Is it time to approach your church governing board and ask for hazardous duty pay? Perhaps!
If you’re serious about building a thriving Gospel Advancing Ministry where teenagers are reaching teenagers with the gospel, it IS hazardous duty. Because you’ve entered a battle zone. Whenever you take direct aim at the kingdom of darkness, there’s inherent danger.
Richard Baxter, a Puritan preacher from hundreds of years ago once said, “Satan will seek to do the most harm to those who seek to do his kingdom the most damage.” In other words, Satan will target those who have targeted him. The more serious and successful you are when it comes to building a Gospel Advancing Ministry, the more prepared you should be to do spiritual battle.
Here are three keys to help you and your leaders stay focused on Gospel Advancement and avoid the slings and arrows.
1. Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
Experiencing the privilege of playing even a small part in seeing someone’s soul blasted out of darkness into His marvelous light is an incredible job perk for youth leaders. But multiplying your impact out by helping your leaders and students see this same kind of spiritual fruit in their own lives is even more rewarding. Never lose sight of the reality that you have the ability to influence the trajectory of young people’s impact for the Kingdom for their entire life. When you lay the foundation work for a life spent in service to the King’s calling to make disciples who make disciples, you’ve reached far beyond the walls of your youth room and far beyond the short years you have with a student. For help igniting and cementing a passion for the lost in your youth group sign your group for the Dare 2 Share LIVE event that’s happening all across the country on September 23, 2017.
2. Get Your Leadership Team Aligned
If you are laser-focused on seeing Gospel Advancement in and through your group, get ready for a potentially wild and crazy ride. Any change, by definition, can be challenging, but change that targets the turf of the evil one requires extra care and vigilance. As more and more of your annual calendar and weekly programming shifts toward Gospel Advancing ministry, recognize that some feathers are likely to get ruffled. Making disciples who make disciples upsets the status quo. Those involved in youth group solely for the fun and flirting will often squawk the loudest.
Gospel Advancing Youth Ministry requires a paradigm shift because…
Try This! ❯
At your next adult leadership meeting, prepare for spiritual battle by unpacking 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 together as a team.
It is revolutionary.
It is theological.
It is holistic.
It is missional.
It is dangerous.
That’s why team alignment with your key adult ministry leaders is essential. Invest the time it takes to get your key leaders onboard for Gospel Advancement and get them modeling a lifestyle of prayer and relational evangelism personally.
At your next adult leadership team meeting, remind your team that together you are in a battle for the souls of the young people in your community. Read the words of the apostle Paul in Ephesians together: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, NLT).
But don’t stop there! As a team, reflect on and be encouraged by Paul’s further admonition in 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 about the weapons God has provided us for this battle. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ” (NIV). Then discuss the following questions together:
- Which words in this passage communicate the imagery of battle?
- Are you convinced spiritual warfare is real? Why or why not?
- Do you think the spiritual battles we face are internal or external or both?
- Are there any specific spiritual battles we are facing with regard to our youth group?
- How do we avail ourselves of “the knowledge of God”?
- What does it mean to “take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ”? How can we do this better in our youth ministry context?
When you have leadership team alignment, you’re better able to respond when complaints bubble up from unhappy teenagers, upset parents or disgruntled church members who don’t approve of the “messiness” that comes when the tattooed and troubled start coming to your youth group. (One great online tool for building leadership team alignment is the free Gospelize Your Team video series. Check it out here.)
3. Danger! Danger! Danger! The Battle is Real
The more serious you are about rescuing souls from darkness, the harder the evil one will work to sabotage your efforts. You and your team may experience a full-on frontal attack or be subjected to the subtler weapons of discouragement and distraction.
So how do you stand up against the forces of darkness? You don’t! You drop to your knees and pray. In the words of Samuel Chadwick:
The one concern of the Devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.
As you and your team prayerfully push forward and continue building Gospel Advancing momentum, don’t be surprised when the evil one pushes back.
Keep your eyes on the prize, build and maintain your team alignment and stay prayed up. The battle is real. And the battle is for keeps—with eternal consequences.
The spiritual battle is real, so keep your eyes on the prize, align your team and stay prayed up. Click To Tweet
But it’s totally worth the sacrifice and the scars!
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!