As a youth leader you may find yourself captaining a “youth ministry ship” that’s already headed full-steam ahead on what feels like a predetermined course – a course that may not be as effective as you’d like when it comes to making disciples who make disciples.
Moving from the status quo “autopilot” to a more missional, evangelism-focused approach to ministry can feel like you’re trying to turn a massive, ocean-going vessel. It doesn’t turn on a dime. It takes time. It takes effort. And it takes a powerful engine.
It can feel like a daunting task, if you think it’s all about rolling up your sleeves and making it happen through your own human efforts. Which leads us to the next of our “Top Ten Questions about Making Evangelism a Priority in Youth Ministry.”
Question #3: Developing an evangelism-focused youth ministry feels overwhelming, how will I ever pull this off?
So here’s the deal. You won’t.
It is the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Trinity, the One who dwells inside every believer, who will enable you to lead this journey toward evangelism-focused youth ministry. He is the powerful engine that must drive any course change.
If you feel overwhelmed, take courage from Acts 1:8:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Taking your Teenagers Deeper
The Holy Spirit will guide you as you lead your teens into all truth. He will provide you with the wisdom and strength you need to navigate the challenging journey toward making disciples who make disciples.
Check out this verse where Jesus promises that the Spirit will be involved in the maturation process for believers:
“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you” (John 14:26).
The Holy Spirit dwells inside every one of your believing teenagers. He will be the ultimate teacher of your teens as you seek to take them deeper in their walk with Christ and wider into the world with the message of the gospel. And while you are only with your teenagers a few hours a week, He is with them 24-7.
And He is much more serious about taking them to a place of deeper discipleship than you could ever be! You are not alone in this quest for the spiritual transformation of your youth group.
Empowering your Teenagers to Share the Gospel
When the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within us, one of His strong desires is to make us witnesses. And He provides the power for this to happen effectively. Now don’t get me wrong…you are responsible to cast the vision for evangelism with your students – you must help them understand what Jesus tells us about sharing the Good News and making disciples. And you must train and equip your students so that they know the basics of how to conversationally explain the gospel message to others.
But as you challenge your students to share their faith, remember that the Holy Spirit of God is echoing your challenge from the inside. And even more importantly, He provides the power for them to actually follow through and impact hearts and lives for all eternity.
So don’t feel overwhelmed at the prospect of building a more evangelism-focused ministry. Instead, take an inventory of your own spiritual life. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is reliance on the Holy Spirit something real and practical that your teens can see in your life? (2 Corinthians 3:17-18)?
- Have you ever thought of yourself as the “associate youth pastor” at your church? The Holy Spirit Himself should be the “lead youth pastor” for your teens.
- Do you really believe the Spirit can transform your teens?
- Are you begging the Spirit of God in prayer to transform your teens?
- Is every lesson you teach, every conversation you have with a teenager and every prayer you offer on their behalf done in reliance on the Holy Spirit?
- Are you communicating to your teens that the Holy Spirit will empower them as they take the message of the gospel to their unreached friends?
Whether you feel like you’re captaining a cruise ship or a freighter, turning your ship in a more evangelism-focused direction can only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit. He’s the engine that drives everything. As you let Him steer the change within yourself and your teenagers, you’ll find that He is taking you on a course that is full of adventure and Kingdom impact as you make disciples who make disciples.