For the last 24 years, I've been training teenagers to live and share the Gospel. The biggest challenge I've faced with many teenagers (and even some youth leaders) is spiritual apathy.
"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him." 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
What if it's God's plan to bring revival to the church sanctuary through the youth room? What if it's God's strategy to use those sitting at the "kiddie table" to transform those at the big one?
Giving the Gospel in every sermon may seem like a no-brainer to some preachers and a "Whaaaaat?" to others but I am convinced it's beyond crucial. The night before Jesus died he performed the first communion service with his disciples which served as a relentless reminder to his disciples to gospelize their services. Any unbeliever who stumbled into an early church service, at the very minimum, saw and heard the Gospel given during communion time.
Right now, there are over 300,000 Protestant churches in America. Just do the division (300,000 divided by 50 states) and that's an average of 6,000 churches per state. Wow! That’s a lot of churches!
Think about it this way: There are 12,000(ish) Starbucks and well over 300,000 churches! So Starbucks can saturate the United States with caffeinated drinks, but almost 30 times more churches can’t saturate the United States with the Living Water. Seriously???
On Wednesday I posted a Tweet that read, "A TSA agent just collapsed in my arms crying when she found out I ministered to teens. She has a wayward grandson. We prayed right there." It must of struck a nerve because there was a lot of chatter about it afterward.
It got me to thinking about all of the hurting people who pass by us every day without us recognizing them as God-given opportunities.
If I could get in a time machine and go back to teenaged Greg I'd tell him one thing...learn how to pray.
Sadly, it took me about four decades to begin to truly discover the power of prayer. Once I did, it felt like for the majority of my life I'd been throwing dirt clods at Satan only to discover there was a bazooka in the closet.
"What do you think of Donald Trump?"
Okay, I don't really care to know, and I definitely have my own opinion...but that's not what this blog is all about.
What it is about is how such a lightning rod subject Donald Trump is and how easy it is to use him as a Gospel conversation starter. Because EVERYONE seems to have an opinion about him and many are just itching to express it.
So how do you use this "Trump card" when it comes to evangelism?
Check the news lately? There’s one common theme threaded throughout the news channels of our world: Issues. Some of these issues have proposed solutions and some of them have yet to receive solutions. When it comes to humanitarian crisis, I believe that the gospel message is at the root of the answer to every great humanitarian crisis on the planet.
You've seen the statistics and heard the horror stories.
Many (if not most) teenagers abandon the church after they graduate from high school. The Biblical literacy of Christian teenagers is spiraling downward and the passion for all things worldly skyrocketing upward. Families are more broken. Teenagers are more apathetic. Youth ministry is more difficult.
So don't waste your life doing youth ministry.
All of us want to see our teenagers grow deeper in their faith. But is there a way to kickstart their spiritual growth?
The answer is "YES!" Here are three of them...
1. Pray for them and get them praying!
The great 1st Century church prayer warrior, Epaphras, shows us how to pray with impact. Paul wrote these telling words about his spiritual co-worker, "Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured."