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…
Their are 3 brands of "duct tape" that keep Christians quiet about Jesus. These types of tape seek to seal our mouths shut about the good news of Jesus. The "Um, I'm not sure" Duct Tape - for the most part, church leaders are not doing enough gospel training.
People often ask me what I think about the future of youth ministry. My response usually surprises them. I am VERY excited about the future of youth ministry. As a matter of fact 2013 could be youth ministry's break out year.
Most reporters, many Senators and, even the President himself, are talking about the issue of gun control like it is the answer to the problem of violence in America. It is not. It may be an answer but it is not the answer.
There's something especially sad about elementary school children being senselessly slaughtered. As a father to two elementary school aged children I can't imagine the pain that the parents of these precious little souls must be going through right now.
There are over 300,000 Protestant churches in America. Virtually every city in the United States has an abundance of Bible-believing faith communities. Millions upon millions of Christians attend these churches and, yet, this country is not reached for Christ yet. Why?
Whenever I hear the word "ecumenical" I think of a circle of pale-looking pastors, covered in honey and singing "Kum-ba-yah." What we need is Jesus-centered, Gospel-driven networks of pastors and youth pastors who unite for the cause of reaching every person in their cities for Christ.
Election night was a superbowl for America of sorts. Team Red lost and Team Blue won. I know Christians on both teams. So how should my red-faced brothers and sisters in Christ respond to the election results?
Politics can turn normally calm people into ranting, raving lunatics. This divisive subject can transform a friendly chat over coffee at a Starbucks into a venomous, verbal brawl. But it can also be a great segue into an opportunity to share the good news of Jesus.
I just read the Newsweek magazine article "Heaven is Real" which was written from the perspective of a neurosurgeon who claims to have taken a trip to heaven while in a coma for seven days. So why do I tend to be suspect of firsthand accounts of those who say they died and then came back? Because the Bible has two clear promises which seem to contradict this.