A woman called an airline customer-service desk asking if she could take her dog onboard.
“Sure,” the representative said, “as long as you provide your own kennel.” He further explained that the kennel needed to be large enough for the dog to stand up, sit down, turn around and roll over. The customer replied, “I’ll never be able to teach him all of that by tomorrow!”
In life it is easy to get confused and overthink a situation. A problem that requires a simple solution can turn into a science experiment of sorts trying to figure out how to best handle a situation. Take weight loss, for instance. The consumer market is overrun by complicated solutions to weight loss—diet pills, strange exercise programs and odd meal plans, to name a few—when the answer to weight loss is rather simple: Eat less calories than what it takes to maintain body weight. That’s it.
Try This! ❯
Try taking five minutes this week to share a story about how you, one of your students or leaders is sharing their faith with others.
Over complication isn’t just a problem with dieting, but with youth ministry as well. We set all sorts of goals and begin implementing new strategies only to be stuck in a messy web of work with no real direction. The natural reaction is to continue to adjust until something works. We think to ourselves, “Maybe if I work harder things will pan out.” But sometimes the answer is staring at us all along: Focus on the gospel. This is the key to any Gospel Advancing Ministry aiming to multiply.
The obvious truth about multiplication
Read whichever church planting or ministry growth strategy book you’d like and you’ll soon find an overworked list of everything you should be doing in order to grow. Things like free food, rock music, video games, short sermons, mailers, a modern building design and videos are all likely to appear. While those ideas can help the curb appeal of any ministry, it isn’t what truly brings about multiplication. Jesus is what brings about multiplication.
The church has been around for nearly two millennia and it’s not because Christians throw the best potlucks. No, the church grew from a tiny Jewish sect to a global movement because Jesus is greater than the world. Make every part of your ministry focused on this truth. It is His gospel message, after all, that will penetrate a person’s soul and change it from death to life.The gospel message strikes at the core of every person who is willing enough to listen. Click To Tweet
Scripture illuminates Christ
Paul emphasized a gospel-focused view of Scripture when writing to Timothy. He said, “You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). He wanted Timothy to see the value of knowing Scripture, since it makes sense of Christ. Scriptures illuminates Christ and His work for humanity.
Everything points to the cross
A discipleship multiplication strategy, therefore, is not meant to just grow a church numerically—it is meant to transform a church spiritually. This is what gospel advancement is about. Let your multiplication strategy be an outpouring of your desire for gospel advancement. Do this by preaching the gospel faithfully each week. When you write out your message, figure out a way to make it point to the cross. And teach your students how to do the same with their friends. If you need help, check out Dare 2 Share’s curriculum Shine, which teaches students to reach students with the hope of Jesus, or download one of our Youth Group 2 Go messages, which lays out the gospel in each message.
A simple way of directing a message toward Christ is by looking for the common thread in whatever text of Scripture you are in. For example, take the story of David and Goliath. You could discuss how David was the only one able to face the giant Philistine. How? Because he, despite the rejection of men, had the power of God living in him, and was on a mission to glorify God’s name. What a powerful illustration of how Christ, the unlikely hero of His time, would one day stand in front of a bigger giant—sin—and defeat it for the sake of all humanity.
Multiplying a ministry through practicality
The gospel message strikes at the core of every person who is willing enough to listen. Even if a storm knocked down the youth room, the practical message of the gospel still has the power to reel students in, because the gospel connects with them in a deeper level than any flaming poodle service (i.e., entertainment driven service) ever will.
In your messages add practical, real-life examples of how the gospel is impacting your life and the lives of others. Try keeping gospel stories on the forefronts of their mind by taking five for THE Cause each week. This will help them see how a simple message like the gospel has the power to radically transform the lives of their friends.
Video games can bring them; music can bring them; free food can bring them; but only the gospel will transform them. Don’t let yourself get confused by all the fluff. If there is one thing and only one thing you can aim to do well, it should be to lovingly share the gospel with your students. No need to teach any dogs or your youth how to stand up, sit down, turn around and roll over all in one day—just focus on the gospel.
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!