Reaching the Unreached with Aaron Pierce
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.
Helping youth leaders empower
students to reach their world.

The Greg Stier Youth ministry Podcast

episode 34 | March 2024

Overlooking the impact of the cross when evangelizing, is like telling a joke without delivering the punchline.

This podcast episode features Greg Stier hosting guest Aaron Pierce. They discuss the significance of emphasizing the cross and its impact on outsiders of the church. Aaron describes how many preachers and evangelists often overlook this aspect. They continue on addressing how understanding and embracing the message of the cross can profoundly impact those hearing it for the first time, leading to more transformations and salvations. They also discuss the cultural shift towards post-Christianity, particularly in America, and the need for a grassroots movement to mobilize young people for evangelism. They highlight the connection between evangelism and discipleship, emphasizing that sharing one’s faith strengthens believers and helps foster dependence on God.  

Keep in touch

Subscribe to monthly podcasts plus weekly tips and inspiration that will help you build a Gospel Advancing ministry.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

0:00:00.0 Greg Stier: All right, welcome to the Greg Stier Youth Ministry podcast. We believe the best way to get teenagers to grow is to get them to go. We believe every teen everywhere, all one billion of them around the world need to hear the gospel from a friend. And so we just absolutely believe we need to energize the church to mobilize youth to Gospelize their world. That’s why I’m so excited about our guest today, Aaron Pierce. Aaron serves as the International Missions Director of Steiger International. It’s a global mission organization dedicated to mobilizing followers of Jesus to reach young people who would not walk into a church.

 

0:00:41.2 Aaron Pierce: Yes.

 

0:00:42.9 GS: Aaron’s deeply passionate about inspiring and equipping followers of Jesus to live lives of radical faith, to courageously share the message of Jesus in our increasingly secularized culture. His prayer is that God would raise up a radical missionary movement that will transform the global youth culture for Jesus. I’m freaking out, cause this is awesome. In 2023, Aaron released, Not Beyond Reach. It’s a practical action-oriented book that will equip readers to reach young people in their lives who will not walk into a church. By the way, Debbie Bracina, our president, is reading that almost through, absolutely loves the book gets her double thumbs up, which means I will have to read it now because she will make me read it and I’m sure it’s going to be awesome. Aaron’s most important role is that of a husband to Jennifer and dad to Asher, Selah, Hudson, and Wesley. All very cool and like very biblical kind of names or something. Church history except for Asher.

 

0:01:39.0 AP: They are biblical or mission, yeah exactly.

 

0:01:40.0 GS: That’s good, good stuff. Aaron and his family live in Minneapolis, Minnesota where it is snowing there, it’s snowing here in Denver. But Aaron, welcome to the podcast.

 

0:01:51.0 AP: Thanks for having me, Greg. So excited to have this conversation.

 

0:01:55.0 GS: Yeah, now I’ve known you through, Grace Church, some different events there up in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. I’ve always liked you and now I know why. It’s ’cause of the heartbeat of, your heartbeat is the same heartbeat as my heartbeat, Steiger’s same as yours. Share a little different, maybe a little bit different demographic. But same heart. So tell us about Steiger. Youth leaders, a lot of US youth leaders hear this, the ones in Europe that listen to it, probably more familiar. But tell us about Steiger and what it is and how it started. Just give us the five-minute crash course on all things Steiger.

 

0:02:35.0 AP: Yep. Yep. So, Steiger, you’re probably like, what is that name? It’s kind of a weird word. And it’s because it’s actually a Dutch word. So Steiger actually started in Amsterdam in the Netherlands in the 80s. My parents were the founders of the organization. It wasn’t an organization when they started it. They just had a heart to reach young people in Amsterdam that wouldn’t walk into a church, which in a city like Amsterdam, if you’re familiar with the, I mean, what it’s like and the reputation, it’s most people have, they basically they see big cathedrals that are beautiful and historic and they’re dead on Sunday. I mean, in many places they’re literally closed. And so that’s their view of God. It’s just a dead empty tradition of the past. It’s kind of the ultimate post-Christian context. And so my parents were in Amsterdam, this was in the ’80s when they started, and they had a heart to reach young people there. And it was the ’80s, so it was the height of the punk rock movement like that was the social movement at the time. And my dad was very connected into the scene, building relationships with people, sharing the gospel, and then he would take the names of everyone they met, go out into the forest, and pray all night over the people that they connected with and just say, “God, we need a breakthrough in the city”.

 

0:03:50.0 AP: And they did that faithfully for a couple of years and with not a ton of fruit, but just a lot of faithfulness, and God really broke their heart. And then my dad was saying, “God, we need a new way of sharing the gospel”. And again, the punk rock movement was kind of the social movement of the time. And my dad is a very, you’ve met him, he’sss a very creative, edgy guy. So he started a punk band as a way to share the gospel in these clubs and bars and festivals using the stage to communicate the cross. And it was always based on the idea of lifting up the message of the cross outside the church. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2, 1 through 5 “that he, Paul, he preached Christ and him crucified so that people would not be convinced by human wisdom, but by God’s power. And the power of God is in the message of the cross”. And so they shared the gospel clearly boldly, but relevantly in these places. And all of a sudden they had people come to Jesus and like, what do we do with all these people? And so they started a Bible study on a big red boat behind the central train station and the address of that boat, it’s like a huge houseboat like a hundred people could fit on it, and the address of that boat was Steiger XIV. So they literally named what became a church reaching young people of Amsterdam the address Steiger. And then this band that my dad started, started going to other places, to communist Poland, Russia, different parts of the world.

0:05:11.0 AP: People were reached in secular places, Christians were inspired, and people began to identify with Steiger. They would say, we’re part of Steiger. And it was just this move of God. Like it wasn’t a strategic plan. It wasn’t this like, oh, let’s strategize and create a mission organization. God just did it. And that was the environment I grew up in. Me and my little brother, we’d like, my dad would take me and him on tour with him with his band. And we’d be in like some club somewhere in Eastern Europe. And he’sdd bring us on stage and he would be like, these are my sons, I love them. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for them. Everything that I have is theirs. And that is how God feels about you. And then he would share the gospel. And I saw as a little kid, people tears in their eyes praying to receive Jesus and it completely ruined me because God was real and he transformed lives. And so that was like the beginning and it grew into this global mission organization now operating around the world. And it’s all about how can we mobilize followers of Jesus to reach young people that won’t walk into a church. And that’s a Europe problem for sure, but it’s a global problem and it’s certainly a US problem as well. So that’s our heart.

 

0:06:25.0 GS: Man, that is awesome. So like just to add context, so let’s just take a European city, you know. What, like how do you reach them? Like what do you do? Do you do a concert outside and people come or in, and then what is the, is the evangelism just woven into the talks? Do people share it on the streets? How would that happen?

 

0:06:48.0 AP: Yeah, we do it in a variety of ways. So one of the things that we want to do is just fuel a movement among young people, young adults. So our focus is generally like teenagers into young adults, especially in their 20s. And so we want to fuel a movement of evangelism among young adults. And so we have one of the simplest ways to do it. It’s just creative, simple creative tools to spark gospel conversations on the streets. And so that’s super grassroots. It’s super simple. And it’s just go out there, use a simple tool to spark a conversation, share the gospel. And we have people all over the world doing that. And so like using really simple tools, because people, what’s interesting is people are in secular culture, they’re very lonely and not really finding sense community. And so when they’re approached and engaged with people who wanna connect, they’re actually a lot more open to a conversation you might think. And so just, it starts with the super grassroots, go out there and do it. But then we wanna create, we wanna find people who, they say, man, this is my calling. My calling is to be a missionary to what we call the global youth culture. And so we train and invest deeply in a few that become kind of the specialist. And so that’s when they’re doing other things like big events or evangelistic concerts or whatever, but it’s all kind of built on this grassroots movement of evangelism. That’s where it all starts.

 

0:08:11.0 GS: And you know, Aaron, that’s, I think, where we really have a commonality because in, 30-plus years of doing Dare 2 Share, every event that we do, we take students out to share the gospel because there’s something about that where the bayonet hits the bone, where, you’re out with the lost that, as your dad said, as you said, your heart gets broken for them and you get that passion to share the gospel. So, you have, if I’m reading this right, you’re doing outreaches, but you have those young people that want to become missionaries full time. So they raise their support and they go into the field wherever and preaching the gospel, making disciples in the community that normally would never come into a church.

 

0:09:00.0 AP: Yep. Yeah so our focus is what we call global youth culture, so young people all over planet influenced by similar. Whats so interesting about, and this is been that way for a little while now, but I can go to, and have been to northern Iraq. And find young people that are watching the same YouTube videos as they’re in here in Denver. And so you have got these global culture, and it not, and so they are superficially connected on fashion trends and the music they listen to and the social media influencers they follow, but they’re also connected on deeper things like their worldview and their view of truth and morality and identity and all these things. And so they’re buying into this ideology that is just destroying them. And many of them have rejected Christianity and the Church because of all kinds of garbage that they have to contend with. And so our heart there is like how can we raise up missionary specialists to the global youth culture? That can go into the secular scenes, develop authentic relationships, share the gospel boldly and relevantly, and create discipleship relationships, and then at the same time continue to fuel a movement of evangelism among young people in their city. And so that’s our heart. It’s kind of like wide with the missions, with an evangelism movement, and then deep with missionary specialists. And we see those kind of going hand in hand.

 

0:10:22.0 GS: Man I love that. And so let’s talk a little bit about it ’cause there seems to be a stronghold in the church when it comes to, and you’ve already touched on this, the lost Gen Z not being open at all to spiritual things. I love 2 Corinthians 10 when he’sss like, “I’m gonna tear down these strongholds, I’m gonna take captive every thought to make it a beating to Christ”. So take a few minutes and tear down that stronghold in the mind of a believer, our youth leader that’s watching this right now saying, “I just don’t think kids are that open to the gospel that aren’t in the church. They’re not open”. You know, we’re going to have a hard time having that conversation. Talk a little bit about that, because I think we need to hear that again.

 

0:11:10.0 AP: No, people are absolutely hungry and open and far more. Again, I think it’s one of the schemes of the enemy, right, to tell us it’s impossible. They’re disinterested. So why bother? Which is definitely, It’s furthest thing from the truth now. I will say that we there are cultural, there are 2 Corinthians 4:4 says “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers”. So we certainly it is a culture as all cultures dealing with lies that stand in the way of the cross and so we do need to first and foremost through prayer, but then through wisdom and how we approach need to challenge the lies and the idols that stand in the way of the gospel. But the truth is people are so hungry. In fact, like most people are not cold-hearted atheists, even though like the you know, the all the statistics, right, the rise of the religiously unaffiliated fastest growing group of people in America today is the religiously unfilial. All that stuff is true. And yet, most people are not cold heart atheists. In fact, many are really into spirituality. They just don’t know they’re searching. They just have often not known to go to Jesus. So the paradigm is we’ve got to go to them, but they are hungry and they are searching and they are open.

 

0:12:24.0 AP: And I mean, endless stories of people who you would think would want nothing to know. Like, I’ll give you a quick example. I was talking to a group of guys at a park where we one. One of the things we do is we do an outreach at a park here that’s by a lake. And in the summer in Minnesota, a bunch of people show up here and we set up like a like a barbecue and lawn games and music. And we just in a relational way, invite people in and have conversations. And there was a couple of guys that showed up and they had, they were younger guys, but they had these, the, all these tattoos. And when I looked at them, I started a conversation and I asked them, I said, what’s, what are your tattoos mean? And he said, well, which one? And so I pointed to one, it was like three downward facing arrows. And he said, oh, it means anti-fascist, anti-capitalist, and anti something else. I can’t remember. But the bottom line is they were like this hardcore left-wing political activist guys, right? So for many of us, those would be seen like the least reachable people you could imagine. And so we end up having this conversation and they were telling me how they, I was like, well why do you believe this? What is this all about? And they were telling me how they saw so much pain and injustice in the world.

 

0:13:34.0 AP: And they felt like we needed to change our political system to bring equity to the world. And rather than like see this as like a political debate, I actually saw this as an opportunity because I could see a lot in them that was good. Like they had a desire for justice. And I was like, man, I love that. I agree that the world is broken and I’m an activist too. I’m a Jesus activist because I believe that this world is not about the systems and the politics, it’s something of the heart that needs to be changed. And that that’s where the corruption is using his words, and that we can’t fix ourselves, we need something beyond ourselves. And we had this powerful conversation at the end, he let me pray for him. And here’s this guy who you would think would want nothing to do with the conversation about Jesus and the gospel totally open praying for him. So again, sometimes we have to navigate the conversations in different ways, but they are open. There’s no doubt about it.

 

0:14:33.0 GS: So, you know, it’s interesting as I listen to you talk Aaron I’m getting again excited because the way we train teenagers that Dare 2 Share is we call ask admire admit ask a ton of questions Find areas of agreement like you know, and I’m listening to you like it’s classic ask admire admit you’re engaging not enraging You’re asking questions. You’re doing what Jesus did the other thing that, when we met, it was in Chicago, we sat down and really had a conversation at the global leadership summit and I said,” Hey, what, you know, how do you train these students to share the gospel?” And you’re like, I take them to the cross. I mean, we focus on the cross of Christ and we make sure that’s central and I’m like, okay, that’s perfect. I mean, that’s exactly what the Apostle Paul did in 1 Corinthians 15, 3, and 4, and that’s what we got to do. Take them to the cross of Christ. And how important is that as you’re sharing the gospel to really make sure that’s central? ‘Cause I don’t know, I mean, I think we may have talked about this. I’ve heard so many preachers and evangelists give the gospel without really focusing deeply on the cross of Christ and His finished work. And it’s like, you know, telling a joke without giving a punchline. I mean, how important is that? And what is the impact of that cross message, the cross, and the empty tomb to one of these outsiders of the church when they really hear and understand that for the first time.

 

0:16:03.0 AP: Yeah, and man, if you, like you said, if you admit, omit the cross, then you’re omitting the power of the gospel. Because it comes back to the idea that the gospel is not just a matter of transfer of information, right? It’s a revelation of God. It’s a supernatural conviction and revelation. And so it’s not about my words. It’s about his power speaking through me. And the message of the cross is the power of the gospel. What’s also interesting, though, is scripture talks about how the message of the cross is both foolishness and the power of God. And I think that’s part of the tension. I think that’s why sometimes we do omit the crosses ’cause there’s a foolishness to it. And I believe that foolishness there is on purpose because then it can’t be about me and my persuasive words and me being like the cool relational friend that just loves them in without the power of the gospel. Right? So the message of the cross is foolishness in the power of God.

 

0:17:05.0 AP: And I think there’s a tension there, a healthy tension that forces us to not depend on our words and fully depend on the power of the Holy Spirit to convict and to reveal the truth in a way that, I can’t with my words, I can’t. So I think that’s a big part of it. I’d say the other thing in our day, where so much, especially in America, in a post-Christian context, where so much garbage gets tied into the church and Christianity, fair or unfair when we make secondary things like politics or like particular way of lifestyle behavior, sin in their life. If we make that primary and we put those in front of the cross, then we make things confusing. We get things messed up. But when we focus on Jesus and the cross and when someone meets him, meets Jesus, and makes him Lord of their life, all that stuff gets dealt with in time. And I think that’s part of the problem as well.

 

0:18:02.0 GS: Yeah, you got to, as Dave Gibson always says, “you got to catch him before you clean them”, right? And oftentimes we want to clean people up first. You come to Christ as a sinner and you are forgiven and you’re given. You’re forgiven for all your sins and you’re given new hope and purpose. And then you have the opportunity to really begin to learn what it means to surrender to Him and serve Him in every area of your life. And that’s a process. It’s still a process for me. I told my kids, I was like, why do you think I’m up in the morning every morning with the scriptures going through stuff? I said, “I’m working on areas of my life. I’m trying to surrender every area”. And it is a painful, long, painful process for us as believers. So you don’t want to put that heaviness on an unbeliever. They need Christ first and then the transformation. So let’s talk a little bit. I mean, I think it’s awesome. I think those who are familiar with Steiger think of it as a European thing, right? Yeah, but I think we need to realize that America is now a European thing. We are a post-Christian nation.

 

0:19:08.5 AP: Yep.

 

0:19:10.0 GS: So Steiger is needed and that philosophy is needed not just in the eastern block. It’s needed on the East coast and the west coast of North America. So tell us a little bit about your vision and passion, for not just Europe and where you’re currently at, but growing, and growing number of places in the United States. What’s your vision for the US?

 

0:19:35.7 AP: Yep. Yeah. Well, I mean, our heart, first of all, you’ve got, you guys and other ministries and churches have been doing such incredible work here, right? And so our hat is like, how can we come along and be part of what God is already doing? But I do think because culture shifted.

 

0:19:50.2 GS: Yep.

 

0:19:51.3 AP: And because we literally, and me personally literally grew up in post-Christian Europe, I think we have something to offer the American church, in terms of navigating the challenges that we’re in. And so our hat is, how can we serve the church in navigating a post-Christian culture and doing that effectively. So our basically our hat is number one, How can we mobilize a movement of young people in America for evangelism, for grassroots? And this is where our hats are so aligned. And of course, Dare 2 Share is often focused on teenagers and younger.

 

0:20:26.4 AP: We’re focused kind of the upper end of teenagers into young adults. So it’s kind of a natural partnership there. But it’s like, how can we mobilize? Because you said it at the beginning. One of the things that the Americans church is very concerned about, myself as well, ’cause I have four kids, is kids growing up in this environment, right? Like the crazy ideologies and things that are good being called evil and evil good and all that stuff. It’s a crazy world. But my challenge to the church is, if you want to raise up strong, resilient followers of Jesus, you can’t just play offense. You’ve gotta… Sorry, you can’t play defense. You gotta play offense. You gotta, you gotta walk your faith out in the world and engage the world. And in so doing, you see the power of the gospel at work and it changes you, right?

 

0:21:11.0 AP: And so that was my whole life, my experience growing up. And so one of it is like, for the sake of your own kids, but also for the kids that don’t know Jesus, we need to mobilize followers of Jesus, to go out and share the gospel in an organic, grassroots way. And I think that challenge is a little bit of an American context where we’re used to kind of the Billy Graham era, right? The this find the superstar to fill a stadium, which I’m not opposed to that. I’m just saying if we’re gonna really see culture transformed, we gotta, we need a grassroots movement where many are out sharing the faith, not just a few in a kind of an event style format. So that’s one big heart of ours is fuel grassroots movement, evangelism. And we’re doing that in different events, in different cities all over the country.

 

0:21:57.6 AP: And then, like I said, identifying those that say, Now this is my calling and I wanna become a missionary that is a specialist at reaching the global youth culture of my city. I wanna be in the scene. I want to be going to the the LGBTQ scene, the left, left-leaning activist groups, the music and art scene, wherever it is. And befriending people, developing relationships, sharing the gospel, doing evangelistic events, creating bible studies from the non-religious that walk people into a church. All that stuff that like a true missionary specialist can do. And then the last thing that we wanna do with that is then take what we learn and serve the church by equipping the church to do the same. Love it. And, and it’s a, it’s what’s one of our big philosophies is you don’t, you can’t teach what you don’t do. And so we wanna, and we wanna teach based on practice. So as we engage the culture of a city, then we can go and serve the church and equip them to reach the secular culture of their communities as well. So we’re doing that in cities all over the country and in partnership with various ministries.

 

0:22:56.9 GS: Steiger, where, where have you been all our lives. We love you guys. I mean, this is, this is just so, it, it’s really, it’s a really cool kind of redundancy because again, it’s, it’s… I often think that we miss the discipleship boat because we just think it’s all about inputs. We pour enough milk into the sponge, the milk of theology, the milk of truth. Then our kids are gonna own their faith. Get them to that apologetics worldview event… And they’re gonna own their faith. Get them to the more that theological curriculum. They’re gonna own their faith. And I’m pro-apologetics and pro-worldview and pro-theology for sure. But it’s all gonna rot, let’s say squeeze it out. Right?

 

0:23:37.3 AP: Yep. Yep.

 

0:23:38.1 GS: So let’s talk a little bit about how do you think, and you said it, but how do you think, evangelism, getting young people activated for the gospel is a discipleship accelerant like no other? Talk about that.

 

0:24:00.8 AP: Yeah. Yeah. ’cause well, you have to part put it out into action, right? You, we, we learn by what we do, and we learn when we have to step out of the boat and onto the water. And all of a sudden we’re not praying kind of like little nice little prayers here. We’re praying desperate prayers, because we’re on the water. We’re like, I’m gonna drown if God doesn’t show up here. Right? It’s when you step out and you put your faith into practice when you share the gospel with a friend, or when you go to a place where you’re not familiar in order to befriend people who walk into a church, all of a sudden you’re stretching your faith. All of a sudden you’re finding yourself in a place where your prayer life takes on a new intensity because you… It’s not theory anymore. It’s not nice, you know?

 

0:24:43.6 AP: And so, I think a lot of it is that as we put it out, we… It raises the intensity of our prayer life. It also makes us more dependent on, I study the Bible with more intensity. Because as I navigate relationships and questions and challenges, now I’m reading the Bible in a different way. And then lastly, and maybe most importantly, is we get to experience the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit through our lives. We see God moving through us. And all of a sudden it’s not a this kind of religious idea, but it’s real.

 

0:25:17.1 GS: Yeah.

 

0:25:17.2 AP: And so that all those things bind, I think was why an outward focused evangelistic focus actually strengthens believers. And makes them more resilient. And so, yeah, that’s, I’m all up all about that.

 

0:25:33.6 GS: Well, and I think the other thing, as kind of thinking through this with students, young people that are activated in sharing their faith, one of the pushbacks we get for years is, well, my kids I mean, we’re more into relational evangelism and our comeback has been this, number one, you can do cold turkey evangelism in a very relational way. ’cause Jesus did exactly that in John four. Philip did exactly that in Acts eight, very relational way. Secondly, if you can share Christ with a stranger on the street, it’s gonna be a lot easier for you to share Christ with your classmates and teammates and neighbors and coworkers. So if you can jump that huge hurdle of talking to a stranger, you can jump to smaller, smaller hurdle of talking to a friend. So.

 

0:26:21.3 GS: How would, let me just ask you this question. So, ’cause it is kind of a natural, I mean, handoff. I mean, we deal with middle school and high school people are always like, what about college? I’m like, well, you gonna apply this stuff college-wise? But there may be some youth leaders that you have seniors in high school, and they’re like, My goodness, I want them to be able to take the next step. I want them or maybe they’re juniors in high freshmen in high school, but they’re like, how do we, how would somebody find out more about Steiger and to get, really get their students, involved with them? Maybe there’s some college students listening to this now. How would they find out more if they’re ready to dive in deeper to Steiger?

 

0:27:05.1 AP: Yeah. Well, I mean, obviously you can go to our website, Steiger, S-T-E-I-G-E-R.org. But let me just say what I love about what you’re doing is you never graduate from the basics, right? It’s always just the simple sharing of the gospel is where it starts. And sometimes we overcomplicate it and we over contextualize it and all that. And so, to me, and again, I have young kids and I’m like, I’m getting them involved in Dare 2 Share. Because to me, that’s like building that muscle of courage, of sharing the gospel. And yet I also believe that as we grow in our ability, if assuming the foundation is there boldly sharing the gospel, that then there is also something to be said about how do I contextualize the gospel to be relevant for the day that God is where I’m at? Right?

 

0:27:50.7 AP: Jesus always use symbols and stories that resonate with the culture he is in. He knew his people, he knew the lies that they believed, the idols that they had, the felt needs that they had, and he could communicate the gospel effectively. So while I want to start with boldness, I also wanna be relevant in how I communicate. And so I think if they can go together, but I think it starts with boldness, it starts with, ’cause I think the biggest issue for most people is we’re just not sharing the gospel at all, let alone relevantly. So that, all that said, we have a number of what we call impact days, where we work with local churches to train them to send out young adults into the streets, sharing the gospel, teaching them how to engage in relevant ways with secular culture.

 

0:28:37.4 AP: For those that really feel like, now this is my life’s call. We have the Steiger Mission School in Germany where people from all over the world come, to be trained to go back to their cities and establish a city team that’s kind of that missionary specialist in their city. So there’s various training resources that we have. But again, it’s really, I guess it’s what I’ve, what I think God is looking for is someone that has a heart that’s like this holy discontent. This sense of like, I’m not content with the way things are in my world, in my life. I wanna see God move. I wanna see God move in power in me and through me, and I wanna be part of something. And I really believe we do need to see a radical missionary movement. A lot of… There’s been a lot of talk of revival and a lot of talk of like these big prayer movements. And I think what we need to see is prayer movements that end up going out and…

 

0:29:27.3 GS: So, you know what, dude, so I was asked the other day about certain revivals that have taken place. I’m like, if it doesn’t leave the room, it’s not a revival, it’s a renewal. And it’s good. I mean, I think prayer movements are good, but if you’re just in a room, praying and confessing your sin and recommitting yourself, and you’re not taking it to the streets, it’s not revival. I mean, look at the… Like, I love the movie, Jesus Revolution because it actually started in the streets, right?

 

0:29:54.1 AP: Yes.

 

0:29:55.3 GS: And ended in the church. But it, it, that’s, we gotta get it to the streets. So Stei… Is it steiger.com?

 

0:30:02.8 AP: Org. Steiger.org.

 

0:30:05.9 GS: Steiger.org really encourage youth leaders at the minimum, go to the website and click around so you can be familiar and pray, but also be thinking about the students in your group or college students that you know, or those ones with holy discontent that want to take it to the next level. And I gotta say this, one of the things I love about you guys is, man, you believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. You believe in the power of evangelism. You believe in the power of prayer, but you are solid theologically. Which oftentimes, again, sometimes those things don’t go together.

 

0:30:40.9 AP: Exactly.

 

0:30:41.6 GS: But man, you guys, you talk about the basics. You have the basics down, and you’re committed to that. But you want to get it to the street. So I’m gonna, I’m gonna bring in now our guest youth leader, Brian Baldwin. Brian is, has been a youth leader himself. He is, and I’ve already forgotten. He’s with the Oklahoma State Baptist. Brian, what is your technical title? It’s not…

 

0:31:05.7 Brian Baldwin: Youth Missions and Evangelism Specialist.

 

0:31:09.9 GS: That’s what I meant to say.

 

0:31:12.4 BB: Yeah.

 

0:31:13.4 GS: Youth mission and evangelism specialist. He’s been a part of the Dare 2 Share Council for many, many years. A good friend for many, many years, does a huge evangelism, training, coming up here in a week or two, to thousands of teens does fall, helps work with Falls Creek, 50,000 teens over the course of the summer, like the largest camp in the United States. And they’re all about mobilizing teens for the gospel. But Brian, I’m, I know your heart. I can just see you’re twitching. Your heart’s been resonating along with mine as Aaron spoke. Were not our hearts burning within us, as Aaron spoke? But hey, I’ll turn it over to you, Brian, to comment question and you guys carry the conversation.

 

0:32:00.7 BB: Yeah, man, thank you so much, Aaron. I love what you’re doing. I love it when I hear about people wanting to lead a missionary movements. And, man, I think our churches need to think like missionaries. And sometimes I think in the States, they think missions is something separate, from what they’re doing. And, so I think guess the first question I’d like to ask you is like, how can we change whether that be the youth leader or a staff person in your church, how can we change our church’s culture to be more like right outta the book of Acts where we are, we’re living the missionary life, right in our own towns kind of here near. And then also far, how do we develop, develop a culture of being aware of the lostness around the world? We live in, in the Bible belt, man, there’s a church in every corner. Sometimes we don’t realize that there is a lot of lostness, and not churches in every corner. So how can our churches, again, have a culture, have a missions culture, and to take that beyond man, their, their town?

 

0:33:05.4 AP: Yep. Yeah. The, one of the things that for us is important is like you, you’re, you need to become aware of the problem and your heart needs to break. And we need to respond to that with desperate prayer before we talk about strategy, right? So, for us, a lot of times we start with Nehemiah, the whole concept of the book of Nehemiah and the story of Nehemiah, where here’s this guy, he’ss an exile, but he has a pretty comfortable job. And he’s told, Hey, the city in Jerusalem, it’s in ruins. The walls are broken, the city’s vulnerable. God opens his heart, his eyes to the reality of the world. And so often, I mean, I think one of the problems of our times is we’re, especially Americans, we are so busy, we’re so overscheduled, we’re so just are, there’s no margin to even see people around us.

 

0:33:51.6 AP: And so we need God to open our hearts. And so here, here’s Nehemiah. God opens his eyes to the problem. And then rather than saying, Oh, that’s too bad, or Let me come up with a strategy, it says in Nehemiah 1:4, that when he heard these things, he sat down and he wept. And this idea that we need a broken heart, because the extent to which our hearts are broken is the extent that we’re gonna actually do something about it. The extent to which my heart is broken means I will actually change. There’s psychological idea that we won’t change our habits or our lifestyles until the pain of not changing exceeds the pain of changing. Right? And so we need God to break our hearts so that I’m not content with the way things are. I’m not, I’m not worried about the style of worship or the color of the carpeting.

 

0:34:46.1 AP: I wanna go out and I wanna see people reach. ’cause my heart is so broken. But you can’t, you can’t, like, bro… A broken heart is not like a workout program. Okay, starting a Monday, I’m gonna start loving people. Right? It’s a, it’s something that is birthed outta repentance. You say, God, my heart is cold and I don’t care like I should, and it’s wrong. Forgive me, give me your heart. And then God does that. And it’s dangerous because now you see people and you can’t remain passive, and it’s disruptive in the best possible way. So it’s gotta start in a broken heart. And then, like it says in Nehemiah 1:4, “When I heard these things, I sat down and wet, but then for some time I prayed and fasted before the God of heaven.” So then he seeks God desperately because he recognized that the problem is not difficult, it’s impossible. And that our only hope is to get on our knees before the God of the impossible.

 

0:35:32.6 AP: So for me, if you want to create a culture of evangelism and missions in your church, in your ministry, in your family, it starts by saying, God, open my eyes, break my heart, and desperate prayer. And then the what comes out of that. But it starts there. And so that’s always my challenge, is starting there and then knowing that in the US context, there is a difference between evangelism in missions and what, missionary work. Evangelism is sharing the gospel usually to someone within your own cultural context, which means you share assumptions. But today, to be a missionary means to make the gospel accessible to a different culture. And often that is the case, even in a city like Oklahoma City, which is the Bible Belt, there are still people that are in a post-Christian culture that needs, that need the gospel communicated in a relevant way to them. And so that’s the difference I think, between evangelism and being a missionary same heart, but it’s about making it accessible to a different culture.

 

0:36:26.4 BB: Amen. Amen. Man, that’s that’s awesome stuff, man. I love, I love what you said about Nehemiah. That’s right on. And I think about getting people excited and is a first step, getting that awareness out there, hopefully develop urgency. But, man, when it comes to young people today, obviously we know that there’s plenty of information out there. I mean, actually it’s information overload. It doubles like every 12 hours now. And but teenagers need experiences, right?

 

0:36:57.6 AP: Yes.

 

0:37:00.4 BB: They need that sense of identity, for it to be real. And so, maybe a question both for you and Aaron and Greg, why are experiences so important in the development of young people in their spiritual development? You know, whether that be going far away from home or right where you’re at. Why is that so important and what are some, what are some practical ways to, for youth leaders to give students those experiences?

 

0:37:25.0 AP: You wanna start with Greg?

 

0:37:26.1 GS: Yeah. I mean, that’s a great question. And I think that’s the value. A lot of times youth leaders put on missions trips because they go out of their context, they have an experience for a week. They lean on the Lord, they see the supernatural take place. And I’m a big believer in mission trips. A lot of times they say, well, do they really change the culture? I’m like, Well, it depends on the kind of mission trip. I mean, if a student is actively and lovingly sharing the gospel, yes, if they’re just painting the wall, the same wall that’s been painted 500 times, probably not. But the student themselves, when they’re evangelistically involved, get transformed. I think the challenges we segment that week off, as that, that’s our missions trip experience. As opposed to every day when those students get up and they go to their school, that they’re on mission, that they have an opportunity to build relationships, to sit at a different cafeteria table, maybe with the students.

 

0:38:26.3 GS: You don’t need to go to Europe to find the Steiger audience. Go to your school cafeteria and sit at that table with those kids that you normally would not sit with. And when students begin to do that, then man, that experience of depending on the Holy Spirit, what’s the key to growth? What did Jesus say, John 15, remain in me? When do students, remain in Christ? Oftentimes it starts with a jolt. ’cause they’re freaked out, ’cause they wanna share the gospel and they’re depending on God, they plug into the vine. And that’s when the growth begins to take place, the nourishing sap of the Holy Spirit to give them the growth that they need. So evangelism, becomes that experience that makes them ultra dependent on the Holy Spirit, which produces a spiritual growth.

 

0:39:12.0 AP: Yeah. Yep. Couldn’t agree more. I think we have to… I do think you can create moments to catalyze that, and that’s why an international mission trip, but also some local evangelistic outreach can catalyze, going back to your point earlier, Greg, about like relational versus the cold Turkey evangelism. There’s something good and healthy about pushing myself out and sparking a conversation with the God… With a stranger, who by the way, may encounter Jesus as a result of that. But also it pushes me, it builds the muscle of courage. That’s the beauty of courage, right? We sometimes think that people that share the gospel, they’re just fearless people that have no problem talking to anyone when reality, they built up that muscle of courage. And courage is not the absence of fear. It’s doing what God has called you to do, despite the fear.

 

0:40:00.2 AP: And so, if I can build up my muscle of courage through a particular outreach or something, then I’m gonna build up that muscle of courage when I’m with my friends or when I’m at school or wherever, whatever the context. ’cause I’m building up that courage. I’m seeing God move. I’m building up my faith. So yeah, I think it’s important to create these moments. And certainly what Dare 2 Share is doing gives you those moments. We have something called Steiger Streets, which is these simple creative tools that you can take and go out to the streets. And then we have this thing called the steiger movements, which is basically people that are doing the same thing as you, that are encouraging you, you can do it and sharing ideas, but just, I think a lot of times, evangelism is so intimidating.

 

0:40:38.8 AP: So if we can create some simple tools that spark conversations, I’ll give you a quick example. We have one, a whole like kind of list of creative tools. One of is called the Masterpiece. And what it is, is it’s this, basically we tell you how to make it, but basically you create this board that is designed nicely and it says the greatest masterpiece on it. And you go somewhere where there’s a bunch of people and you start having conversations and say, Hey, I have here something that’s considered the greatest masterpiece of the world. And you ask them, first of all, what do you think would, what do you think would be under there? And they’ll to some piece of art or this or that, and you spark a conversation about the greatest masterpiece. And then when you say, Okay, you wanna see it? Like, sure, you open it up and it’s a mirror reflecting back on them, and they’re like, whoa.

 

0:41:24.5 AP: And you’re like, and you talk about how they are the greatest masterpiece and how they are not just an accident that came about because of some blind forces, but that they were created by a God who loves them. And that they’re supposed to find their identity and their hope in a relationship with God, and then boom into the gospel scene and need all that can be conversation, but it helps spark these conversations. And then you can then you can have that natural conversation with a friend. You don’t know the tool anymore, but you’ve built up that muscle of courage. So it’s using things like that to spark that experience that then can translate to other places.

 

0:41:58.4 GS: Yeah. I love that. I hate to wrap this, this, time up, but, we’re running outta time here, Brian, great questions. And, so Brian tell us a little bit about, if people want more information about Oklahoma Baptist and what you’re doing at Falls Creek, where would they go?

 

0:42:22.1 BB: Yeah, oklahomabaptist.org and, specifically for youth, just put a /youth on the end. But, another website is gostudents.org. We actually mobilize around 500 plus students every summer on mission trips in our states, around the country and around the world. And we feel like that having experiences for these young people are really important. And for the people, but that they minister too, but also for the participants and those partners around the world. And so I’d love for you to learn about that gostudents.org. And so, and I appreciate… Yeah. And so I just appreciate you letting us get to visit and, get some wisdom from you, Aaron.

 

0:43:01.5 GS: Yeah.

 

0:43:05.5 AP: It’s great to meet you.

 

0:43:05.6 GS: So, and if people want to follow you personally, Brian.

 

0:43:08.3 BB: Yeah, man, just Facebook, Brian Thomas Baldwin, would be great. Or my email bbaldwin@oklahomabaptists.org, with s would love to chat about missions evangelism and, that’d be great.

 

0:43:26.4 GS: Yeah. Brian’s, he’ss killing it when it comes to mobilizing. Not just come and see the Baptist way, come and see, but go and get, do them both and that’s what you’re doing. Aaron, man, love what you’re doing. Huge Steiger fan. The farther I dig in the, the richer the gold gets with Steiger, and I’m getting really excited about that. So again, steiger.org, I challenge every youth leader watching. Go there, check it out. How would they follow you personally?

 

0:43:58.8 AP: Instagram @steiger.org. I’m not a huge social media guy, but yep, I’m there.

 

0:44:03.3 GS: Okay. @steiger to for Instagram. Great. Great. All right. Well, hey, let me, let me pray for both of you guys and then we’ll, we’ll wrap it up. Father, I just lift up, Brian, just continue to bless him and Oklahoma Baptist churches that are gospel advancing. Continue to mobilize a generation through, Go Students through everything that they do through the upcoming event. Mobilize them for the gospel. And thank you for Brian’s heart for doing that. And Lord, I thank you for Aaron and his family and this movement of going to those who seem beyond reach and they’re not Lord, that you are using them to reach the unreachable with the power of the Gospel of Christ, and to steal and seal the faith of these young people, as they articulate this message. And just continue to give us all wisdom, as we seek to partner closer and closer for the advancement of the Gospel of Christ. Help these students to grow as they go. We pray in Jesus name. Amen. Amen.

 

0:45:03.6 AP: Amen.

 

0:45:05.1 BB: Amen.

 

0:45:05.9 GS: Thanks so much you guys. God bless and youth leaders, remember that a thriving youth ministry is a gospel advancing one.