We've all read the scary statistics of teenagers who evacuate their Christian faith after they graduate from high school. I've read statistics as high as 85% and some as low as 50%. But regardless of the actual number all of us can agree that any is too many! We want as many of our teenagers' faith as possible to, not just survive, but to thrive long after they leave high school!
I love youth leaders. And, although I get to train thousands of them all across the nation every year, one of my favorite things is learning from them. Many youth leaders have great and effective strategies that they're implementing to create the most impacting youth group programs possible.
"Therefore, because of the fear of the Lord, we persuade men." 2 Corinthians 5:11
"And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks." Acts 18:4
"And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God." Acts 19:8
"Agrippa replied to Paul, 'In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian." Acts 26:28
Persuasion gets a bad rap, especially when it comes to evangelism.
Long before I was full time with Dare 2 Share God blessed me with the privilege of being a church planter and preaching pastor. During this decade of local church ministry I was able to, not only lead a young man to Christ, but disciple him and watch him grow into the role of the full time youth pastor at our church. It was a joy to see a disciple make disciples who made disciples.
1. You've ticked off the church treasurer...who is the sister-in-law to the head elder...who is brother to the pastor.
2. You used the "pitched your tents" clip on Youth Sunday during your sermon and now a special meeting has been called.
3. The pastor refers to you as the next ex-youth pastor in staff meeting.
After doing a Dare 2 Share One Day at Southeast Christian Church this last weekend we filmed a short video with youth leader, Trent Hensley, about a great idea they have in getting their teens to pray for their yet-to-be-reached friends.
Getting on Team Jesus is simple. We put our faith in him and we are on the team!
Jesus put it this way in John 6:28,29, "Then they asked him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?' Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent” John 6:28-29.
Salvation is a matter of trusting, not trying, believing, not achieving, and relying, not resolving. When we trust in Jesus, based on his finished work on the cross, we are signed up on his team...never to be kicked off by the Coach.
Yes, getting on Team Jesus is easy. But being a starter on his team takes 100% commitment. And, sadly, not every Christian is willing to pay that high price. And, if we're honest, there are times even the most committed of us have fallen grossly short of starting team requirements.
I love youth ministry. I love youth leaders and teenagers. I love youth ministry and I believe that Jesus loves it too.
But, in a handful of cranky quarters, youth ministry is under fire. "UnBiblical!" they charge. "Ineffective!" they shout! These usually-angry-about-something-anyway haters wail and flail but ultimately they will fail. Why? Because youth ministry is needed now more than ever!
"Use your words."
All of us as parents (with children older than 2 or 3) know the phrase well. Small children just learning to talk sometimes get frustrated or excited or whatever and they use grunts, groans, screams, whimpers or hand motions to try to tell us something.