Everywhere I go I challenge youth leaders to "take the pledge" to give the gospel every week. It may sound a little like overkill to some youth leaders but it's not. As a matter of fact I think youth leaders who don't relentlessly give the gospel may be underestimating the power of this message. Romans 1:16 makes it clear that we should not be ashamed of the gospel "for it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes...."
This message is the portal to God's power to change lives. I don't exactly know how it works I just know that it works. It saves souls. It changes lives.
So, with this as a backdrop here are seven reasons why youth leaders should give the gospel in every meeting:
1. It convicts and convinces.
"But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, 'God is really among you!'” 1 Corinthians 14:24,25
There's something about sharing the gospel message that convicts sinners of their sin and convinces them of their need of grace. When we speak forth the gospel (which clearly declares us guilty before a holy God) it can lead to a chain reaction of transformation.
2. It saves lost souls.
"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" Romans 10:14
Don't commit "the sin of assumption" by assuming that every teen in your youth group is already a Christian. I've talked in youth groups where youth leaders assumed that their teenagers were already saved only to give the gospel and see many teens come to Christ. It wasn't because of the fancy presentation I gave but because of the simple gospel that I shared.
D.L. Moody was once asked why he always gave the gospel in every service and his answer was simple. As a younger preacher he was doing a series of sermons and was planning to give the gospel in the final sermon. He told the crowd to come back the next week to hear what they should do with this person named Jesus. But even then they could hear the sirens in the background as the service concluded. That was the night of the great Chicago fire in 1871. The crowd dispersed and the fire engulfed the town. He never saw anyone in that crowd again. He vowed never to miss an opportunity to give the gospel during a sermon.
3. It creates an atmosphere of invitation.
"The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, 'We have found the Messiah' (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus." John 1:41,2
For years The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has been running an outreach program called "Operation Andrew" based on this passage. The idea is that you bring your friends out to "meet Jesus" at a BGEA sponsored outreach where you know the gospel will be given.
But why should Billy, Franklin and friends have all the fun? Every week your teenagers should know that anytime they bring one of their friends to youth group they will hear the gospel. Once you get momentum with this teens putting their faith in Jesus during your youth group meetings will become the norm and then you'll never look back.
4. It sanctifies believers.
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." 1 Corinthians 1:18
In an article called "The Sucker's Choice" veteran youth leader David Hertweck writes, "The message of the gospel is not something that is solely necessary at the beginning of a teenager's faith journey. It is their faithful companion every step of the way. We never graduate from the Gospel.Rather, we cling to it, and allow it to bring more and more change in our lives."
5. It supercharges services.
"...with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all." Acts 4:32
There's nothing like the gospel and people responding to it that sends a spiritual electricity through your youth group meetings. More than games, sizzle and flash the good news turns a typical meeting into a party atmosphere.
6. It missionizes sermons.
When asked his style of preaching Charles Spurgeon said, "I take my text and make a beeline for the cross." Maybe that's why, in an age where "mega-churches" were non-existent Spurgeon regularly preached to crowds of 10,000 at New Park Baptist Church. He was in his early twenties by the way.
Yes he was a phenomenal orator and unprecedented preacher but his "secret" was always taking his text back to the cross. But if the preacher Spurgeon popularized it, the Apostle Paul started it. He tells the Corinthians, "For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified."
That same gospel is available for you to preach week in and week out to your teenagers.
7. It honors God.
Paul wrote in Romans 1:9, "God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son...." When we preach the gospel we serve and honor God. When we lift up the name of Jesus by presenting the good news it is part of our service to him.
So, with these seven reasons in mind, isn't it time to make the commitment to share the gospel every week? Isn't it time to share the "greatest story ever told that's hardly ever told" week in and week out. May a teen never leave your youth group without ever hearing the good news of Jesus Christ.
Take the pledge right now.