Evangelism Myth #10: Postmodern teenagers aren’t interested in conversations about the gospel.
If you’re a regular reader of energize, you might be wondering right about now…Evangelism myth #10? I could have sworn the last energize was about e-myth #1. Did I somehow miss #2 – 9?
No, you’re good.
Let’s just say I’m embracing my postmodern, non-linear, impulsive side by randomly selecting which e-myth I want to explore on any given day. (Or it could just be my ADD…)
Teenagers’ Spiritual Antennae
There’s been plenty of discussion swirling in recent years about how young people today aren’t interested in conversations about the gospel. I couldn’t disagree more. In my experience, today’s teenagers are very spiritually attuned. And it’s not just me.
A 2010 Barna poll reported that 71% of teenagers pray. The National Study of Youth and Religion reported that 60% of teenagers say religious faith is important in their lives.
So it should be no surprise to us that teenagers have their spiritual antennae up. They’re open to considering various spiritual viewpoints and discussing the big questions of life: Who am I? Where did I come from? Why am I here? Why do bad things happen?
They’re interested in spiritual conversations – and an open, honest, give and take dialogue about Jesus’ gospel message is the ultimate spiritual conversation!
When you think about it, the theology of the gospel message addresses the two most basic longings of postmodern teenagers: security (Am I loved?) and significance (Why am I here?). Both are answered in the gospel.
Here’s a list of some of the other struggles that understanding and embracing the gospel solves:
- Bad self image…..Why? Because we have been declared a new creation! 2 Corinthians 5:17
- Guilt………………….How? Jesus paid the price for all of our sins! Colossians 2:13
- Sin’s power………..When? The power of sin was crushed when Jesus rose again! Romans 6:6
- Unforgiveness……How? We can forgive others because Jesus forgave us! Ephesians 4:32
- Spiritual apathy…Why? We offer ourselves to Him in light of His sacrifice! Romans 12:1
Postmodern teenagers are very open to spiritual conversations that are focused on a relationship with God. And that’s exactly what Jesus offers them in the following passages:
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent (John 17:3).
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).
Preparing Your Teens to Talk About the Gospel with Their Friends
What does this mean for your youth ministry? That it’s essential you prepare your students to have these kinds of open, honest conversations about the gospel with their unreached friends. Dare 2 Share is here to come alongside you and help you with this!
Here are some practical how-to ideas to consider:
- Do a quick assessment to determine whether your teens are equipped to share the gospel with others. This will give you a sense of where you’re starting point should be.
- Show the Life in 6 Words: The GOSPEL video at youth group (found on www.gospeljourney.com). Discuss it. Then challenge each of your students to share it and discuss it with at least one of their unreached friends.
- If you connect with your students via social media texting or email, regularly pass along D2S’s free weekly devotional Soul Fuel. This engaging resource uses popular movies, songs, topics or trends to challenge teenagers with spiritual truth. It will help your students learn how to turn everyday conversations toward the gospel message.
- Check out Dare 2 Share’s youth group curriculum offerings. Each of the following do a fantastic job preparing your teens to engage others in open, honest dialogue about the gospel: SALT… creating thirst, Life in 6 Words: The GOSPEL Explored; GOSPEL Journey Adventure; Reach Out, Don’t Freak Out.
Don’t buy the myth that teenagers aren’t interested in talking about the gospel. Engage with them yourself. And even better, prepare your students to initiate spiritual discussion about the best news on the planet.
What’s your sense? What percent of your students are capable of having an open, substantive conversation about the gospel with their unreached friends? What steps are you going to take to improve that percentage?