Does the word evangelism carry a cringe-factor with your students? If it does, perhaps it’s time to recalibrate their understanding of what sharing their faith is really all about.
Today’s teenagers are an increasingly diverse group, with highly individualistic, frequently fluid opinions about everything from what makes for healthy relationships to what’s important in life. They value inclusivity, open-mindedness, relativism and “safe spaces” where many different interpretations of reality are equally embraced. For many, simply “sincerely believing” something is all that’s needed to validate one’s viewpoint as a legitimate interpretation of reality.
Teenagers increasingly view “truth” as relative and largely unknowable, which makes them hesitant to endorse any one view as “right” or “wrong.” “That may be true for you, but it’s not my truth,” is a widely accepted mantra that deflects deeper discussions about the nature of reality—including truth, God, good, evil and who Jesus was.
No wonder evangelism carries a cringe factor for today’s young people. Pushing your religious views on others is presumptuous and obnoxious. Right?
Try This! ❯
Ask your students for a show of hands in response to this questions: “How many of you cringe when you hear the word evangelism?” Then share what evangelism actually is.
Actually…that would be right—if that’s what evangelism actually was all about. But it’s not!
Evangelism—sharing your faith in Jesus—is NOT about imposing your religious beliefs on another person.
How to Explain What Evangelism Actually Is to Your Students
So how do you explain what evangelism actually is to your students in a way they can understand?
Evangelism is the process of sharing Jesus’ Good News with others—because it’s news that’s too good to keep to yourself. The gospel is Jesus’ message. It’s not simply your own personal opinion. It’s not like sharing your favorite movie or your favorite YouTube clip. It’s Jesus’ message of hope and grace and forgiveness. It’s the cure for what’s wrong with the world and with you.
You didn’t invent the gospel message yourself. It’s not your message. It’s Jesus’ message, as recorded by eye-witnesses of time who knew Jesus and followed Him and laid out their accounts of His life and ministry in the Bible—the bestselling book of all time. You’re just the messenger. You didn’t write the message.
The gospel is the most logical, cohesive, comprehensive explanation known to mankind of how the world works. It’s the truth about who God is, who we are, why the world is broken and what God did out of His great love for us to fix it. And what we need to do to respond that love.
The Gospel Is Hope and Life
The gospel is the truth this relativistic generation desperately needs to hear.
From self-harm, to suicide, to self-image challenges, to sexual temptation, today’s young people have been bombarded by the Evil One. Your students live in the midst of a generation of walking wounded who are longing for hope and looking for answers.
And Jesus offers them both—and more—the message and the power of the gospel can transform lives from the inside out. The deep, rich spiritual truths woven through the gospel can heal hurts and draw us closer to Christ.
Consider the following brief checklist of all-too-familiar teenage struggles that understanding and embracing the gospel tackles head-on:
- Poor self-image…Why? Because we have been declared a new creation!
2 Corinthians 5:17
- Guilt…………………How? Jesus paid the price for all of our sins!
- Sin’s power………When? The power of sin was crushed when Jesus was!
- Unforgiveness……How? We can forgive others because Jesus forgave us!
- Spiritual apathy…Why? We offer ourselves to Him in light of His sacrifice!
And on and on and on the list goes! Which is why the gospel is news too good to keep to ourselves!
Your Christian students are Jesus’ hands, His feet and His mouth, so an essential part of building your Gospel Advancing Ministry involves helping them understand that true evangelism is about reaching out, walking toward and speaking up about the gospel in love—with grace and truth.
Student to student, that’s the best way for the profound theological truths woven into Jesus’ message to shine a light in the darkness that haunts this generation and leaves them feeling empty and purposeless.
The gospel is the truth about who God is, who we are, why the world is broken and what God did out of His great love for us to fix it. Click To Tweet
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