After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Admiral Yamamoto, leader of the Japanese forces, was asked about how he felt. His answer was stark, “I am fearful that all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with terrible resolve.”
This article was written by Greg Stier and Randy Davis, a partner from the National Network of Youth Ministries (NNYM).
Legend has it that when the Greeks defeated the Persians in the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, a warrior named Philippides ran the extremely long distance back to Athens, burst into the assembly and proclaimed “We have won!” just before collapsing and dying. This story has inspired countless runners to run and keep on running (and hopefully not die) in marathons around the world.
When it comes to sharing the Gospel we have a motivation problem. Some Christians excuse their apathy by saying things like, "Well, that's the pastor's job" or "Evangelism is not my spiritual gift." Others think to themselves, "God is in charge of that stuff anyway. I can't save anyone."
"Day after day, in the temple courtsand from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah." Acts 5:42
Just two days ago I got back from a short but powerful trip to South Africa. It was a game-changing, perspective-altering, kingdom-impacting experience. Dr. Mark Andreson, our Global Director of Outreach at Dare 2 Share and myself went there to observe an evangelism training event put on by our partner-in-crime Don Olding, who leads Go-Live-Dare in South Africa.
For years I avoided having the tough LGTBQ conversation because it seemed a bit out of my zone. My focus as the leader of Dare 2 Share is mobilizing teenagers to share the Gospel in a loving, clear and effective way to everyone...gay, straight, bi-sexual, transgender, anyone and everyone. But I've come to realize that this subject is too big and too important to avoid any longer.
"There's been another school shooting" is a phrase I hope I never get used to hearing. Every time I hear it I get a sinking feeling in my stomach that takes me back 19 years ago. Sadly, I had that sinking feeling again this morning when I heard the news about the shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas.
I have met far too many youth leaders who have been fired. Some of them have been let go for legit reasons. Others have been fired because they were doing God's work in God's way and it created a ripple effect that not everyone liked. I even wrote a book called Firing Jesus that was inspired by the firing of a youth leader who was advancing the Gospel by reaching "those kids." The pastor didn't like it and he lost his job as a result.
Over the last several months I had the privilege of traveling with Youth Pastor Summit to five cities to inspire and equip youth leaders. We traveled to New York, Orlando, Dallas, Orange County and Nashville.
Over the years I have had the privilege of knowing, working with and serving under some great Christian leaders. These leaders were not always the flashiest but they all carried a certain gravitas that everyone could sense.
It was this unmistakable aura that drew me in and made me reflect and dissect just what made these particular leaders so distinctive and effective. After years of watching, listening and reflecting I think I've narrowed their greatness down to a handful of very specific characteristics.