Since I was 11, I’ve dreamed about a sweeping Gospel movement, led by a generation of on-fire young people. Yes, I was that weird kid, brainstorming movements, when I could have been setting ant piles on fire with a magnifying glass.
But I’d witnessed a teen-led Gospel movement transform my entire inner-city family from street fighters to radical followers of Jesus, almost overnight. And I’d experienced the power of finding my identity as a child of God, my belonging with the people of God, and my purpose in the mission of God, as a result of that same teen-led Gospel movement.
Now, 46 years later, launching a Gospel movement is the chief objective—other than knowing Jesus deeply and personally—I pour my energy into.
For the past 32 years, God has allowed me to be the founder and visionary of Dare 2 Share Ministries, through which we’ve put countless theories and ideas to the test with youth leaders and teenagers. This has created a feedback loop about what works and doesn’t work when it comes to launching a Gospel movement in the microcosm of a youth ministry.
We’ve learned many lessons from that feedback. Here are a few of the big ones.
First and foremost: Only God can truly launch a movement. Salvation comes from the Lord (Jonah 2:9) and so does revival. Despite all our hard work, we cannot manufacture a spiritual awakening. But we can dig the trenches, lay down the proper piping, and trust God to turn on the spigot.
This is why prayer is so essential. Gospel movements transfer from Heaven to Earth through divine decree. We must ask, beg, intercede with all kinds of prayers and requests, until God says “yes.” We must keep sharpening the blades of holy lives and swinging the axe of intercessory prayer at the tree, until God yells “Timber!” and revival strikes again.
But, other than prayer, how do we prepare the hearts of our teenagers for a transformational and sustainable Gospel movement in our midst? And how do we do our part in scaling this movement from youth group to youth group, until every teen, everywhere, has every last opportunity to hear the Gospel from a friend?
I’m convinced, based on Scripture and personal experience, there are four key elements:
- Gospel urgency
- Gospel fluency
- Gospel strategy
- Gospel Advancing sustainability
Let’s take a look at each of these and break them down in a practical way.
1. Gospel Urgency
When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. (Matthew 9:36-37)
Jesus had a strong sense of Gospel urgency. He saw the crowds and imagined them as sheep who were without the Shepherd of their souls. He envisioned them as harassed by predators and helpless against their attacks. This gave Him a compassion that was deeply inspirational. He passed that urgency on by giving His disciples the analogy of a big harvest that needed more harvesters. In that culture, everyone knew that if you didn’t get the harvest in in time, it could rot, get diseased, or be taken by others. There was an urgency to His words and an urgency in His and the disciples’ hearts.