Less than 50% of Christians ever share the Gospel.
Now, studies show we are on track for 4% of this generation to follow Christ(We did the math on our community. The studies are extremely accurate).
These trends clearly show we need an increase of Christians sharing how Jesus changed their life so that others can experience the same life-change.
With this, there was a concern that many pastors and youth pastors may have grown up(meaning from birth to the early part of their time in ministry) as I did without anyone really explaining how to share the Gospel and the urgency to do so. Therefore, I wanted to do a series on evangelism to help those who are uncertain about how to share the Gospel afraid to ask and to hopefully give an encouraging reminder to all of us the important place this should have in our plans to help students become disciples and disciple-makers. So as we do this I hope it is a help to you, but also feel free to copy and paste this if you need training materials for your students.
One of the biggest hurdles people have in sharing the Gospel is fear.
Do I know enough? Will people hate me? Will I say the wrong thing and turn people away from Jesus?
We will address each of these fears in the coming days but I want to start with the underlying problem of all of them….fear.
While understandable, we have to remember that we have not been given a spirit of fear but instead of power, love, and self-discipline. So any fears we have are lies from Satan trying to silence us from sharing the message we are called to share. One of the best ways I have found to do this when it comes to the Gospel is to remember that sharing the Gospel starts with relationships.
The first key is our relationship with God. Obviously, if we do not first have a relationship with God through Jesus we cannot help someone else come to that decision. But what I am talking about here is remembering this is a spiritual battle like nothing else in our lives. So if our relationship with God is not right we will not speak up when the time comes.
This is very important because let’s be honest, we can fake other parts of ministry if our lives are not quite right with God. If you have some anger in your heart you can still lead a game and put a smile on your face. If you have some unconfessed sin in your life you can still manage to deliver a great sermon. If you are organizationally strong you can still put together a good mission trip if you have not prayed or read the Bible in a while. While none of these things might bear as much fruit, you could still get through it.
But sharing the Gospel is different. Sharing the Gospel is the one thing that Satan absolutely does not want you to do. You can put on events, go to church, visit schools, and all the other important work you do. But if you actually decide to have a conversation with someone about Jesus, Satan will pull out every trick in the book to silence you. Including planting the aforementioned fears in your mind and heart. So if you sense the time is coming to share with someone how Jesus can change their life you need to be prayed up and draw closer to God than you ever have before.
Which brings me to the second point. The Gospel is ideally shared in relationships with others. Typically you will have invested time with someone, showed them they are loved, modeled a life that is different, and had meaningful conversations along the way. Then as the Holy Spirit leads, or when they ask why you are different, you are ready to share the truth to someone whose heart is ready and where seeds have already been planted. This means you need people in your life who do not know Jesus. So take a moment to think about who is in your life that does not know Jesus, are you committed to praying for them, and how are you investing in them so they know they are loved, see something different in you, and are moving closer too starting a relationship with Jesus themselves. If you cannot think of anyone then it is time to expand your circle, possibly get out of the office more, and meet some new people.
I will go into more detail about actually sharing the Gospel in future posts. But for now I want to close with two notes and a challenge.
First, I know, or at least I hope, lost students are coming to your ministry. Building those relationships is important as well as sharing the Gospel from the stage. But you need to be building relationships with lost people outside of your youth ministry, preferably some people who are older than teenagers as well, because this is our calling but also to set a good example for your students.
Second, while relationships are ideal for sharing the Gospel, the moment to tell someone about a life changing relationship with Jesus can come at any moment. So always be ready and willing to speak the truth when the Holy Spirit leads you, whenever and where ever. This can also include specific times of going out on your own or with students for the purpose of starting conversations and sharing your faith. We used to go to the local community college as an example.
Now for today’s challenge. Take some time to get your relationship with God right. I mean getting it back to that closeness you once had where the fire burned so bright you could not help but speak about God’s love for you and others. Also, think of a lost person you know that you can do a better job of connecting with and praying for. Invite them to connect soon. Digitally if that is still the situation you find yourself in or for coffee or lunch if that is now allowed. And we will be praying for you as well.