Wait…..Share my faith?
“Preach the gospel always, and if necessary, use words.” – Saint Francis of Assisi
In the past, I thought this was a great quote to share with students to encourage them to be living lives that reflect Christ. The exhortation often sounded a bit like this: “You cannot just say that you love Jesus, you have to show that you love Jesus with your life.” I thought this was sound doctrine and an encouraging principle to live by until I heard a pastor put this quote in perspective. A famous pastor that I often listen to through podcast offered that when it comes to evangelism, words will ALWAYS be necessary. To paraphrase he noted, “people cannot just come to the saving knowledge of the work of Christ on the Cross simply by looking at our “good” or “exemplary” lives. You are going to HAVE to use your words.”
In youth ministry today, many falter when they push behavioral modification to hard and loose sight of transformed hearts. I tell students all the time that I don’t want to see them become “good kids.” There are already plenty of “good kids” out there. What I want to see are students who know, love, and worship Jesus. If we can get students to this point, we won’t have to worry as much about how they are behaving.
Applying this principle to evangelism, “good kids” will simply model what a “Christian” life should look like without actually telling others about Jesus. In David Garrison’s book Church Planting Movements he notes that the second element present in every movement is Abundant Evangelism. So my question for youth pastors is this: Do you see your students engaging in abundant evangelism? If you answered no, why not? Have we prepared our students for this? Have we given them vision to see their friends and schools changed?
In most cases, students do not engage in evangelism because they have no clue how to share their faith and no clue what to do if someone were to actually respond! We must reverse this all to common trend. What would it look like for your youth ministry to have training in evangelism? How different and more vibrant would our Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights be if students came with testimonies of God’s work that week instead of just bringing friends to events and expecting US to show them the gospel?
If we are going to embrace abundant evangelism and see a movement begin, there is much work to be done. Your thoughts?
Post #1: Missional Youth Ministry
Post #2: Extraordinary Prayer