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Strong Ministry Is About Playing Offense

But then a hillbilly preacher nicknamed “Yankee” shared the Gospel with my family and one by one the root of evil in the hearts of “the crazy brothers” not only got cut, but replaced with Jesus, who was nicknamed “The True Vine” in John 15:1-8. Soon, racism was replaced with relationships and violence replaced with victory through Christ!

I wrote extensively about this in my book, Unlikely Fighter: The Story of How a Fatherless Street Kid Overcame Violence, Chaos and Confusion to Become a Radical Christ Follower.

This book demonstrates the power of playing offense (sharing the Gospel and mobilizing believers to share the Gospel) over defense. There’s no defensive strategy in the world (prison, rehab, moral education, etc) that could have rescued my family. But the Gospel turned my family from street fighters into street preachers, almost over night.

Prayer and the Gospel are our primary offensive strategies as Christians. We must unleash them to transform society from the inside out.

So how can you stop playing defense and start playing offense right away? Here are three actions you can take:

1. Tackle every issue in light of the truth and mission of the Gospel.

We need to tackle difficult cultural issues from time to time. But, as we do, may we lead our congregations back to the blood stained cross of Jesus and find the solution there. And may we dare not merely EXEGETE the Gospel. May we EXECUTE it’s mission as well. We must mobilize our congregations to reach their spheres of influence with the Gospel.

2. Refuse to get distracted from the last and lasting mandate of Jesus.

The twelve apostles didn’t get distracted from their mission of making disciples. They devoted themselves in Acts 6:4 to “prayer and the ministry of the Word.” The ministry of the Word has a two pronged focus: strengthening the believer and reaching the lost. Refuse to get distracted from the one thing that should drive everything: making and multiplying disciples.

3. Mobilize your young people to lead the way.

Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no one despise your youth…” Instead, he told young Timothy to lead the way with his life and witness for the entire church.

Remember that Jesus chose primarily teenagers to be His followers. God used a teen named David to defeat a giant, a teen named Esther to save a nation, and a teen named Mary to bring the Savior into the world.

God doesn’t despise youth. He unleashes them.

So should you. Check out the Gospel Advancing page at my site to learn how to equip your teens to lead.

Henry David Thoreau once said, “For every thousand hacking at the leaves of evil, one strikes at the root.” Only the Gospel can strike at the root of evil.

It’s time to strike!

It’s time for playing offense!

It’s time for playing offense, to energize the Church to mobilize youth to Gospelize their world.


This article about playing offense in ministry originally appeared here, and is used by permission.