Nearly 60% of non-Christian American teens are open to learning about their peers’ spiritual beliefs, according to a 2021 Barna research study. That means Christian teens have a great opportunity to share the Gospel with their friends who hold different worldviews and belief systems—which can be both exciting and intimidating.
As youth pastors, we can prepare teens by giving them a general overview of various common religions and worldviews (click here for a great resource to help you with this), but it can be overwhelming for both them and us to try to be experts in every belief system we might encounter. In fact, trying to do so can ultimately lead to more problems than solutions.
There’s a better way. As an illustration, consider the experts who spot counterfeit money. They’re trained to know the real currency inside and out. That way, when a fake bill is presented, they can recognize it because they’ve spent so much time looking at the real thing.
This same principle applies to teaching students about witnessing to people of other religions. While knowing some aspects of other worldviews can be helpful, it’s not vital to sharing their faith. Instead, focus on teaching teens truths about Jesus and the Gospel, as revealed in Scripture, so they can clearly and thoroughly explain what they believe.
At Dare 2 Share, we have a simple tool to help students share their faith in Jesus with people of different beliefs. We call it Ask – Admire – Admit. Here’s what it looks like:
Teach students to first ask questions, so they can understand where the other person is coming from and what their beliefs about God are. This is a great comradery builder, because people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Asking good questions and being a good listener is the best way to start these conversations.
Encourage students to then admire what they can about what the other person believes. This builds common ground and shows that they’re listening and not simply wanting to interject with their beliefs. A great example of this would be admiring a Muslim’s dedication to prayer. It’s important to teach students that admiring something about another person’s beliefs doesn’t mean they agree with them. Instead it shows that they’ve been listening, and that they care more about the person than about just getting to their point.
Next, instruct students to establish even more common ground by admitting that they need Jesus too—that they’ve made plenty of mistakes and were need of being rescued. This provides a great segue for them to share their testimony of how Jesus saved them, explaining the clear Gospel in the process. Remind them that their personal story is effective because no one can deny it and it shows that salvation is personal.
Learning the Ask – Admire – Admit approach as a guideline for Gospel conversations will prepare students to interact with people of all types of worldviews. Remind them that asking questions and being a good listener goes a long way, admiring something about another person’s beliefs establishes common ground, and admitting that they needed Jesus to rescue them demonstrates humility and that the Gospel is something everyone must respond to personally.