Dare to Share: Making a Beeline to The Cross
group magazine: September-October, 2011
by Greg Stier
Many people ask for advice about raising the temperature for evangelism within the context of their youth ministry. One action step I challenge them with is presenting the gospel every week.
Too many youth leaders assume that all their meeting attendees are Christians. Don't make that mistake. Regularly offer the gospel in a clear, compelling way.
This has two benefits. The obvious one is that teenagers will know that any time they invite friends to youth group, they'll hear a clear gospel message. Of course, the ultimate goal is that teenagers will own the process of reaching friends for Christ. But inviting friends to a meeting and then following up with a spiritual conversation can be a natural part of that process.
The second benefit is that presenting the gospel weekly serves as a training ground. Your presentations will prepare kids for what to say when they get their own opportunity to share Jesus. If young people hear you explain the gospel week after week, soon they'll be able to do the same.
The trick is transitioning from your talk to the gospel as smoothly as possible. Here are a few helpful ideas:
• Look for the redemptive tie-in. Every good story has an element of redemption or a conflict that's resolved by a hero's actions. From the "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" series to the accounts of Noah and Daniel, search for a scarlet ribbon of redemption that can turn toward the gospel.
• Look for real needs. Many youth talks deal with teenagers' felt needs. But you must look to the real needs behind those surface needs and show how the gospel addresses them. For the felt need of poor self-image, for example, the real need is an understanding that we all struggle with "missing the mark" (sin) as a result of humanity's Fall. The solution is Jesus' grace and forgiveness.
• Don't stress about a segue. If you can't think of one, just give the gospel anyway. Say something like, "Okay, I want to change the subject and speak to those who may not be sure about all this…."
Train Christian teenagers to listen closely and pray with their eyes open as you present the gospel. It's important that they not be a distraction by checking messages or whispering with neighbors. The great preacher Charles Spurgeon said, "I take my text and make a beeline for the cross." Let's do the same.
Greg is president of Dare 2 Share Ministries (Dare2Share.org) and author of Reach Out, Don't Freak Out.
Road Trip: Big Sky Montana
Actor: Mark Wahlberg
Parable: Parable of the sower