There is an urgency to evangelism that is as strong as ever. But, sadly, far too many churches (and youth groups) give barely more than lip service to this mission critical mandate.
Here are 5 reasons why you need to make evangelism a serious priority in your youth ministry right away:
1. We are losing this generation.
We are living in the first post Christian generation in the history of the United States. If we don't take radical, practical and Biblical action to reverse the trend, the trajectory of the rejection of the historic Christian faith may be beyond reversal (humanly speaking anyway.)
2. The typcial teenager is bored with the typical youth ministry approach.
My two kids (both teenagers) have visited several youth groups in the area over the last few years (we were doing some church shopping for awhile) and it was very interesting to hear their responses to various youth groups. The one thing that stood out to me about the groups they enjoyed the most is that they went deep and challenged hard. My kids were the least impressed with the groups that seemed to try to impress (long on games, light on depth, big on fun and small on challenge.)
And I don't think my kids are unique. This matches the conversations I've had with teenagers over the last 25+ years of ministry. Teenagers are looking to go both deep and wide. They are longing for a deeper relationship with Christ and to be challenged to live out His Cause in vital and visceral ways. Nothing does this like a push for peer-to-peer evangelism.
3. To be serious about discipleship you've got to get serious about evangelism.
When teenagers reach out to their friends with the Gospel they risk their social equity. The process of evangelism forces them to "die to themselves" in an often painful, but always powerful way. The Holy Spirit uses the relational risk they are taking through evangelism to exponentially accelerate the process of discipleship in their hearts.
If you want to be serious about discipling your teenagers then you've got to get serious about mobilizing them for the Gospel (by the way we at Dare 2 Share want to help you do just that!)
4. You want to leave a bigger and better legacy.
What is your legacy going to be as a youth leader? Of course you want the teenagers who go through your youth ministry to live on-fire-for-Christ lives! You want to play your role in inspiring and equipping them to serve the Lord Jesus for the rest of their lives.
But your legacy can be even bigger and better. May God use you to bring in a whole new crop of teenagers into the family of God. May, what the good Dr. Luke wrote of the church of Jerusalem, be able to be said about your youth ministry, "...and the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47.)
5. The clock is ticking.
I'm not an end-times rabble rouser. I don't set dates for Christ's return (but I have been known to gently mock those who do.)
But it feels like there is a stirring in the heavenlies. It looks like catalyic, global events are unfolding like never before. It could be the birth pains of the return of Christ (Matthew 24:8.)
Although we don't know when, we should know that Jesus is coming back. And that very knowledge that "it could be today" should energize us to mobilize youth to Gospelize their world.
Whether now or in 50 years there will be a time we look into the eyes of the Lord Jesus Christ to give an account on how we lived and led. May on that day we hear, "Well done." May we be rejoice on the number of young people who came to Christ on our watch in our youth ministries. May we be able to say, along with the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 2:19,20, "For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy."
What are some other reasons we should make evangelism a priority in our youth ministries right away?