Every youth pastor envisions a thriving youth ministry. One where students are on fire for Jesus, living out scripture, and proclaiming the Gospel boldly with their lips and actions. But how do you get there?
We believe there are seven steps, all outlined in our blog How to Grow a Thriving Youth Ministry, but today we’re honing in on step one: prayer. Specifically, four ways of praying for a successful, evangelistic youth group, because intercessory prayer is the engine of a youth ministry that advances the Gospel.
So, how do you pray for evangelistic revival in your youth ministry?
- Pray privately for your youth group to be evangelistic.
- Pray with your youth leaders about evangelism in your ministry.
- Pray with your youth group about evangelism.
- Get the whole church to pray for an evangelistic youth ministry.
Let’s dive into these four powerful ways to pray.
1. Pray Privately for Your Youth Group to be Evangelistic
Have you ever asked someone to pray for a situation before praying for it yourself? Guilty! Before you begin talking with other people about your vision for a youth ministry that actively shares Christ, pray about it privately and regularly. Trust that while you pray on your own, the Lord is preparing the hearts of those you’re going to talk to.
What should you be praying for?
Pray to be a Youth Pastor Who Models Evangelism
When we talk about our third Gospel Advancing Ministry value, leadership, we always bring up what Jesus said in Luke 6:40, “Students are not greater than their teacher. But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.” You need to be evangelizing in your personal life to build a youth ministry of students who regularly share Jesus.
Now, you don’t need to be a fearless evangelist who’s led many to the Lord. To ironically quote a shoe brand named after a false goddess, “Just Do It.” Pray to be able to push through your fear and talk with your neighbor about Jesus. If it’s not fear that’s holding you back, pray to have compassion for those who may one day be separated from God forever.
Whatever your barrier, beg the Lord to help you overcome it and be an example for your students. Pray that you can regularly speak with students about your witnessing conversations (the good, the bad, and the ugly). Pray they learn from your mistakes and progress. Ask the Lord to show you how to encourage and train your students to share the Gospel within their circle of friends.
Pray Against Spiritual Warfare Against in Youth Ministry
While most youth pastors want students who share their faith, Satan probably rests peacefully knowing a majority of them won’t actually take the steps to build a youth ministry dedicated to the Great Commission. Be aware that the enemy and his minions will not be pleased about what you’re doing and will try to dig their claws deeper into a generation they’re already influencing.
Students all of a sudden will get slammed with extra-curricular activities that leave them too busy for church. Leaders may find it harder to resist temptations and eventually be asked to step down. Tragedies like sickness or serious injury might even strike your ministry. It’s not fun to think about and may even sound a little hokey. But remember – Satan isn’t just interested in your youth group. He’s after the souls your students could lead to the Lord, and the ones those students will disciple, and so on. You’re not the only youth pastor taking these steps, so you should expect that old serpent to have a game plan. Yours needs to be better, and it will be with the Final Victor on your side.
Pray that God will prepare you for spiritual warfare. Ask Him to strengthen your heart, give you peace, and increase your faith. Plead with Him to help you memorize scripture to lean on during the battle. Pray that the first thing you’ll do when tested is cry out to your Father. And thank Him already for the solutions He’s prepared for every problem.
Pray for Youth Leaders That Are Evangelistic
You’re not a one-man show. And if you are, you shouldn’t be. No matter how tiny your youth group is, you always need youth leaders (either students or adults). But youth leaders aren’t glorified babysitters. You want leaders on your team who are just as onboard with your vision as you are and who are interested in growing as an evangelist.
Pray for wisdom and discernment about your youth leaders. Who needs to be poured into more? Who might really struggle with evangelism? Pray that the Lord shows you who should join your ministry. And pray for each of your leaders that they not only evangelize in their personal lives but can show students how to do it too.
Pray for Your Students By Name to Evangelize
We hope that, regardless of your youth group’s size, you know the names of all your students and that you’re praying for them individually. Make that a goal if you don’t! Then go beyond that. Who are they trying to witness to? What are their biggest struggles when it comes to evangelism?
Pray for your students by name to share Jesus with their loved ones. Pray they’re beacons of light in their schools and group activities and that they attract others to Christ. Pray for their friends and family members by name who aren’t saved yet. Ask God to help them overcome their evangelism struggles and for Him to use you to help.
2. Pray with Your Leaders About Evangelism in Your Ministry
Now it’s time to talk to others. Besides your family and friends, who should be the next people you ask to pray about this? Your leaders. An evangelistic youth ministry is a vision your youth leadership team should be united on.
Cast Your Vision to Your Youth Leaders
Before you pray with your leaders, tell them about your vision of reaching teenagers in your community through students who share the Gospel. Designate an entire meeting for this discussion. Let them know a week or so in advance that this will be a longer meeting and the first of many about this subject.
Prepare for this meeting by making notes, a slideshow, or whatever you need to articulate this vision. And make sure you leave time for group prayer.
Pray Together As a Team for an Evangelistic Youth Group
Pray regularly as a team for an evangelistic youth ministry. Be like the persistent widow in Luke 18 and keep “bugging” God about this! First, consistent prayer for evangelism keeps it at the forefront of your minds. Second, you’re not actually “bugging” God. There isn’t a magic number when it comes to petitions to God, and He is faithful to those who ask Him to show them how to lead others to Jesus.
Pray for your youth leaders by name right in front of them. Pray that God uses them to reach the lost and lead the younger generation to do the same. Be honest during prayer about your shortcomings and encourage your leaders to do the same, asking God as a team to help all of you. Take turns praying for the teens in your community, for your students to reach that community, and for your team to equip your students.
Create an Evangelism Prayer Board for Your Team and Students
To keep evangelism on the top of your team member’s minds, create a board covered in the names of your students and team (including yours). Dedicate this board for praying about evangelism. Use it as a reminder to pray for your team and students as they share the Gospel.
If you have a dedicated youth room, try using a corkboard that you can hang up on the wall. If you don’t have somewhere to hang it, use a tri-fold poster board. They’re easy to transport and can be placed on a table. The evangelism board will not only remind your team to pray for each other and the students, but the students to pray for each other and their leaders.
Have Youth Leaders Commit to Praying for Specific Leaders and Students
It might feel overwhelming to pray for all of your students regularly. We suggest breaking up your prayer list amongst yourself and leaders. Having each leader focus on certain students allows them to get to know that student better, pour into them, and know exactly what to pray for.
Also, have your leaders (including yourself!) take turns praying for each other in regard to personal evangelism and encouraging students to share the Gospel.
3. Pray With Your Students
A youth ministry that thrives is one that’s covered in prayer by both leaders and students. It’s so important to include your students in building an evangelistic youth ministry! When you include them in prayer for your ministry’s growth and impact, they will be more bought into the vision and feel ownership over the Gospel Advancing mission.
Preach a Sermon Series About Being an Evangelistic Youth Ministry
Becoming a youth group filled with students who actually talk to their friends about Jesus isn’t something you casually mention or preach about once. Students will need to hear you cast the vision repeatedly for it to sink in.
Plan to either base your sermons around evangelism or incorporate it into your sermons. There’s a plethora of evangelism topics you can preach on – the Great Commission, hell, fears, methods, tools, persecution, etc., and tons of Dare 2 Share resources to help you. Think of what you wish someone taught you about witnessing when you were a teenager. Think about what you wish you could learn now! You can start with asking students what their biggest evangelism obstacles are and base your lessons on their answers.
Break Into Small Groups to Pray About Reaching Teens in the Community
Put your sermons into action! A way to get students serious about sharing the Gospel is to have them pray about it. After you finish your message, ask students to separate into small groups and pray for those they know who don’t know Christ. Encourage them to not only pray for the salvation of friends and peers, but that they might be used to reach them with the Gospel message. Have your youth leaders facilitate small group prayer and ask students to pray about their biggest fears and obstacles in evangelism.
Create an Evangelism Board for Your Students’ Loved Ones
After your team creates a board reminding you to pray for your students, have your students make a different board. This board will be filled with the names of your students’ loved ones, friends, classmates, or teammates who they’re trying to witness to. Include the people you and your leaders are witnessing to as well. Like the first board, this can either be a cork board you hang up or a tri-fold you prop on a table. We’ve seen youth pastors get really creative with these types of engaging boards. And if it makes sense to combine the two boards, go for it!
Use the Life in 6 Words (LI6W) App
The evangelism prayer boards not only act as visual reminders but are inclusive to students who don’t have phones. However, we know many of your students do have phones, so encourage them to download the LI6W app and utilize the group feature. With the app, your youth group can track who they’re praying for to be saved, their Gospel conversations with others, and more! Check it out below.
Pray at Every Youth Meeting About Evangelism
Your sermon every week is a great place to start praying about evangelism with your students, but it shouldn’t be the only time! Make a point to pray about evangelism during every meeting, and instruct your leaders to incorporate it during small group sessions, regardless of what the current study is about. Use the evangelism board to remind everyone who they’re praying for by name.
4. Get the Whole Church to Pray for an Evangelistic Youth Ministry
Your vision for a successful youth ministry that reaches unsaved teens shouldn’t stay inside your youth group room. Your whole church body needs to know about it so they can pray, too. It may sound intimidating, but it’s important for your congregation, and especially parents of your students, to understand your youth ministry is dedicated to making a Kingdom impact.
Cast Your Vision to Senior Church Leaders
During your next church staff meeting, talk about your vision for the youth group. If possible, try to give people a heads-up before the meeting (if you have a meeting agenda, for example, include this subject in it). Speak with the senior church leaders about preaching your vision of an evangelistic youth group the next time you’re due to give a message to the congregation. Lastly, ask your staff to pray that God builds a youth ministry dedicated to sharing Jesus with the teens in your community.
Cast Your Vision to the Church
Once you have your senior staff on board, start planning how you’re going to cast vision to the church. Plan your sermon and how you want to explain your desire for an evangelistic youth group. It may help to include how many middle and high schools are in your community, and then an estimate of how many teenagers there may be. Explain that as a youth pastor, it’s impossible to reach all of them, but students in the church can reach their friends who will reach their friends, and so on.
In your sermon, go through your strategy to help students share the Gospel with their circle – education, training, encouragement, prayer, etc. End by leading the church in prayer for your students and against spiritual warfare. Try having your students stand in front of the congregation and invite the church to come up and pray over them. You’re sending these students as missionaries into their community – so pray like it!
Distribute Youth Evangelism Prayer Cards
Prayer cards are a great tool to pass out to your congregation after your sermon. You could make personalized prayer cards to pass out that could include:
- Individual photos of your leaders and students
- The name of the leader or student
- Who they’re trying to witness to (can be specific or general)
- Their evangelism obstacle
You and your leaders can collect this information and work with any affordable print business to create them. You can even print them yourself if your church has a printer that can print on stock paper. Consider laminating them or choosing more durable paper since they could wear and tear.
Don’t forget to create an evangelism prayer card for yourself. Encourage your congregation to place these cards somewhere they’ll see like on their fridge or in their bibles. These cards will help your church pray for your students by name to share the Gospel and remind them of your vision.
Include Youth Evangelism in Parent Communication
Not all your students will have Christian parents or parents who take evangelism seriously. But that shouldn’t stop you from telling them about your vision. When you begin the sermon series, talk about it in your parent communication. Give it a dedicated section afterward so parents understand this isn’t just a temporary focus. When students begin to invite more of their friends to church, share stories of witnessing, or lead their peers to the Lord, include those stories in communication.
Every youth pastor knows that ultimately, discipleship begins in the home. Emphasize to parents that they should be praying for their children to be evangelists and to exemplify evangelism themselves.
Include Youth Evangelism in All Church Prayer Lists/Chains
Does your church have ongoing prayer lists or chains? Something people can use to broadcast their prayer requests? Whether it’s an email chain or bulletin board, include prayer for a successful, evangelistic youth ministry. It’s another way to get more prayers lifted up about this!
Join a Gospel Advancing Ministry
The biggest reason why Dare 2 Share champions Gospel Advancing Ministry is because we don’t want youth pastors to feel like they are alone in their mission of reaching teenagers in their community. You might be asking, “Are there any other youth pastors doing this?”
The answer is, yes! When you commit to becoming a Gospel Advancing Ministry, you’ll receive powerful youth ministry tips and inspiration, insider access to our training, and be connected to a network of youth leaders who want to see their students spread the Gospel. Don’t go into this alone. Join today and start partnering with other like-minded youth pastors and groups!
Pray for a Successful, Evangelistic Youth Group FAQs
Gospel Advancing youth ministry is a ministry strategy that involves relentlessly pursuing the mission of Jesus by relationally multiplying disciples, resulting in radical Gospel transformation. In other words, it is a youth ministry that actively and continuously makes evangelism a priority so that teenagers are able to share the Gospel with their peers and disciple them to do the same.
An evangelistic youth group takes every opportunity to train students on how to share the Gospel, lives out that practice by giving opportunities during youth gatherings to share the Gospel, and emphasizes the importance of students sharing the Gospel with their peers. A normal youth group may believe in the Gospel and say that it is important but does not place an emphasis on it in their youth group.
Pray to be a youth pastor who teaches evangelism regularly, pray about the spiritual warfare that is sure to come because your youth ministry is making a Kingdom impact, pray for other youth leaders in your ministry to be evangelistic, and pray for your students (by name) to be intentional with evangelism.
An evangelism prayer board is a board where you list the names of those involved in your ministry as a visual reminder to pray for boldness and the opportunity to share their faith. Another use for an evangelism prayer board is to list the names of friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, etc. that do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a visual reminder to pray for those people to seek forgiveness, repentance, and that God would give you the opportunity to share your faith with them.
The LI6W App is an app that is available on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store that helps you to easily share the Gospel with someone. It also has features that will help remind you to pray for specific people that you would like to share the Gospel with, and more. Groups such as youth ministries and sports teams can use the app together to encourage one another to share the Gospel, pray for each other, and pray for the group’s unsaved loved ones.
The best way to become a Gospel Advancing Ministry is to join the Dare 2 Share Gospel Advancing Ministry movement that is sweeping across the world! After you join, you’ll gain access to training, articles, and other exciting tools to help your ministry along its journey to becoming more intentional about sharing the Good News.