Traveling the world is at the top of many people’s bucket list. The thought of experiencing foreign lands is exciting. There are so many cultures, places and people that are unique and worth visiting, yet even though travel is something many of us want to experience, for whatever reason, we don’t always get around to it. Life has a way of preventing us from achieving our goals—and not just traveling goals, but ministry goals as well.
There is no vision bolder than Jesus’ Great Commission or THE Cause (as we like to call it at Dare 2 Share). But in today’s world, THE Cause can struggle to be relevant within youth ministry culture. While no one would deny the importance of Christ’s cause, youth ministries can devalue this bold vision by avoiding evangelism. Things like fear can hold us back from living out THE Cause of Christ. And, in some ways, it becomes like our desire to travel; that is, it is something that we want to do, but never really get around to doing it. However, regardless of the obstacles that get in our way, we must live out Christ’s cause to go across the world if we are to remain obedient to His word. Here are four reasons to focus on going across the world with the gospel.
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At your next youth gathering, take five for THE Cause by sharing stories about those you and your students are trying to pray, pursue and persuade others for Christ.
1. Jesus Came for Us
Despite the sin of humankind, God has not stopped loving His creation. Going across the world is demonstrated in Jesus’ love for us. He actively pursues each of us—both unbelieving and believing. Second Peter 3:9 says, “[God] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (NIV11). This is the heart of God. He, having full rights to punish us for our sin, actively pursues us in love so that we may be rescued from the problems of sin. It is because of this love that the church exists. Wholeheartedly, we are to pursue the world with the loving message of Christ’s gospel. For this reason, our bold vision must be centered on living out gospel advancement.
2. The Gospel is the Greatest Story Ever Told
We are enticed by newness. Our culture likes to believe that newer is always better. C.S. Lewis called this chronological snobbery. Youth ministries can run the risk of moving toward the newest ideas and practices. And while newer can be better, especially within the world of technology, it isn’t always the case. There are things in this world that require no updating. The gospel does not need to be updated; it is perfect the way it is and will never get old. Going across the world is recognizing that this two thousand year old gospel message needs to be heard everywhere.
3. We Are All Called to Spread the Gospel
Let’s face the facts: youth ministries are not capable of sending their students across the world for long-term missions—they just can’t. Teenagers are in a time of life where they are still learning what it means to be a student, and are dependent upon their parents. This tension flies in the face of THE Cause. However, even though students may not be able to go across the world to fulfill THE Cause during adolescence, they can still learn how to reach those outside of their daily lives. A simple way to accomplish this is by having students reach “across the tracks” to areas outside of their neighborhoods. Try calling a local ministry that is outside of your typical neighborhood, then, form a partnership by serving regularly with them.
4. Loving the Lost
Whether we realize it or not, every student in youth ministry is watching the way that we live. Our personalities directly affect the culture of our youth ministry. If we aren’t focusing on the lost, most likely our students won’t be either. The greatest obstacle to gospel advancement is a lack of love for the lost. This may sound like terrible news; that is, some may read this and feel convicted by their own failures, but in reality failures can help drive a ministry to become more transparent and gospel centered.The greatest obstacle to gospel advancement is a lack of love for the lost. Click To Tweet
Realizing that your own spiritual growth directly affects the ministry is a good thing, because God is in the business of growing His people. If you have felt apathetic toward loving the lost, simply ask God to help you see people the way Jesus sees them. As you pray, think of practical ways to love the lost. For example, you could spend time with a friend who has never put their faith in Christ, and then talk about your growth and evangelism efforts in youth group by Taking 5 for THE Cause. The youth will appreciate seeing your own growth, and will learn to share their own efforts as well.
Christ never calls us to do something that He himself has not done. Not only did Christ travel across Israel to bring hope, but He also traveled from heaven and “gave up his divine privileges to be with us” (Philippians 2:7). Going across the world is small in comparison to Christ coming down to earth to reach us on earth. If we can be mindful of this truth, then we can prevent our priorities from being misguided, and keep our bold visions gospel-centered. We will live with a heart for the lost and go across the world for Christ.