Over the last 25 years or so of ministry I've had the privilege of being a youth leader, church planter and preaching pastor. So I've been in the shoes of a youth leader working under a pastor and a pastor having a youth leader work under me. In other words I attack this challenge with a history on both sides of the ministry fence.
What do you think of when you hear the word "worship"? K-Love? Your church's Sunday morning praise team? Classic hymns? What may surprise you is that evangelism is a form or worship as well. Worship directed upwardly is praise (proclaiming to God how holy, just and loving he is.) Worship directed outwardly is evangelism (proclaiming to unbelievers how holy, just and loving God is.)
Brent Lacy, a blogger, author and Lead THE Cause University alumni youth leader, shared with me a strategy he is piloting with his teenagers to reach their community for Christ…9 blocks at a time. What I love about this plan is that it's not a "hit and run" service project.
10 Things I Do to Stay Spiritually Strong, Somewhat Sane, Happily Married and Kind of Fit While on the Road
Right now I'm right in the middle of a 16 city Dare 2 Share youth leader training tour. But I'm taking a short break to go and do some training at Youth Specialties. In between (and on the road) I'm writing, fundraising and creating stuff, stuff and more stuff that helps energize a generation to evangelize their world. Did I mention I'm a husband to one very patient wife and a father to two very high strung children? Here are ten things I do to stay spiritually strong, somewhat sane, happily married and kind of fit while on the road:
Evangelism Discipleship = Evange-cipleship. Okay, the word is kind of corny but it communicates my point. And what is that exactly? Simply this: When teenagers are equipped and unleashed to share their faith it is the ultimate discipleship accelerator.
This Wednesday "See You at the Pole" will kick off the school year for two million Christian teenagers from across the United States. See You at the Pole was inspired by the initiative of one youth leader in one youth group in Burleson, Texas, early in 1990. Since then it has exploded into a prayer movement, not just across the nation, but in twenty other nations across the globe!
Now that I have four "Maximum Velocity" youth leader training events under my belt I can say with full conviction that you should be there! We have 12 more cities to go before we hit the finish line. The remaining cities are…
Whether or not you're a youth leader, small group leader or Sunday school teacher I challenge you to get good at making salvation segues and giving the gospel weekly in your talks. Master the art of making the transition from the subject of your talk to the good news of Jesus.
1. Your job is to "set forth the truth plainly" not to razzel or dazzle the audience. 2 Corinthians 4:2 2. Preaching is the easy part. Living our your own sermon is the ultimate goal. James 1:22
On our trip from Germany to England we all got assigned middle seats on the plane. I happened to be sitting in front of my 12 year old boy Jeremy. He was situated between a well dressed man and a young woman. After hearing my son talk for ten minutes or so with the man Jeremy shared that I was a preacher and that I was going to do some preaching in England.
Sharing the gospel with an entire gang called "The Condors" when I was in middle school and being shocked by their positive response to the gospel.
Teenagers can be a tough audience and sharing the gospel a tough subject. So how do you inspire a tough audience to engage in the tough stuff of evangelism? Here are the 5 essentials I have discovered about motivating teenagers to share the gospel:
When you preach for a living, mistakes are bound to be made. Sometimes it's a sermon idea. It looks good on paper but when it passes from paper to preaching something get's twisted. Or perhaps it's an illustration that you think is going to work really well but it crashes at takeoff. Or maybe it's a gaffe you made that you wish you could retract.
You may be thinking about giving up. You may be wondering if it's worth the small paychecks and big headaches. You may be considering hanging up your paintball gun and canceling your subscription to Group Magazine. Don't. It is worth it.
For ten years of my life I was a preaching pastor at a church I helped plant with my good buddy Rick Long (Grace Church of Arvada.) This weekend I've been preaching all three services at my old stomping grounds and it's got me reminiscing. With this in mind here are 10 things I miss about being a pastor:
In my late teens and early twenties I was in pretty good shape. By the time I was 23 years of age I had been roofing for eight years and did a lot of the "grunt" work of carrying shingles up ladders and tearing off old roofs. I was the go to guy for all things manual labor. In addition I played basketball on weekends and lived a very active lifestyle as a part time middle school youth leader. Then something strange happened…I got into ministry full-time.
So what does all of this have to do with your youth ministry? What lessons can Hudson Taylor teach the average youth leader about youth ministry? There are at least 3 lessons he can teach those of us trying to reach the unreached people group called teenagers today:
It's easy to forget that there is another terrorist behind the human terrorist who actually lit the fuse. This terrorist, the ultimate terrorist, is Satan himself. We as believers can fight back.
1. Take someone to church with you, go to lunch afterward and ask them how they felt about the sermon (then dive in!) 2. Write someone a letter that gently segues to the gospel. Ask them what they thought about the letter later.
I love Acts 17. In this chapter the Apostle Paul gives us a glimpse into how to effectively and creatively reach those who have no point of reference for the message of Jesus. Paul did his homework.
We need to demystify prayer, Bible reading and meditation for teenagers. Too many times when we speak of spiritual disciplines in a non-specific way, teenagers have visions of monks and monasteries.
Legalists are tricky creatures. They slither in the side doors of churches, sign up to lead Bible studies and fill the minds of once joyous believers with rules and requirements of what it "really means" to become a Christian.
God has blessed me with the privilege of speaking to groups of teenagers for the last twenty five years or so. From small youth groups to medium sized camps to arenas full of students I have known the thrill and terror of trying to get and keep the attention of adrenalin-filled, twitchy teenagers.
When it comes to ministry there are show muscles and there are go muscles. Show muscles range from church attendance, budget size and number of baptisms. Go muscles have more to do with spiritual growth
In light of the skyrocketing popularity of Mormonism in the United States helped along by the Broadway Musical, "The Book of Mormon", Mitt Romney and your nice Mormon neighbors I thought it would be good to recycle this five year old article I wrote. The thesis? Mormons do better youth ministry than the average Protestant church! Read on and see if you agree with me…