Some of us came of age in churches where evangelism was just one more compartmentalized topic on the calendar – something that was addressed infrequently, checked off and safely packed away until next time.
But the more I study Scripture – specifically Jesus’ and Paul’s ministries – the more convinced I’ve become that sharing the Good News should bleed across everything we do.
So as we continue to tackle our “Top 10 Questions,” let’s address a very practical question everyone striving for an evangelism-focused youth ministry needs to consider…
Question #8: How often should I give the gospel?
My answer is simple: every week.
Now maybe you’re thinking there’s no way I can do that for my lesson every week, my regular students will get bored and never grow deeper. But this kind of “either/or” viewpoint is actually a false dilemma. It’s not a matter of “I either teach a deeper lesson, or I share the gospel.” Instead, it’s “both/and.”
Paul’s Evangelism-Focused Ministry Model
We catch a glimpse of the Apostle Paul’s “both/and” ministry model in Romans 1.
Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in him is being talked about all over the world. God knows how often I pray for you. Day and night I bring you and your needs in prayer to God, whom I serve with all my heart by spreading the Good News about his Son…When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours…So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the Good News…For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.” (Romans 1:8-10; 12, NLT).
Take a few minutes and dig a little deeper here:
- Like Paul, do you see sharing the Good News of the gospel as “service” to God? Do your students? Why or why not?
- What does Paul want to do when he gets together with the Roman believers?
- What phrases in this passage indicate that Paul places a high priority on sharing the Good News?
- How can sharing the Good News of the gospel help believers grow in their faith?
Like Paul, we must also let the gospel message bleed across everything. And because redemption is the theme of Scripture, any lesson can transition into the gospel. Working the gospel into your lesson application simply requires a salvation segue way or transition statement. Here are a couple of examples of how this works:
- Self-Image Salvation Segue: One of the things that can really help people’s self-image is when they find out that someone has sacrificed something for them. I know I definitely feel more valued when I find out someone has done something special for me that cost them a lot. Did you know that the God of the Universe made the ultimate sacrifice for you and for me? Here’s how it happened…
- Anxiety Salvation Segue: It’s easy to become fearful about the bad things that might happen to us. We could be diagnosed with a deadly disease, injured in a car accident or killed by a gunman on a shooting rampage. But an amazing thing I’ve discovered is that while I don’t have a lot of control over what happens in this life, I do have a choice in what happens in the afterlife – and so do you. Here’s how it works…
Extend the Invitation!
Each time you present the gospel, it’s important to include an invitation to respond. Without providing students an opportunity to put their trust in Christ, it’s almost like telling them they’ve just won a brand new car, describing it in detail, then not letting them in on how to claim their prize. When you share the gospel, you give students the greatest opportunity of their lives and they must be given a chance to take action. You can invite them to raise their hand, fill out a card or give some outward indication of their commitment so that you can follow up with new believers.
When you give the gospel weekly, both evangelism and discipleship are happening simultaneously! Jesus’ message is being shared and you’re discipling your Christian students by modeling how to bring the gospel up. As your teens hear your salvation segues each week, it will help them learn how to think about virtually every conversational topic as an opportunity to point people toward Jesus.