Obedience. It’s a word that can carry a lot of baggage in our freedom-loving, self-absorbed culture. It’s a word that often makes us squirm.
But Jesus calls us to obedience.
Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing if every Christian gave 100% when called to obey the clear and simple commands of Christ: love God, love others, go and make disciples…
But frankly, most of us aren’t there.
Still, we’re on a journey toward Jesus, hopefully growing step-by-step in learning to obey Him—growing in Christlikeness. It starts at the moment we trust in Jesus and continues for a lifetime.
If we’re serious about encouraging this same growing process in our students, I’m convinced that we must learn to make evangelism a priority in our youth ministries. Sharing Jesus’ message with others is a clear directive from Him. There’s no disputing that John 20:21 and Matthew 28:19 lay it out there plainly enough for all of us. That’s why it’s so important to challenge your teenagers to take seriously Jesus’ command in this area. It’s a fundamental necessity for building life-long patterns and choices into teenagers’ lives so they will learn to put Jesus first. If we fail to motivate and mobilize our students for deliberate, purposeful evangelism, they will begin to wonder whether they should take obedience to Jesus in any area of life seriously.
After all, teenagers are experts at picking up on hypocrisy.
Letting Simple Obedience Drive Outreach
I’ve actually found that teenagers are often better than many adults at taking Jesus’ command to “go” seriously. For many adults, Jesus’ words related to outreach have become so familiar that they’ve lost their potency and punch.
But teenagers, particularly those who are new in their faith, can be truly stirred by THE Cause of Christ and unleashed with a mission and message that can put adults to shame. Help them see their schools as a mission field. Train them how to explain the gospel clearly. And tap into the enthusiasm of new teen believers and help them reach out urgently to their lost friends.
If we take a long, hard look at Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples,” simple obedience should actually be all the motivation any of us needs. But as we’ve been exploring in this energize Passion Fuels series, God graciously provides us with other motivational fuels that can help stir us to action if there are times when simple obedience isn’t enough to hold our focus.
Step Up and Ignite the Passion
So unleash your teenagers for evangelism with this powerfully motivating passion fuel and challenge them to reach their friends with the Good News of the gospel. Here are a few ideas to help you:
- Study and pray through Jesus’ commands to spread His message and process through what obedience to that call should look like in your own life. Then take at least one concrete step personally that will push you toward forward progress in following Jesus on this.
- Share what you’ve learned with your students about obeying Jesus’ call to share His message. Make sure they understand that obeying God in this area isn’t about earning your way to heaven.
- Build a weekly “Take 5 for THE Cause” time into your youth group meeting time. Set aside a few minutes for teens to share specifically about their own efforts to share their faith with others. By making this a regular feature of your weekly routine, you’ll build awareness and students can learn from each other’s experiences. To get this ball rolling initially, you may need to provide an advance invitation to a few teenagers to share about spiritual conversations they’ve had with others.
So stop thinking of obedience as a word to make you squirm. Take a step. Simple obedience to God can be a powerful evangelism passion fuel for many teenagers.