students don’t want to be thought of negatively, and so it becomes difficult for them to want to identify as being a Christian because of the baggage that comes with the name. But Christianity is not a judgmental religion—at least not in the critical sense. Jesus said, “Look beneath the surface so you can judge correctly” (John 7:24). Christians who follow this Scripture well can further advance justice, because justice comes when we look at a situation rightly and commit to creating positive change. And historically Christians have led the way in bringing about social justice. Take William Wilberforce who in the 18th century revolutionized Britain.
Wilberforce donated a large portion of his income to the poor and founded groups like the Church Missionary Society, Antislavery Society and Cause of the Poor. By 1807, his efforts led to the abolition of slave trade in the British Empire. Wilberforce’s passion for social justice stemmed out of his deeply rooted Christian convictions. Students, in a similar way, can be inspired to envision gospel-centered justice. All it takes is one generation believing they can make a difference. While you craft your talks, try taking the time to include creative thinking during the application. You could have students come up with strategies for furthering justice within their own context.
3. The Gospel Answers Everything
When sin entered the world, it radically changed the environment. Sin brought about death, destruction and all sorts of pain. As youth leaders, we must strive to mobilize our Christian students to passionately pursue their unreached friends with the message of the gospel because it is ultimately the only hope that the world has. No other philosophy, resource or movement can change the world for the better like the gospel message can. How does the gospel accomplish this? By addressing the root problem: sin.
No other philosophy, resource or movement can change the world for the better like the gospel. Click To Tweet
Train your students to effectively communicate the gospel. An easy way of doing this is by incorporating the GOSPEL acrostic. To fully equip your students in how to share their faith using the acrostic, consider going through some of our gospel-centered video curriculum like Shine and Life in 6 Words: The Gospel Explored. Students who are trained to share the gospel will multiply your ministry’s efforts quicker than any self-led strategy (See The Happily Dispensable Youth Leader).
Until Christ comes again, the world will continue to suffer tragedies because of sin, but that doesn’t mean Christians cannot strive to better the world. Each of the above reasons demonstrates why gospel advancement matters. Let your bold vision ambitiously reach others for Christ in order to bring about transformation within the world. Keep it simple. Preach the gospel and your students will see the beauty of Christianity and how its wonderful truths are the answer to everything.
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, weekly resource in your inbox!