"Lord give me the mixture of the lion and the lamb." George Whitefield
Yesterday, after I preached a sermon about sharing the gospel at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, MN, a nice lady approached me and asked me how introverts like her are supposed to share their faith. I thought this was a great question. It applies, not only to adults, but also to teenagers.
If you're a youth leader you most likely have plenty of introverts and extroverts in your youth group. Both sides need coaching. That's why we developed the concept of the evangelistic teeter totter at Dare 2 Share to help both kinds of teenagers. On one side of the teeter totter there are those who tend to be relational. On the other side there are those who tend to be relentless.
Many extroverted teens fall on the relentless side of the teeter totter. They may bring the gospel up too quickly or abruptly in conversations. For many of them there is no "salvation segue" into the gospel. Instead, there's a hard right turn. At times these teens can be argumentative if others don't agree with them on their spiritual views. The positive side of this approach is that many people hear the gospel and those who are ready can respond quickly.
I fall firmly on the relentless side of the evangelistic teeter totter. Many evangelists often do.
Many introverted teenagers fall on the relational side of the evangelistic teeter totter. They slowly build relationships over weeks, months or even years. If and when they do bring the gospel up, the people they're sharing the good news with may be surprised they didn't bring it up earlier. These teenagers have a hard time pulling the trigger when the opportunity to talk about spiritual things arises. The positive side of this approach is that these teenagers make disciples, not just converts, because they tend not to practice "hit and run" evangelism.
My wife firmly falls on the relational side of the evangelistic teeter tooter. So does the nice lady I talked to yesterday at Grace Church.
So what was my advice to this lady? Simply this: Whatever side of the evangelistic teeter totter you sit on ask God, through His Holy Spirit, to sit on the other side. Only He can balance you out perfectly. If you're relational ask God to balance you out with a holy relentlessness that will embolden you. If you're relentless ask God to balance you out with a relational love that will help you to slow down, listen patiently and gently share the good news.
Coach your teens to speak the truth in love and find the balance between relational and relentless. All the while learn how to strike the balance yourself in your own evangelistic efforts.
Speaking of that, which side of the teeter totter do you fall on?