“Gospel fluency” was a term introduced to me by my friend David Hertweck. As I listened to him explain it, I knew immediately that this dealt with an important truth in youth ministry. Graduating seniors who aren’t well-versed in the good news of Jesus can easily buy into the many false doctrines that will accost their Christianity after they graduate from high school.
As Paul warned the believers in Galatians 1:6-9, “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse!”
When Paul says something twice, it’s a big, big deal, and in this power passage, he gives a double-whammy warning regarding false teachers: Don’t buy the lies of anybody preaching anything less or anything more than faith alone in Jesus alone for salvation.
After this cold-water wake-up call to the Galatian believers, he goes on to build their gospel fluency with passages like Galatians 2:15-16: “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.”
Paul knew that if these early believers didn’t master the gospel then they would not be able to live, share and defend the message. It all started with Gospel fluency!
So how fluent are your teenagers in the Gospel message? If you put a microphone to the face of each of the teenagers in your youth group as they left the youth room at your church, could they fully explain the good news of Jesus?
It’s also why we relentlessly use a GOSPEL acrostic for teenagers to master and memorize. Some people look down on the use of acrostic with teenagers. But I can tell you from personal experience and thousands of gospel conversations with youth leaders and teenagers alike that the teenagers who memorize and master it, at the bare minimum, can articulate it clearly long after they’ve attended a Dare 2 Share event.
For me, the GOPSEL is not a method but a retelling of the full message of the good news of Jesus! Master it and you can use it with virtually any methodology. Have your teenagers master it and they will have a framework to build solid Gospel fluency based on the meta-narrative (full story) of the good news of Jesus from Genesis 1 through Revelation 22.
So what is the GOSPEL acrostic?
God created us to be with him. (Genesis 1,2)
Our sin separates us from God. (Genesis 3)
Sins cannot be removed by good deeds. (Genesis 4–Malachi 4)
Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew-Luke)
Everyone who trusts in him alone has eternal life. (John)
Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever. (Acts-Revelation)
This simple little acrostic can be the starting point for Gospel fluency in your teenagers. It is a simple, solid and Scriptural framework that you can use to train your teenagers. I challenge you to memorize it, have your teenagers memorize it, and then encourage them to start using it to engage in Gospel conversations with their friends.
Memorizing it personally and sharing it publicly will help your teenagers truly know and own the good news of Jesus. That, my friend, is the power of Gospel fluency.