Building and maintaining a sense of gospel advancing urgency at the leadership level of your youth ministry can be difficult, especially if the adults in your church were raised with the understanding that sharing the gospel was the job of the professional pastor.
But instead of getting upset, get to work! Lead the change you want to see!
Instead of getting upset, get to work! Lead the change you want to see! Click To Tweet
Consistently and clearly communicate the expectation that your leaders need to lead by example, and that one of the most important ways to do this is to be regularly, actively, with words, sharing the gospel with coworkers, neighbors, friends and family.
It’s All a Matter of Priorities
Don’t let this priority get lost in the shuffle of ministry chaos. This message of leading by example needs to be consistent enough that it’s not forgotten, which means that leadership meetings, prayer times, emails and personal conversations need to include this reminder. It should become part of regular conversations among your leaders, so that you are praying for and encouraging one another about each of your personal evangelistic efforts… “How’s it going with your neighbor, coworker or that brother you are trying to reach out to and talk to about Jesus?”
Try This! ❯
Ask your leaders this week for the name of at least one non-believer they are seeking to share the gospel with so you can be praying for them.
But don’t just set the expectation, make it a priority to train your adults in relational evangelism! Utilize your leadership meetings to provide practical faith-sharing training. One free and easy way to do this is to encourage your leaders to download the Dare 2 Share app which is packed with relational evangelism training, tips and tools you can use to share your faith with others—although designed for students, it’s great for adults too!
Modeling Faith-Sharing for Your Students
Obviously, it’s important that your leaders embrace the priority of relational evangelism in their own lives, but a big component of modeling this for your students involves making sure they actually hear about—or better yet, see—their adult leaders’ faith-sharing efforts. This can take a lot of different forms, but here are a few practical ideas.
- Attending the extracurricular events of the students in their small groups can provide opportunities to model initiating spiritual conversations. Clearly communicate to your team the value of supporting youth group students in this way. Encourage your adults to sit with other students from your group (and hopefully, their unchurched friends.) Take the time to teach your adults how to make the most of these outings and how to purposefully look for opportunities during these events to strike up conversations with bystanders that point people toward Jesus. This can be as simple as initiating a dialogue that goes like this:
Youth Group Leader: “Who are you here to support and encourage?”
Bystander: “My friends/sister/etc.…”
Youth Group Leader: “Cool. I’m here to support _________. She’s in the youth group at my church. Do you have a church?”
Bystander: “No, I’m not really into church.”
Youth Group Leader: “Tell me more. Are you spiritual…do you believe in God, but just don’t like the church scene…? What do you believe about God?” Have you ever been to church…? Did you have a bad experience…? What happened…?
- Encourage your adults to share about their own faith-sharing efforts during your youth group’s Take 5 for THE Cause times, or build in opportunities for them to share their stories during small group times.
- Train your leaders how to appropriately interact with teens through social media AND how to use social media to initiate gospel conversations. (There are several tools in the Life in 6 Words App that are designed specifically for this purpose.) Then encourage your adults to model talking about Jesus on their social media channels.
Not only will your adults be engaging in evangelism for the sake of the bystander, they will be modeling for the youth group members nearby how to initiate spiritual conversations!
The more consistent that you are about reinforcing the expectation that your adults fully embrace and model relational evangelism in their own lives, the more quickly the culture in your youth group will shift toward gospel advancement. Obviously, it goes without saying that you are leading the way by modeling all this yourself!
Want more practical advice on mobilizing your teens to share the gospel? All of our Mobilize stories offer great ideas for training your students and building a Gospel Advancing Ministry. Sign up here to receive this free, hands-on resource in your inbox!