In our “live and let live culture,” it can be easy to sweep the e-word under the rug. Yet Jesus has charged us with spreading His good news and carrying forth His Cause of making disciples who make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). If we genuinely want to follow Christ, we simply have to take evangelism seriously in our life and ministry.
Which leads to Question #2 in our Top Ten Questions series: How do I begin to shift the climate of my youth group toward making evangelism a bedrock priority?
Climate Change: The Good Kind
While you’re the final expert on what will work best in your setting, here are few practical, tactical, first steps that can help you begin to shift the climate in your group toward making evangelism a higher priority:
- Total Commitment! Are you totally convinced that evangelism should be a bedrock priority? Have a serious conversation with Jesus about whether you’re committed to taking evangelism to the next level in your ministry. Make it personal. Are you burning to reach the lost? Do your teenagers see it in your life? Identify one person you haven’t shared the gospel with yet and determine to begin the conversation this week.
- Focus. Begin to focus your ministry by always asking the question, “Is this event, study or trip going to in some way help my students learn to live out THE Cause of making disciples who make disciples?
- Cast the Vision. Our teens are hungry for purpose and meaning in their lives. They’re waiting for a cause to live for that can transform their world. And the very act of unleashing them to carry the ultimate cause—THE Cause of Christ to make disciples who make disciples—into their world will compel them to grow deeper in their understanding of who God is and His call upon their lives.
- Take 5 for THE Cause of Evangelism. Get your teens trained to share the gospel and challenge them to do it. Then set aside five minutes in every meeting to focus on evangelism. Spend a couple minutes having one teen share a story of what they’re doing to reach their friends, whether their story is good, bad or ugly. Then challenge the other teens in your group to share their faith too. Invest a couple minutes each meeting to give the gospel and invite students to put their faith and trust in Jesus.
- Ignite Your Teenagers with a Catalytic Event. Evangelism-focused events like conferences or retreats can be instrumental in shifting the tone of a group by triggering a spiritual passion to reach the lost. Dare 2 Share LIVE is an example of this type of evangelism training catalyst. This one-day, simulcast event brings Jesus’ call, “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Matthew 4:19) to life for teenagers. As your students join 50,000 other teens across the nation to have 300,000 gospel conversations in one day, they’ll get motivated and mobilized to reach their friends with the gospel.
- Be persistent. Tie evangelism into as many talks as you can. Have your teens identify everyone in their circle of friends who needs to hear the gospel. Then hold them accountable and ask them to do the same with you.
So take a moment to determine how you can make evangelism a higher priority in your ministry and then drag that e-word out from under the rug and get ready to see God work!