3. Teach this theology interactively.
Don’t just blurt these truths out to students and then wrap up in prayer! Use questions to get the real issues in your teenagers’ hearts to surface and then deal with them. At Dare 2 Share we use a strategy called ALTernative Teaching. It basically stands for:
Ask great questions. This is what Jesus did and we should do with our teenagers.
Listen deeply to their answers.
Teach the truth from God’s Word.
Using this style of teaching will allow teenagers to have a dialogue with you and not just hear a monologue from you. But be warned, this can get a little messy. Teenagers may have strong feelings and some sinful perspectives that need to be gently corrected. So bring a mop—it will be worth cleaning up the mess and helping them to have a solid theology when it comes to truly loving everyone!
4. Gospelize everyone.
True evangelism is color-blind. It only sees red (the blood of Jesus) and longs for everyone everywhere to be cleansed by it!
Jesus told his disciples in Acts 1:8, “But you will receive power after the Holy Spirit comes on you and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the uttermost parts of the earth.” In his now famous last words before he ascended into heaven, Jesus gave the call for us to reach everyone of all nationalities. We start where we are (Jerusalem) and move outward toward the less-comfortable regions…like Samaria.
To the Jews of the time, Samaritans were considered lower than Gentiles. They were half-breeds, half-Jew and half-Gentile. Many Jews felt like they had sold out to the Assyrians during the fall of Israel and had intermarried with them, producing what they considered to be accursed offspring. But with one sentence Jesus rips that stereotype from his disciples’ mind and challenges them to reach them all with the hope that only he can offer!
In the same way we must reach our own “Jerusalems” with the Gospel, but we must reach our “Samarias” too. I call it reaching across the street and across the tracks!
That’s one of the things that made my youth ministry growing up so special. They reached across the tracks to my neighborhood (30 minutes away in the bad part of our city) to reach my family and other families with the message of hope. They didn’t care about the color of your skin but the condition of your heart. And, as long as you were willing to grow, they would train you and give you key positions to lead in the youth group. Although I was fatherless, I felt like I had brothers and sisters of all types and races in my youth group.
So how do you build this brand of youth ministry? You have to choose to integrate seven biblical values ripped straight from the book of Acts into the meat and muscle of your ministry. If you’d like to go deeper into these values, pick up my book Gospelize and go through it with your youth ministry team.
Racism is a problem in America. We can play our part in helping to solve it by building multi-ethnic, Gospel-Advancing ministries that are making and multiplying disciples in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and beyond.
Why do this? “That the world may believe” because they see in our teenagers an other-worldly, Jesus-centered, unshakeable and unbreakable unity.