It's the Monday after our final conference of the tour and I've had a full day to reflect on, not just our powerful finale in Chicago but the entire tour. We traveled from DC to Twin Cities to Lakeland to Dayton to Lincoln to St. Louis and, finally, to Chicago with our merry band of misfits...and we witnessed God do some amazing things.
Here are my random thoughts about the Game Day tour:
1. God uses events.
To be honest, doing the Dare 2 Share conferences is hard work. It's hard to prepare for them. It's hard to assemble the team. It's hard to market them ("Hey kids, come out to an evangelism training weekend. Not only are you gonna share your faith with your friends...you could lose them!") It's hard to execute them. And last, but not least, it's hard to fund them (we raise $23 for every teen present to fund the gap of what we take in from registration and what it actually costs us to pull off the event.)
So why do we do it? Because we can't find a better way to train a massive amount of students in a short period of time to share their faith. Because we can't find a better way to identify the teens and youth leaders who "get it" so we can train them deeper with resources and deeper-level training events like Lead The Cause University. Because we are convinced that it is leading to a revolution in the way youth leaders do and view youth ministry!
Check out this amazing video that summarizes this:
2. Youth ministry is at the forefront of true national transformation.
The Game Day conference tour has reinforced my belief that teenagers are not just the church of tomorrow but of today! 85% of those who trust in Christ do it by the time they are 18 and teenagers are the best ones to reach other teenagers. According to one study by NPR they have 100x's more influence on a friend than a stranger has. Seeing as though many teenagers have hundreds, if not thousands, of online and face-to-face friends they can exponentially spread the gospel if they are inspired and trained to do just that.
If you are in youth ministry exchange your discouragement for determination. God desires to use you in powerful ways to mobilize teenagers for THE Cause!
And, by the way, it's happening! I talk to youth leaders in every conference city who are getting it done. They are making disciples who make disciples. In some places (like Kenosha, Wisconsin) entire networks are gospel-centered movements of multiplication. What is happening there can happen in your city.
If you choose to lead this movement in the power of the Holy Spirit you will be the answer to Christ's high priestly prayer in John 17:20,21, "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me."
3. Youth leaders are central to the movement.
Youth ministry is not dead. It's morphing but it is transforming into something more focused and efficient, less focused on meetings and more focused on mission.
We must support, encourage and resource them to keep on keeping on, to see youth ministry, not as a stepping stone but as the foundation that needs to be strengthened if the church is going to truly transform this society from the inside out and bottom up.
As I looked in the eyes of thousands of youth leaders during the break out session of the Dare 2 Share "Game Day" tour I became more convinced than ever that they are the ones who are going to lead the ones who are going to change everything. They are going to be the ones to bring this message to the moms and dads of these teenagers so that the fire of desire for Christ in the hearts of these teens can be kindled at home first and foremosts. They are going to be the ones to challenge the system of the church to have an outward approach to discipleship and not an internal one. They are going to be the ones to model the movement.
These are my thoughts after the D2S Game Day Tour. Do you agree or disagree? What are your thoughts?