Whether or not you're a youth leader, small group leader or Sunday school teacher I challenge you to get good at making salvation segues and giving the gospel weekly in your talks. Master the art of making the transition from the subject of your talk to the good news of Jesus.
Consistently giving the gospel as a non-negotiable component of your talks is vital if you want your programs to make a maximum impact. It's kind of the punchline to the whole deal we call Christianity. If Spurgeon took his text and made a "beeline for the cross" every week in his sermons then so can we.
Giving the gospel every week as a part of your overall talk emphasizes the centrality of Christ's finished work to your believing students and offers the hope of eternal life to your non-believing ones. A big added bonus is that if your teenagers know that every week the gospel will be presented in your talks they can invite their friends to come and hear. This is an easy way for your teenagers to start thinking and acting evangelistically.
Growing up I attended a youth ministry that gave the gospel every week. As a result of their relentless focus on the gospel we witnessed hundreds of teenagers come to Christ and get plugged into the youth group.
Grace Church (the church I helped to plant and was the preaching pastor of for a decade) does the same thing. Over 60% of this exciting congregation of 3,000 or so came to Christ as a direct result of people reaching out to family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. How do the people of Grace impact so many people? They know that in every one of the weekend services the gospel will be given clearly by Pastor Rick Long (or whoever happens to be preaching that weekend.) The people of Grace consistently invite others to come, hear the good news and then go out to lunch after the services to talk about it.
Last weekend 30 people put their faith in Jesus just in the weekend services! Pastor Rick is a master at salvation segues and he gives the gospel in EVERY sermon!
If it happens week in and week out with a congregation of adults it can happen in your youth ministry as well! But you have to make a commitment to giving the gospel weekly as part of your talk.
You may be wondering how you can make a salvation segue to the gospel without it sounding unnatural. Here's how...Find a connecting point to the good news and use it. For instance, if you're talking how human relationships can let you down you could say something like, "but there's one relationship that will never let you down...." If you're talking about money management you could say, "Money can buy you a lot of things but it can't buy you happiness. There's only one thing that can buy that and someone else already paid for it..."
I challenge you to make a commitment to give the gospel weekly and to get good at making salvation segues. The Spirit of God will give you the wisdom and boldness you need to do this effectively. Once your believing teens get it and get used to it, they'll start inviting their unbelieving friends to youth group so they can hear the gospel too. This will jumpstart spiritual conversations with your teenagers and their friends and more and more teens will trust in Jesus both inside and outside your youth group. Then your biggest problem will be how to effectively disciple all the new believers. And that's a problem will all gladly deal with!
Can I get an amen?