Infusing Gospel Advancing priorities into your weekly youth group rundown sheet requires some creativity and forethought. The first step involves trimming some things back in order to make space for more gospel focus. But once you’ve identified a few places in your rundown where you can carve out a few extra minutes, what should you insert into that now available space?
Try This! ❯
During youth group this week, tell a story from your own life about someone you recently tried to shared your faith with.
Try adding in a short window of time where your students can share about their personal faith-sharing efforts with their unreached friends. Many gospel advancing youth leaders have found that setting aside just a few minutes in their weekly rundown for student “storytelling” dramatically changes the dynamic of their youth group.
Real Life Stories, from Real Life Teenagers
Real life stories, from real life teenagers, sharing the real life gospel conversations they’re having with their peers provides high-octane fuel for any group’s Gospel Advancing efforts! Kevin Bussema, the National Director for Youth For Christ Core, explains the power of gospel-centered storytelling like this:
“Stories are essential for developing young leaders, both as they grow in their personal walk with Christ and as they are mobilized for authentic Christ-sharing relationships with friends. Stories are a tangible, accessible way for Christian teenagers to talk about Jesus and connect with their friends. They become like viruses (in a good way!) that are easily caught and passed on. Sharing stories becomes less an evangelism method and more a way of living and creating connections to God in every relationship.”
Why does this simple adjustment in your rundown sheet help you build a thriving gospel advancing ministry? Because weekly stories about their faith-sharing efforts serves six powerful purposes.
6 Reasons to Fold Storytelling into Your Rundown
Gospel-centric storytelling nurtures a gospel advancing group environment because…
1. Storytelling helps your students begin to understand that sharing the gospel with their friends is an all-in, ongoing, Jesus-driven “mindset,” rather than a one-off, occasional youth leader “assignment.”
2. Storytelling serves as a vote of confidence. When you expect students to come with faith-sharing stories each week, it lets them know that you genuinely believe God can use them to influence their friends and change their world! It communicates your confidence that your students are called by Jesus Himself to share His message of grace with others. And it openly acknowledges the reality that they have far more ability to influence their friends for Jesus than you or your adult leaders do.
3. Storytelling provides a built-in opportunity for intercessory prayer. Make this a time where teenagers can pray for each other and encourage each other to be faithful in engaging others with the good news in the coming week.
4. Storytelling creates space for group learning. As teenagers share BOTH successes and failures about their efforts to talk to their friends about Jesus, they get ideas from each other about what works and what doesn’t. Together they can learn to “fail forward” and may even find opportunities to “tag team” with mutual friends they are trying reach with the gospel.
5. Storytelling builds accountability. When teenagers know that sharing stories about sharing The Story is on the weekly agenda, it subtly raises the bar.
6. Storytelling grows their faith. Believing God wants to see the gospel advance in and through your students builds expectancy and stretches their faith. The very act of sharing their faith propels teenagers into a deeper relationship with God by fueling their desire to better understand what they believe and why they believe it.
Sharing the gospel with others is an all-in, ongoing, Jesus-driven “mindset”! Click To Tweet
There are a wide variety of creative ways to incorporate a story time into your group—open microphone, small group sharing, one-on-one sharing, pre-taped videos of your teenagers sharing stories of gospel advancement, to name a few. Some youth leaders call it “Take 5 for THE Cause,” or “Pause for THE Cause,” or simply “Open Mic,” but whatever you call it, this is a time where teenagers can share stories—good, bad or ugly—about someone they are praying for, pursuing and/or persuading with Jesus’ message of grace.
The first few weeks you introduce this element into your weekly programming, consider recruiting a couple of your students to lead the way. Let them know in advance that you are going to ask them to share a story about their personal faith-sharing efforts.
Choose whatever logistical approach to storytelling fits your situation best. Just do something to make gospel storytelling a priority!