One of the greatest joys (and at times, pains) of working with teenagers is whenever students with unbelieving parents come to know Jesus. After only a short time of becoming followers of Jesus, these dear students begin aching for the lostness of their parents. And so they share the gospel with them.
And it gets really ugly.
The gospel is an offense. Period.
But it’s perhaps even more of an offense when your arrogant 15-year-old is telling her mom how wrong she is about life, the Bible and her eternal soul. To her, this newfound “knowledge” doesn’t feel much different than her daughter trying to set her straight in a million other areas in life.
That’s when I get a teenager at my house at 12:30 a.m. because she’s convinced that her mom and dad are going to hell because they reject the gospel.
My heart is grieved for this student. No matter how hard she tries, she cannot get her mom to come to know Jesus. She wants to give eternal life to the one that gave her physical life. And so she weeps because mom and dad only get angry with her when she shares the gospel.
So, how should a teenager share the gospel with her unbelieving parents?
If I am reading my Bible correctly, faithful gospel proclamation includes both our life and our lips. It must be spoken (Romans 10) and it must be lived (1 Timothy 4). But that doesn’t have to mean that those two need to be totally balanced.
If you are on a mission trip to Honduras and you will only see these people for about 10-15 minutes, then it probably needs to look like this:
Your lifespan before these people is about as long as a moth in a refrigerator. It isn’t going to last very long. So while you can do little things in that 10-15 minutes to show the gospel, a larger portion of your time ought to be spent in speaking the gospel.
For a teenager it probably needs to look like this:
That you share the gospel more with your life and slide the proclamation in there whenever you can. Joyously doing chores might do more for your parents seeing Christ than you sharing John 3:16. That’s not to demean a teenager sharing Jesus from John 3:16. That is necessary and it needs to be done. But for a teenager, your changed life will speak far louder than your newfound theological words.
So, how does a teenager share the gospel with her unbelieving parents?
Joyously take out the trash in Jesus’ name.