Building a “Gospel Advancing Ministry” simply means that your youth ministry is providing a context in which the good news of Jesus is moving both deeply in the souls of your Christian teenagers, and outwardly through your teenagers to others. Keeping the advancement of Jesus’ gospel message central to everything you do will help your teens become disciples who make disciples. They’ll grow deeper in their walk with Jesus, as they go wider into their world with His message of grace and hope.
But on a practical level, how does all this gospel advancement “both in and through” your students really work? Let’s start with what happens when you begin to view every talk you do as an opportunity to advance the gospel deeply into the souls of your Christian teens.
Try This! ❯
Identify one of your teenagers’ biggest felt needs… self image, wrong priorities, relationships, or whatever, then write a one sentence statement summarizing how Jesus’ gospel of grace could speak specifically to that need.
The Gospel’s Profound, Personal, Practical Implications
When you really think about it, the theological and practical life implications of the gospel message are absolutely profound! Many of the struggles students face during their teen years (and beyond) can be directly addressed by the tectonic, plate-shifting realignment that comes when students truly, deeply understand and embrace the gospel of grace at the core of their souls.
Here’s a short list of just a few of these struggles that the gospel addresses:
✓ Poor self image……Why? Because we have been declared a new creation!
2 Corinthians 5:17
✓ Guilt and shame……How? Jesus paid the price for all of our sins.
✓ Habitual sin……Why? The power of sin was crushed when Jesus was.
✓ Unforgiveness……How? We can forgive others because Jesus forgave us.
✓ Anxiety……Why? We are safe in God’s hands.
✓ Wrong priorities……How? A kingdom perspective changes everything!
And on and on and on the list goes! As your students begin to grasp how the gospel’s message speaks to their own personal realities and struggles, the old saying about being “one beggar showing another beggar where to find food” takes on new meaning. Every Christian teen has unreached friends who are hurting in many of these same areas of life, so sharing the message of the gospel with their friends becomes more personal and increasingly looks like simply relationally sharing news too good to keep to yourself—the Good News.
A Gospel Advancing Focus Will Help You Make Disciples Who Make Disciples
Plus, it helps your Christian students grow as they go. Tim Keller once tweeted this: “Teenagers have more information about God than they have experiences of him. Get them in places where they have to rely on God.”
When you put your teenagers in a position of having to trust God, their theological information about God is activated, as their spiritual dependence on Him is accelerated. If you’ve ever taken your teenagers on a mission trip to a foreign country, you’ve probably seen this clearly demonstrated.
But, in a very real sense, your teenagers go on a mission trip every day they walk into their schools. And, for many of them, this is a scarier trip than traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to some dangerous, foreign country. But knocking knees are more likely to bend to God in prayerful reliance.
When’s the last time you put the students in your youth group in a position to risk? Like Tim Keller said, they have plenty of information about God. Don’t be afraid to challenge them to share their faith so that they are put them in a position where they have to trust in Him.
The gospel is so powerful and practical that if your teenagers exit your youth ministry deeply, personally embracing the gospel message, and have been equipped to relationally share it with others, they will be way more likely to passionately live for Jesus for the rest of their lives. A gospel advancing focus will help you make disciples who make disciples!