Over the last twenty five plus years I have had the privilege of training well over a million teenagers to share the Gospel with their peers. I would guess that at least tens of thousands of these teenagers were homeschooled.
It's been interesting to watch the "evolution" of homeschoolers over the years (don't worry homeschoolers I'm a creationist!) :) They have moved from underground to mainstream, from almost Amish in how they were perceived to having the reputation of being smart, sharp and, yes, even stylish!
As I travel I have discovered that homeschooled teenagers tend to be some of the most articulate, well-reasoned young people out there. But, sadly, I have also discovered that many of them are not actively sharing their faith.
One homeschool mother of teenagers told me this at one of our Dare 2 Share conferences, "A homeschooler that doesn't share their faith is like a Ferrari that you never take out of the garage."
So how do we get homeschooled teenagers out of the garage and onto the street when it comes to evangelism? How do we help them use all of that knowledge and articulateness to burn rubber down the Gospel sharing highway?
Here are a few practical ideas I've acquired (mostly from homeschool parents and leaders) over the years:
1. Take them out to actually do it.
I'll never forget talking to one homeschool mom about evangelism. Every year she and her husband took their children out to our training conferences to be equipped in evangelism. I asked her, "How do you keep your kids engaged in evangelism throughout the year since they are homeschooled?" I'll never forget her answer. She said, "Oh, that's easy! I take my children out three times a week for three hours a pop to engage in Gospel conversations at the local mall."
She understood that the best theology is like milk poured into a sponge. If it's not squeezed out to others it will spoil. She made sure her four kids (aka "sponges") were not just taking in the milk of God's Word but pouring it out to others through Gospel conversations!
2. Use sports/clubs to engage in Gospel conversations.
Another idea I have seen grow in popularity over the years is getting homeschooled teenagers involved with sports, hobbies and clubs where other teenagers are participating. This gives them a chance to socialize and Gospelize! This gives them an opportunity to build relationships with non-believing teenagers and introduce them to the hope of Jesus Christ!
3. Make use of social media.
Yes, more and more homeschooled teenagers are on social media. Why not use it to share the hope of Jesus and drop breadcrumb type posts (statements, videos, pictures, etc) that can lead to Gospel conversations?
Dare 2 Share has developed a series of Gospel conversation starting videos called "Salt videos" that help, well, salt these Gospel conversations. As someone once said, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink....but you can salt his oats!" These videos do just that, they salt the spiritual oats and help create natural conversation around the topic of the Gospel.
Click here to check out these high quality videos. Here's a sample of one...
4. Share the Gospel with other homeschoolers.
Now that homeschooling has been mainstreamed there are more and more non-Christians homeschooling their children. As a result there is a growing opportunity for homeschooled teens to reach other homeschooled teens with the old school Gospel of Jesus Christ. Often these teenagers are part of a local homeschooling co-op where they can learn together and socialize as well. This is a great opportunity for unreached teens to be reached and reached teens to do the reaching.
5. Gospelize a service project!
I know that many homeschool teenagers do hard things. Some start businesses. Others start non-profits. Many do service projects or get involved in social justice-type causes. These hard things are good things. But, with the Gospel, they can be even better!
As homeschooling teenagers work to serve others they can find ways of making sure sharing the Gospel is a key part of it. If they are collecting food for local food banks they can share the Gospel as they do. If they are serving at the local rescue mission they can share the Gospel when they do. If they are helping others physical needs they should always try to minister to their ultimate spiritual need as well...the need for everyone to know Jesus as their Savior.
Let's open the garage and let the Ferraris burn some rubber. Let's unleash our homeschool teenagers to reach others with the hope of Jesus Christ. Let's maximize their knowledge, skills and will and point it toward The Cause that Jesus gave us all...to make and multiply disciples (Matthew 28:18-20)!