Let’s face it—there are many tasks a youth leader must accomplish to run a successful ministry. From managing budgets, preparing sermons, planning events, hanging out with students and responding to those “wonderful” parent emails, it is easy to get bogged down with work. These responsibilities can be overwhelming when all you want to do is inspire your students to live out their faith and share it with others. The unfortunate reality is you are not Superman (or Superwoman), and you need help if you want to develop a Gospel Advancing Ministry. But where do you start, and how can you encourage students to get on board with relationally sharing their faith?
Try This! ❯
Invite your student leaders to your next adult leadership meeting. Even if it’s a ways out on your calendar, send them an invitation this week and ask them to lock in the date and time.
You don’t need to hire another staff member, or go scout out an intern off the campus streets of your local Christian University. All you need to figure out are strategic ways to motivate and mobilize your students—especially your student leaders—to share the gospel within their circles of influence. Student leaders should be championing relational evangelism. After all, once mobilized, they are the most valuable resource you have.
Here are 5 insights to help you spring your student leaders into action:
1. Help them understand the need
The students in your youth group are in contact with more teenagers than you. No matter how hard any youth leader tries, students will almost always have more influence on their unreached peers than you can. This isn’t a bad thing—it’s just the reality of the situation. We unfortunately cannot go back to middle or high school like Adam Sandler from Billy Madison. Teenagers are the ones that have full access and permission to be with students, because they are students! Help them understand that they have opportunities you don’t and never will have, so they have an incredibly important role to play!
2. Help them understand why having a Gospel Advancing Ministry matters.
The idea of a Gospel Advancing Ministry is simple: To develop a youth ministry where the good news of Jesus is moving both deeply into the souls of your teenagers, and outwardly through your teenagers to others. That’s it. This goal is not exclusively from Dare 2 Share; it’s from the Bible. It comes straight out of the Great Commission (or as we call it, THE Cause) in Matthew 28:19.
The gospel is the hope of the world. Without it, we are left in utter moral and spiritual darkness. Encourage and pray that your student leaders can see that, done right, every gospel conversation is an act of love that is ultimately rooted in Christ. The disciples knew this well, regardless of the outcomes or cost. For instance, after Peter and John healed the lame beggar at the temple gate called Beautiful and preached the gospel, they got in trouble (Acts 3-4). They disrupted the cultural milieu and were arrested for proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus. (Not much has changed, as many today still experience persecution for sharing their faith.)
When put in front of the Sanhedrin, they boldly proclaim the gospel again. This same Sanhedrin condemned Christ to death, so their ledger was dripping wet with His blood. Despite this, Peter and John preached salvation to the very people who sentenced their beloved Rabi to death. Why? Because they knew the gospel was their only hope. Similarly, help your students understand this loving truth.Done right, every gospel conversation is an act of love that is ultimately rooted in Christ. Click To Tweet
3. Lead the way
All eyes are on you. Each student in the ministry, whether they admit it or not, sees you and the other adult leaders as their models for spiritual leadership. Try to go to their school and lead the way for them to see first-hand evangelism. Simply call some of your student leaders up and set up a time where you can hang out with them and their unbelieving friends. If possible, go to their schools and have your student leaders bring their friends to a table to talk.
After you lead the way, debrief about the interaction. They are going to have questions—especially if it went well! Don’t be afraid to practice with them and admit the areas you are trying to improve. If you or they want to learn more about engaging other worldviews, send them to one of the many great free resources Dare 2 Share has on its website.
4. Share Stories
People love hearing and learning from stories. A great way to inspire relational evangelism among student leaders is hearing stories from the adult leaders. Next time you have your adult leaders’ meeting, invite the student leaders to join in. If the students have faith-sharing stories of their own, encourage them to share at the meeting, too. This offers great ways for everyone, both adults and students, to see how God is working. You can even write down the people they are praying for on a wall; this idea comes from “THE Cause Circle,” where students can post the first names of friends they are praying for, pursuing and persuading.
5. Stay Connected
Pursue your student leaders through text and social media. Ask them, “Who can I be praying for today that you are trying to reach with the gospel?” This offers three benefits:
- Your student leaders will be reminded to stay engaged in sharing the gospel
- They will be encouraged through your prayer support
- Prayer changes things and opens hearts and minds!
People need accountability—especially youth leaders—so have them rise to the occasion as well by letting them know who you are trying to engage. We can all use the reminder and, more importantly, the prayer!
Get your student leaders carrying the banner for relational evangelism in your group. It will help you build the momentum you need for a thriving Gospel Advancing Youth Ministry!