If I were to choose a bumper sticker slogan for my life it would probably be “The power of the Gospel and the potential of teens.”
My entire family was reached through a youth ministry (disguised as a church) 40+ years ago. A rogue preacher from the deep south whose nickname was “Yankee” reached my rough and tumble urban family with the power of the Gospel. Yankee laid the Gospel out clearly and straightforwardly to my body-building, street fighting uncles. And one-by-one they said “yes” to Jesus. Along with my uncles, my aunts, cousins and, eventually, my mom came to Christ.
The power of the Gospel had transformed us all.
Although Yankee was the Lead Pastor at Colorado Bible Church, he was a youth leader at heart. Everyone who came to his church knew it. At one point there were over 800 teenagers attending the youth group and only 200-300 adults attending the church!
Yankee believed in the potential of teenagers. He was convinced that teenagers came to Christ quicker and could spread the Gospel faster and farther than adults. He invested his life in mobilizing teenagers to reach teenagers with the message of Jesus.
I was one of the teenagers he mobilized. After seeing how God used him to change the entire trajectory of my family, I was all in. And, by God’s grace, I’ve been all in ever since for the power of the Gospel and potential of teens.
Thirty years ago we started Dare 2 Share with the vision of seeing “every teen everywhere hear the Gospel from a friend.”
Why teenagers? Because God loves to use the unlikely to accomplish the impossible so that he gets all of the glory!
“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.” 1 Corinthians 1:26-29
Why the Gospel? Because “it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes….” Romans 1:16
Yesterday, I had a great conversation with my old friend Ron Luce (Founder of Acquire the Fire and Teen Mania.) We talked about trends and the future of the church. He shared with me that he is seeing models of exponential growth where lead pastors are strategically focusing on reaching, discipling and mobilizing teenagers for Christ. I shared with him that it was one of those kinds of ministries that reached me and my entire family decades ago.
It was a great affirmation of my unofficial life slogan, “The power of the Gospel and potential of teens.” BTW, Stay tuned for the upcoming podcast he and I recorded on this crucial subject.
If this post sparks something in your heart then I encourage you to go to Dare2share.org right now to find out how you can join the growing Gospel Advancing movement of youth leaders around the globe who are doubling down on the power of the Gospel and potential of teens. Tell your pastor and church leaders about it and invite them to jump on board this movement with you.
It’s time for a revolution in youth ministry. It’s time to move from meeting driven (or worse yet Zoom-driven :/ ) to mission driven! It’s time to move from typical youth ministry to transformational youth ministry. It’s time to move from youth ministry being viewed as a necessary evil by the church to a strategic focus of the church.
It’s time to embrace the power of the Gospel and potential of teens!