They think the youth leadership team will do it for them – If all we do is preach Matthew 28:19-20, but don’t push them to take action they will always expect us to do it for them. And when they only invite and bring their friends to youth group, but never actually talk about Jesus and their faith in him alone, they will always expect us to do the evangelism for them. As leaders we need to do more than just start the fire in our teens, we need to keep the fire going and bring it to a full inferno blaze. Think about, what happens when a wildfire is set in a forest. It spreads quickly and it’s hard to stop. We need to do more then preach, we need to disciple our teens to evangelize. We need to pray they are set on fire with the Holy Spirit.
They are afraid of rejection – It’s that point when you begin to share your faith in Christ and the person cuts you off before you even have a chance to get into the meat of the gospel story. The mere mention of Jesus’ name sends them throwing up the proverbial “talk to the hand” and running in any direction away from you, leaving you with that uncomfortable knot in the pit of your stomach called rejection. The truth is, not everyone is going to accept the message of the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18), but we should never give up. Jesus faced rejection in his hometown (Mark 6:1-6) yet he continued his ministry. Did Jesus feel the pain of rejection like you and I? Absolutely! He was human in every way and felt pain just like you and I. Jesus knew he’d face rejection all the way to the cross. You and I need to KNOW that we’ll continue to face rejection when sharing our faith. But Jesus said, “Anyone who comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37) The one who experienced the ultimate rejection of death on a cross will welcome ANYONE.
They lack the confidence – All of us at some point has and will experience moments where our confidence level is low. Just the other day I didn’t feel confident enough that I was able to complete something I had never done before in my life, but a close friend took a moment and offered some encouraging words and advise. His encouragement gently pushed me to do what I felt I was not confident to complete. Think of your students as a team and you’re their coach. As youth leaders sometimes we need to be a Barnabas to our students, encouraging them as they continue to learn how to share their faith with their friends.
They don’t know how to bring it up – I’ve been in this spot before and I know you have as well. How do you make the transition in conversation from talking about the weather to Jesus? This takes intentional thinking and listening on our parts. In Acts 8; Philip took time to listen to the Ethiopian and find out what he was interested in, this gave Phillip an opening to bring up a conversation about Jesus. Our teens need to learn how to listen and discover what interests their friends. They need to become relational when sharing their faith. But they also need to be relentless by driving the conversation towards Jesus.
They are afraid they don’t know enough – This goes back to our part as leader’s, discipling and training our teens to share their faith. If they are growing deep in their faith then sharing it will get easier every time. They don’t need to be biblical scholars and/or attend seminary. They just need to be growing in their relationship with Christ. The more you know about someone, the more your able to share who they are to others.
They are afraid they will be labeled as…religious – When I first started sharing my faith with my atheist neighbor he immediately labeled me a religious nut, but as he got to know me better he’s come to realize I’m not a religious nut, but rather a Jesus freak. He’s still a professed atheist and I pray for him all the time, but his view of me changed because he got to know me, a guy who love’s Jesus and lives to have a relationship instead of following a set of man made rules labeled religion. When our teens share the love of Christ instead of religion, not everyone will label them as a religious nut. When sharing our faith we need to show people our hearts and true intentions.
It’s not lived out in their homes & churches – This is simple and doesn’t require a long explanation. Bottom-line if Mom and Dad aren’t modeling it and the church isn’t modeling it, our teens won’t be doing it.
What are some excuses “other you know” give for not sharing the gospel? What’s their excuse?