Bold Vision: Hearing the Gospel from a Friend - Dare 2 Share
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.

Bold Vision: Hearing the Gospel from a Friend

Should you scrap your big youth events in favor of training your students to directly reach their friends? Read on to find out.

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If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you’re probably familiar with “revival” meetings, in which a church or organization gathers hundreds or even thousands of people to a venue to hear someone preach the Gospel.

Here at Dare 2 Share we have our own version of revival meetings—case in point: Dare 2 Share LIVE, a one-day, annual, livestream event that proclaims the Gospel and teaches teens to do the same.

There’s a strong biblical case to be made in favor of these kind of gatherings—from Jesus preaching to thousands on a hillside to Peter preaching to thousands on the day of Pentecost and Paul preaching to hundreds at the Areopagus. We’ve come to know this as an addition strategy, and it’s great!

But did you know that anywhere from 55% to 90% (depending on the study1,2,3) of people say they came to faith in Jesus through the testimony of a friend or family member? And that the average teenager has 100 times more influence on their friends than a stranger does4?

That’s why we need to include a multiplication strategy in our Gospel Advancing efforts. Enter our vision statement:

Every teen, everywhere, hearing the Gospel from a friend

We know that, as a youth leader, you believe in the power of the Gospel to transform lives. And we encourage you to also believe in the potential of teenagers to propel that message beyond the walls of your youth room! By the grace of God, they’ll be even more successful with their network of peers than you could ever be.

It reminds me of an encounter one of my students had not long ago with a friend online. It went something like this:

Ethan
Hey, you want to talk about Jesus?

Friend
Sure.

Ethan
Explains the Gospel

Friend
Not convinced; a little argumentative

Ethan
Answers some of her questions

Friend
Why do you even care? You barely know me.

Ethan
If I knew you were driving a car on the highway without any brakes, I’d do whatever I could to stop you, because I care for you on that level. And I try to imitate Jesus in having compassion and love for everyone!

Friend
Wow, that is sweet. Thank you!

Ethan
Goes over the Gospel again

Friend
LOL, my family is religious and they’ve been trying to get me to believe in Jesus too. I guess I’ll take another look at him!

*The next day*

Friend
Hey, would you mind talking to some of my friends and telling them about Jesus?

Ethan
Are you kidding? I’d love to!

The story continues with the girl’s friends rejecting the message of the Gospel after Ethan shared it, but I don’t want you to miss a couple of things. First, the girl said that her family, probably the adults in her family, were trying to get her to a place of faith, but it took another teenager for it to make sense to her.

Second, she almost immediately went and got three more teens to hear the message! It was a woman-at-the-well moment on Discord.

Remember that after the sermon on the mountain, Jesus sent the 72. After Peter’s message on Pentecost, the church met in houses all over Jerusalem. After Paul preached in the Areopagus, he taught in the school of Tyrannus, inspiring believers to saturate the whole region with the Gospel.

The takeaway: Don’t stop putting on your events and telling your students to invite their friends. But in addition, start inspiring, equipping, and sending your students to reach their friends where they are, until every teen, everywhere, hears the Gospel from a friend.


 

1McGavran, D.A. (1955) The Bridges of God. London: World Dominion Press.

2Arn, W & Arn, C. (1982) The Master’s Plan for Making Disciples. Church Growth Press.

3 McIntosh, G. (2014) What Person Led You to Faith in Christ? The Good Book Blog, Biola University.

4Hui, P. & Buchegger, S. (2009) Groupthink and Peer Pressure: Social Influence in Online Social Network Groups. IEEE/ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining.

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