A debate is raging among a handful of Christian leaders about social justice and the Gospel. Some super conservatives are saying that the entire concept of social justice is unbiblical. A handful of ultra-liberals have asserted for years that social justice is the Gospel. Still others are saying that social justice should be a natural lead in and outflow of the Gospel.
It's that time of year where Alice Cooper weeps (school is no longer out for the summer), parents rejoice and teenagers have to start getting up early again.
Back to school is back with a vengeance and everyone, especially youth leaders, have been scrambling! Programs are being perfected! Curriculum is being purchased! Adults are being recruited!
But, even in the midst of all the Fall kickoff mayhem, back-to-school can be a great time to get back to the basics of youth ministry. These basics are rooted in Scripture and absolutely necessary for true spiritual transformation.
With this as a backdrop, here are 5 surprisingly simple ways to make a gigantic spiritual impact on your teens this school year:
Basic #1: Cover them in prayer.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassadorin chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should." Ephesians 6:18-20
For a decade of my life I was privileged to lead a church that was very effective at reaching the lost. Through prayer, hard work and a relentless Gospel focus we experienced strong growth primarily due to new believers being added to our church roles. During that time God taught me many hard and valuable lessons that have stuck with me to this day.
This post is from my good friend Brent Crowe whose new book, 'Moments 'til Midnight: The Final Thoughts of a Wandering Pilgrim,' comes out in September. I read this book and it's amazing. You should read it too. In the meantime I hope you're encouraged by Brent's thoughts on living out our faith as daring, faithful pilgrims and that you'll check out this powerful new book! —Greg
This is a fun little post about a pretty serious subject. Rule-obsessed churches stifle the joy of Jesus in our souls by promoting legalism disguised as holiness. But instead of getting the full surrender to Christ they want, they get external compliance and inner misery instead.
1-2 Punch Combo: "A combination of two blows delivered in rapid succession in boxing, especially a left lead followed by a right cross"...or..."An especially forceful or effective combination or sequence of two things."
I believe that every youth leader worth his/her salt wants to make the biggest impact possible in the lives of their teenagers and in the communities in which those teenagers live. But how can that be done effectively?
Asking questions is a good thing. Questions have a way of amplifying weaknesses and clarifying priorities. Perhaps that's why Jesus asked so many questions in his earthly ministry. Did you know that there are around 300 recorded times that Jesus asked questions of some sort in the Gospels? He used questions as a spotlight into peoples' souls. Sometimes the result was them repenting (Woman at the well.) Other times the result was them rejecting (Pharisees.) One time the result was his crucifixion.
Every youth leader has a false dilemma. This "dilemma" is whether or not to focus on evangelism or discipleship with their youth ministry.
The typical youth leader's thought process may go something like this, "If I focus on evangelism the kingdom will grow and so will my youth group. But if I focus on discipleship my teens will grow spiritually. I guess I'll focus on discipleship first and then my teens will be ready to evangelize."
But how has that approach worked with the adults in our churches? As a result of this "disciple first/evangelize later" approach we have a bunch of Christians filling our pews that may know basic doctrine but have lost their passion, urgency and vision to reach the lost. As a matter of fact the average Christian adult has never shared the Gospel with one of their peers.
But the youth leader's dilemma is really no dilemma at all if we take a look at the ministry of Jesus to his young disciples. Jesus had a "disciple now/evangelize now" approach that took his disciples deep into the Word while taking them wide (on mission) into the world.