We’ve all felt the adrenaline rush that comes when a roller coaster, airplane, or car suddenly puts the pedal to the metal, thrusting us back into our seats. That’s acceleration at its finest.
Acceleration isn’t just about how fast you’re going. That’s what, in engineering terms, is called velocity—which is kind of like acceleration’s boring brother. Velocity essentially just measures your change in position over time, while acceleration measures your change in velocity over time. Acceleration is what gets scientists excited.
Acceleration lets you know you’re going farther faster in the right direction. So when you reach the acceleration stage of your Gospel Advancing journey, it’s exciting to see your youth group going farther faster in the right direction.
The church of Thessalonica is a good example in the Bible of an accelerating ministry. In 1 Thessalonians, Paul urges them to continue and even expand what they’re doing: “Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:1). Your group can also do “more and more,” if you pray for and move toward these five signs.
Five Signs of Acceleration
1. New believers
As you and your students share the Gospel regularly, eventually you’ll have the joy of seeing new believers become a part of your youth group. It’s important to quickly start the process of discipling them so they can grow. Once 10% of your group is made up of new believers who are being discipled, you’ll start to see some serious acceleration. Now Grow is a great free resource you can use to help new believers move forward in their relationship with Jesus.
2. Churchwide intrigue
Don’t be surprised when the adults in your church start noticing the progress you’re making in your Gospel Advancing journey. One sure sign you’re accelerating is that some of the other ministries or pastors will start asking you things like, “What’s going on with the youth?” When this happens, we hope you joyfully share with them the 7 Values of a Gospel Advancing ministry, all of which translate quite well to adult ministry. A great resource to share with other adult ministry leaders in your church is the 4 Chair Discipling book, which outlines the progression of a growing disciple.
3. Network influence
As you gain confidence in the Gospel Advancing values, consider joining together with other youth pastors in the area for a synergistic impact. Imagine getting the whole network aligned around these concepts and the revival that could happen in your community!
4. Widespread support
As you faithfully continue sharing the importance of the Gospel, you may notice that the original skeptics transition into great supporters. Once all your leaders and 20% of your students are sharing the Gospel, your group is likely to head into acceleration. Try giving a copy of the Dare 2 Share Field Guide to those who may still need more encouragement or information to feel comfortable sharing their faith.
5. Leaders’ growth
If your student and adult leaders are regularly modeling evangelism and intercessory prayer, not only will the culture of your youth group begin to change, but your leaders will grow in unbelievable ways. As the head youth leader or youth pastor, spend extra time with your adult and student leaders to encourage them, answer their questions, and pray with them. You’ll be amazed at how God will accelerate your group when you have a strong and unified group of leaders.