Our teenagers inhabit a world where spiritual beliefs are fluid and worldviews often get mixed and mashed together like a smoothie in a blender. Teenagers (and adults) increasingly like their spirituality customized to their personal taste…sort of like a “God-made-in-your-own-image” smorgasbord.
It’s a tempting proposition, isn’t it? Want to believe God’s like this? Go ahead. Imagine Him exactly like you want Him to be. No problem… after all, if you believe all paths lead to God, what’s the difference? Absolute truth? What’s that? “I’m standing in MY truth” is the newest mantra.Our teenagers inhabit a world where spiritual beliefs are fluid and truth is a four letter word. Click To Tweet
Navigating the Shifting Terrain
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Using the questions at the end of this Mobilize, take inventory of where you and your teens are at using 2 Timothy 4:1-2 as your benchmark. Then hatch a plan for the summer that moves your ministry forward.
Is biblical truth out of vogue in this era of fake news and dueling realities? If we’re honest, it can sometimes feel like it. So what’s a youth leader to do, in order to help their students navigate this shifting spiritual terrain?
Jesus said, “I am THE way and THE truth and THE life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” So despite the current cultural aversion to truth—or perhaps precisely because of it—it’s more important than ever that your students fully grasp the core message of the gospel. It’s critical that they have both the loving concern and the gritty determination needed to unashamedly stand in that truth as they seek to help their unreached friends bump into Jesus.
How can you prepare them for these kinds of challenging conversations?
Encourage your teens to take time to ask questions, listen and discover what their friends really believe. We call it Ask, Admire, Admit. We must take time to dig deep by asking questions and listening to what others really believe, why they are really hurting and where they are at when it comes to God. We have got to get to the emotional core of their worldview. We do that by asking questions, listening and admiring what we can about other’s beliefs. Coach your students to take the time to truly listen to what their friends really believe. When Paul tells Timothy to “preach the Word,” he tells him to do so “…with great patience and careful instruction.” Because love is our ultimate apologetic.
Some of your students may not feel ready for these kinds of spiritual conversations. They may feel like they should have all the answers to all the tough questions. Let them know they don’t need to know it all. Because they know the One who does…Jesus Christ. So encourage them to jump into spiritual conversations. And if they get stumped, encourage them to go to gotquestions.org or come to you! Then when you don’t know the answers either…just tell your teens, “I don’t know, but let’s find out together.” Then do it!
Challenge your teens to share the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 1:16 says, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.” Did you catch that? The gospel is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. So encourage and equip your teenagers to “admit” their need for a Savior and talk about the gospel, regardless of where their friends are coming from…just remind them to listen as much as they talk!
As the school year ramps down, your students’ free time and availability ramp up. So don’t let a “summer slack-off” mindset keep you from making the most this summer window when students have more time to kickback and talk about life and purpose and God and faith. Take inventory of where you and your teens are at using 2 Timothy 4:1-2 as your benchmark and hatch a plan for the summer that moves your Gospel Advancing Ministry forward. Remember that this verse doesn’t just apply to you as a youth leader, it applies to your students, as well, as disciples of Jesus!
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction (2 Timothy 4:1-2).
- Are your teens prepared to share the gospel? (For help, check out A 4 Minute Crash Course in Sharing Your Faith.)
- Do they know how to initiate spiritual conversations? (For help, check out Salt.)
- Have you coached them on how to respond to their friends with “great patience”? (For help, check out the free Ask, Admire, Admit video.)
- How’s your own reservoir of “great patience” holding up these days, personally?
- Do the words “careful instruction” fit your teaching approach? Are your own teaching materials thoughtfully and carefully prepared to help your students share their faith and live out THE Cause of Christ? (For help, check out Shine.)
- Are your teens prepared to provide “careful instruction” to their friends about how to put their trust in Christ? Are they motivated and equipped to share the best news on the planet with their friends? (For help, check out Dare 2 Share LIVE, coming your way September 23, 2017.)
These are times of great challenge and opportunity when it comes to ministering to youth. Make the most of your summer!
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!