Evangelism Myth #4: Of course evangelism is a priority. I do a monthly (or quarterly, or yearly) outreach meeting.
Should you “program” evangelism into your youth ministry? Absolutely! We all know the old adage—you program your priorities.
But a deceptive myth has grown up around the traditional “outreach meeting” approach to youth ministry evangelism. There is a widely held misconception that if you do a monthly (or quarterly) outreach meeting, you can put a check mark by “Evangelism” on your to do list and leave it at that.
And nothing could be further from the truth. Evangelism is not a line item on your programming checklist, it’s a lifestyle.
It’s a Jesus-driven lifestyle.
Becoming Like Jesus
In Luke 19:10 Jesus lays out His mission: “For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
So if we want to be like Jesus, then we, too, must be on a constant search and rescue mission for the lost. His mission and message stand at the very center of His plan and purposes for us.
Again and again in the Scripture, we see Jesus telling his followers to go spread the word about God’s outrageous love and amazing grace. Here are just a few examples:
- “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19)
- “As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you” (John 20:21)
- “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19)
- “And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…” (Acts 1:8)
There’s no denying it—He’s describing a lifestyle for us here, not a monthly meeting.
Three Steps to Cultivating an Evangelistic Lifestyle
But maybe you think I’m preaching to the choir here. You already know all the “ought to’s” when it comes to evangelism. But it’s just not happening in your ministry. So here are three foundational steps that will help you set this mindset in motion in your own life and in your ministry:
- See people with Jesus’ eyes. “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36). Begin by cultivating a heart for the lost—a heart like Jesus. This starts with prayer and comes only through the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Pray for the lost. “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:38). As you pray for the lost and for workers to reach the lost, I have no doubt God will call to mind that you and your students are well-positioned to be just such workers on high school and middle school campuses all across the country.
- Reach out to people passionately. “Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn’t preach the Good News” (1 Corinthians 9:16, NLT). Notice the phrase “compelled by God.” Compelled is a beautiful word here. It evokes the sense that there’s really no other option. If you begin to see people with Jesus’ eyes and start praying for the lost and for workers to reach the lost, then the Spirit of Jesus will sweep you along to become part of His search and rescue mission.
Programming for an Evangelist Lifestyle
Sure, programming will be a part of helping your students live an evangelist lifestyle. In fact, as you strive to debunk the “silo-effect” of e-myth #4 in your ministry, I highly recommend you check out 3 Keys That Will Unleash Your Teens for Christ’s Cause. It’s packed with hands on ideas for how to program evangelism into your ministry week in and week out.
I’d also encourage you to check out Lead THE Cause University, Dare 2 Share’s intensive evangelism training week for students and youth leaders. Start planning now to join us in Colorado July 14-20, 2013. This is a dynamic, fast-paced, life-changing week of serious evangelism training, and will definitely help you and your teens move into an evangelism lifestyle mindset.
Debunk e-Myth #4 by remembering that the heart of effective evangelism is a Christ-like, prayerful, daily pursuit of the lost. Start thinking of life as a missions trip. When this is real in us, it will begin to become real in our teenagers, as well.
Have you ever thought of life as a missions trip? Does this outlook ring true to you? Why or why not?