For the last 24 years, I’ve worked to motivate teenagers to love God. I’ve been training teenagers to live and share the Gospel. The biggest challenge I’ve faced with many teenagers (and even some youth leaders) is spiritual apathy.
How Do We Motivate Teenagers?
There’s this kind of dead-eyed look I have often seen in the audience when speaking to crowds of teens. And, over the years, God has unveiled some powerful ways to turn that apathy into intensity. Here are five ways to motivate teenagers:
1. Recruit an air force to motivate teenagers.
There’s nothing like a spiritual air force of intercessors to send prayer bombs to shatter strongholds of apathy in young hearts and minds. There are prayer warriors I call/text before I preach to get them praying for the teenagers I’m about to preach to.
Twitter and Facebook are also great ways to get people praying for the teenagers you’re about to share with to have their hearts set on fire with the truth of God’s Word and the urgency of God’s mission.
2. Preach on great subjects to motivate teenagers.
I think it was Spurgeon who said that the key to great preaching is great topics. But, sadly, far too often, youth leaders don’t deal with the greatest of topics. Instead they dance around subjects of self-worth, friends and behavioral issues instead of unleashing the full force of great theology. It’s in the shadow of the great theological issues of identity and adoption, justification and sanctification, heaven and hell where these other issues are truly dealt with at a core level.
Want to help a teenager have a strong self-identity? Unpack who they are in Christ!
Want a teenager to start sharing their faith? Unleash the impending reality of hell for their friends who die without Jesus!
Want to inspire a teenager to walk in purity? Unfurl the truths of the impending return of Jesus!
3. Use drama to motivate teenagers.
At Dare 2 Share we’ve been using drama to paint a visceral picture of these great truths since our inception. There’s nothing like a dramatic video, sketch or skit to pound home the great themes of God’s Word into the hearts and lives of teenagers.
A quarter of a century ago I penned a dramatic piece called “Letters From Hell.” It asks the question what if a friend who died wrote you a letter from hell asking why you didn’t tell them about Jesus. Someone took the audio from it and uploaded it on YouTube with some visuals. So far this video has received almost two million views!
People ask me why I wrote it and my answer is simple…to motivate teenagers to share their faith. Some call it “scare tactics,” but I call it a dramatic reminder to every Christian of what is at stake for those who die without Jesus.