Youth ministry is filled with blood, sweat and tears, isn’t it?
And building the seven values of a Gospel Advancing Ministry into your youth ministry program is no exception to this rule. It’s hard work. It takes time, effort, wisdom, determination and prayer to build a ministry where the gospel is advancing both in and through your teenagers. But the rewards are worth it!
Try This! ❯
Is reliance on the Holy Spirit something real and practical that your teens can see in your life? Find a time during group this week to pause and pray in front of your students and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance.
We all want to see student on fire for Jesus and grappling with what it means to be a disciple who makes disciples. This is the stuff of Acts! But the honest reality is that shifting toward an increasingly evangelism-focused approach to student ministry can feel like a daunting task, particularly if you’re starting with a group of teenagers who currently wouldn’t be caught dead talking about Jesus at school.
But take heart! This is why focusing in on Gospel Advancing Value #2: “Relational evangelism drives it,” can really help you gain some traction. Jesus wants to use your students to impact their world! And it all starts with motivating and mobilizing them to be intentional about sharing the Good News. (For some immediate encouragement and ideas from some real-life youth leaders, check out this Gospel Advancing Podcast on Values #1 and #2.)
Across these next several Mobilize articles, we’ll be looking at ways to build a relational evangelism focus into each of the following aspects of your ministry:
- Dependence on the Holy Spirit
- Weekly Programming
- Teaching Time
- Curriculum Selection
- Adult Leadership Training
- Student Leadership Training
- Annual Calendar Planning
Key 1: Dependence on the Holy Spirit
About now, some of you may be asking yourself this question: “Getting my students to share their faith with their friends feels overwhelming, how will I ever pull this off?”
It’s a fantastic question! And here’s the deal—YOU won’t.
It takes the power of the Holy Spirit, who dwells inside every believer, to drive this kind of realignment in your ministry. And here’s why—Jesus said so! Here’s how He put it in Acts 1:8: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…”
When the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us at the point when we first put our trust in Christ, one of His strong desires is to make us witnesses. And He provides the power for this to happen effectively. Now don’t use this spiritual truth as a fallback excuse to do nothing…God has placed you in the role of spiritual shepherd for your students, so you are responsible before God for helping them understand what Jesus tells us about sharing the Good News and making disciples. You have an active, critical role to play in motivating and mobilizing them to share His message of hope with others. And in the weeks ahead we’ll be exploring specific how-to ideas in terms of YOUR role in doing this.
But before you wade in to the nitty-gritty of prioritizing evangelism in your ministry, it’s critically important that you never, ever forget that the Holy Spirit of God will be echoing your challenge to your students from the inside. And even more importantly, He will be providing the power for them to actually follow through, share the gospel and see their friends’ lives impacted for all eternity.
Never forget that the Holy Spirit will echo your challenge to your students from the inside. Click To Tweet
Check out this verse where Jesus promises that the Spirit will be involved in every believer’s maturing process: “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you” (John 14:26).
The Holy Spirit dwells inside every one of your believing teenagers. He will be the ultimate teacher of your teens as you seek to take them to a place where their hearts break for their lost friends. He is even more serious about seeing them grow and mature in the area of relational evangelism than you are!
Living in Reliance on the Holy Spirit Day-by-Day, Moment-by-Moment
Isn’t it great to know that you’re not alone in your efforts to bring a relational evangelism focus to your youth group? But it also points to a critical need that only you can address. Are you personally living in reliance on the Holy Spirit day-by-day, moment-by-moment? After all, you can’t lead your students where you haven’t gone yourself, so take a quick inventory of your own life by asking yourself these questions:
- Is reliance on the Holy Spirit something real and practical that your teens can see in your life? (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)? Find a time during group this week to pause and pray in front of your students and ask the Holy Spirit for guidance.
- Have you ever thought of yourself as the “associate youth pastor” at your church? The Holy Spirit Himself should be the “lead youth pastor” for your teens. In light of this truth, what might look different than it currently does?
- Do you really believe the Spirit can transform your teens?
- Are you begging the Spirit of God in prayer to transform your teens?
Remember how we started out by saying that it takes “blood, sweat and tears”? Maybe this is where the “tears” come in. Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to take us—and our students—to a place where our hearts break for this generation and for their friends who don’t know Jesus. That’s the first step in relational evangelism.