As you strive to turn your youth ministry ship toward a more evangelism-focused direction, it’s critical that you begin to help your students see their world with fresh, new eyes. So let’s tackle the next topic in our “Top Ten Questions” series…
Question #5: How do I help my students begin to develop an evangelism mindset?
Whether they know it or not, your teens who are believers have been called by Jesus to go on a search and rescue mission for lost souls with the end goal of making disciples who make disciples. His last and lasting mandate to His followers was “Go and make disciples…”
In order to launch your students off on this grand, life-transforming mission, you must help them begin to see their world with Jesus’ eyes.
A Lifestyle of Evangelism
With the help of the Holy Spirit, you want to move your students down the road toward developing a heart for the lost and a “lifestyle of evangelism.” This is different than “lifestyle evangelism” which is often characterized as simply living a good life, so that eventually people will come up to you and ask you why you’re such a good person, allowing you to then step into the opening and share Christ.
In my experience, the “lifestyle evangelism” approach of waiting for people to ask us about Jesus results in a boatload of missed opportunities.
I’m convinced based on my reading of the Book of Acts that this is not what Jesus had in mind. And it is not how the early church spread like wildfire. Jesus’ first followers shared their faith in word AND deed. They simply couldn’t keep their mouths shut about Jesus as they lived out their faith on full display via their transformed lives. It takes a both/and approach – a “lifestyle of evangelism,” if you will.
Strategically Placed as Christ’s Ambassadors
The early Christians saw everyone around them who didn’t know Jesus as lost and hurting souls in desperate need of a Savior. And that’s the mindset we need to begin to nurture in our students, so that they start to see themselves as strategically placed by God in a school, neighborhood, sports team, family, and so on, to share His message. And that they see their classmates, teammates, and Facebook friends as people who need to hear about Jesus.
Straight from the pages of Scripture, you can help them see their God-ordained calling:
We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:20).
So spend some time meditating on this verse this week and ask yourself these questions:
- Have I communicated Jesus’ call to be His ambassadors to my students? (If you need help with this, consider bringing your students out to Dare 2 Share’s student conference which is coming soon to a city near you.)
- How should this God-ordained call to be Christ’s ambassador change how my students view themselves when they go to school, sports practice, work or spend time with friends and family?
- Are my teens motivated, trained and equipped to share their faith? Do they know how to start spiritual conversations? How to explain the gospel? How to bring people out of the realm of darkness and into the kingdom of light? (For help with this check out Dare 2 Share’s full line of youth group evangelism training curriculum.)
- What do I think would happen if every teenager in my youth group began to saturate their network of friends with conversations about the gospel?
One concrete step you can take to begin shifting your teens’ view of their world is for you and a few of your core students to start sharing stories each week in youth group about how you are trying to reach out to your friends who need Jesus.
Whether your stories are good, bad or ugly, just sharing them will help your students begin to see their own world with new eyes – Jesus’ eyes. Because we must never lose sight of the call Jesus has put on our lives to be His ambassadors in word and deed.