Do you struggle with making evangelism a priority in your personal life? How about in your youth ministry setting? Many of us are more than ready to run in the opposite direction, both figuratively and literally, when the e-word flashes across our minds and triggers our evangephobia.
Why is that?
We’ve been unpacking some of the key reason for our evangphobia, and here’s another we should tackle head on…when you feel like getting around to it…
Reason #4: Lack of Urgency
What difference does it make anyway?
The eternal realities of the ever after can feel like they’re a lifetime away. Especially when we’re young. Teenagers and 20-somethings often see themselves as invincible. Any thought of a day of reckoning is far, far away in very distant future. And our 21st century world of instant gratification further magnifies this tendency to embrace the here and now with little thought for unseen realities.
What’s the big deal?
What’s the big deal? My friends who don’t know Jesus won’t die until we’re at least 80-something. Am I right? Have you ever had this thought when succumbing to your evangephobia and justifying your lack of urgency for sharing the gospel?
While this attitude is common in our culture, we would be wise to instead take our cue from Scripture. Jesus has plenty to say about being ready. His words are filled with the urgent need to be prepared spiritually for the unknown future. Check out: Matthew 24:36-44, 2 Peter 3:10-15 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.
For those around us who don’t know Jesus, being spiritually unprepared has eternal consequences that’s scope and breadth boggle the mind.
Uncomfortable Truths Locked in the Basement
Yes, I’m talking about hell. I fully realize that hell is a very unpopular concept these days. And with good reason.
Frankly, it’s an unpleasant subject that leads to a lot of questions about the character of God. And while most Christians believe in some kind of hell, we usually view it as that crazy doctrine that we keep locked in the basement of our belief systems. We know that it is there, chained to the underbelly of the theology of the holiness of God, but we hope that it stays in the shadows and never comes up in conversation. Why?
Because if people found out what we really believed they would think we were radicals, extremists, and kooks. And if hell isn’t real, then maybe we are.
Your Worst Fears Multiplied by Infinity for Eternity
But from the Old Testament to the New, from the prophets to the apostles, to Jesus Himself, hell is described with real and raw adjectives as your worst fears come true and then multiplied by infinity for eternity.
There’s no getting away from the reality that the Bible describes hell as for real and forever.
So if it is real, then why aren’t we more intense, more aggressive, more intentional, more urgent? If we believe the Bible when it says that hell is real, then we should be motivated to keep as many people as we can out of it—friends, foes, teachers, classmates, coworkers, teammates, family members, strangers… everybody.
So if It’s Real…Let’s Get Busy
It’s your job to lead your students down this path that we’re all called to—to urgently share our faith. It’s time to get busy. So this week, tackle some of the following ideas and see if they help you cultivate some evangelism urgency in your own life and in your youth ministry, as well.
- Study the Scriptures noted above that deal with the urgency of the message of the gospel. Write out Psalm 90:12, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Put it on your mirror or computer screen to help you remember to be more intentional. Share what you learn from your study of Scripture with your students.
- Pray for and hold each other accountable for intentionally cultivating a sense of urgency about sharing the gospel.
- Pray by name for those who need to hear about Jesus. Ask the Spirit to provide God-given opportunities to share the gospel.
- Commit to sharing your faith this week with at least one person who needs Jesus. Challenge your students to do the same. Check out the GOSPEL Journey Message for help with this.
Attack that ho-hum attitude toward evangelism that is often the norm in many youth groups and cultivate a climate that’s more attuned to Scripture’s teaching on the urgency of the Jesus’ message and mission!
This is the third article in the “Evangephobia” series.