One of the most exciting parts of being a youth leader who lives out a Gospel Advancing Ministry is student evangelism when students put their faith in Christ for the first time. They are excited and refreshed by the Spirit of God who has washed them of their sin and marked them as a child of God for all eternity.
New believers are always enthusiastic about their newfound faith and are ready to evangelize with anyone that comes across their path. But sometimes this fire is squelched by student evangelism lies that say they are too young, inexperienced and do not know enough about their faith. But if we want to be leaders who model gospel advancement, then we need to equip and encourage all of our students—no matter how young—to take up THE Cause.
Here are three lies about student evangelism that youth leaders and students should never believe.
Student Evangelism Myth #1. My students are too busy to make disciples.
“Sports…clubs…homework…youth group…hangouts…work… My students are too busy to make disciples.” How many times have you heard a parent say this? So often a parent will look at their teenager’s schedule and give them a pass on fulfilling THE Cause. This can be hard to navigate as you don’t want to discredit their teenager’s full schedule, but you also don’t want to see them put their efforts to share the gospel and engage in Christian community on the back burner. You need to carefully help them (and their parents) see the priority of living a gospel-centered life, which means living and worshiping God in everything that you do (check out our Youth Group 2 Go lesson that addresses this topic here).
Help your students and their parents understand that living on mission means using whatever resources, skills and talents God has given you to advance the gospel. For example, say you have a student who is an athlete or involved on the debate team, encourage them to reach their team with the love of Jesus. They can start conversations, pray for their fellow teammates and share the gospel through active, relational evangelism. When students realize that they are never too busy to share God’s love, they will begin to understand that there’s a deeper purpose behind their God-given talents and interests.
Student Evangelism Myth #2. They don’t know enough about Christianity
The mission of the church has always been to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19), but sometimes we get so caught up on training our students with discipleship materials that we never get around to evangelism. Disciplining our students involves more than just taking them through a twelve week discipleship guide or a six week foundations class. While there is nothing wrong with offering solid, biblical training, we need to stay focused on the why behind the training.
New believers, especially, have a great opportunity to share their faith with their friends. Their decision to become a Christian is fresh and new to everyone who knows them. Many of their friends will already be curious to understand why they put their faith in Christ. Help your students be bold about sharing their faith by encouraging them to share it immediately. If you’d like to discuss and teach your students how to share their faith, check out some of Dare 2 Share’s evangelism training resources like Shine and Evangephobia.
Student Evangelism Myth #3. They are too young and inexperienced
Living a long life filled with a variety of experiences usually means you are smarter and wiser than the “youngsters” in youth group. However, while age can lend itself to wisdom, we cannot fall into the trap of thinking that teenagers are incapable of leading or, for that matter, making disciples. Teenagers are capable of accomplishing more than society thinks. They have God given talents and influence that God wants them to use even at a young age.
Jesus’ disciples were young. There is good evidence to believe that all of the disciples (excluding Peter) would have been younger than twenty. Given their young age, it is remarkable to think of the responsibility that Jesus entrusted to the disciples. There is a good chance that some of your students are already older than some of the disciples when they first started following Jesus. Which means if Christ entrusted His young(er) disciples to fulfill THE Cause and build the church, how much more should we entrust our teenagers to do the same?
At the end of the day, we youth leaders must continue to press into advancing the gospel. While many of our students are young, busy, untrained and inexperienced, we cannot fall into the trap of thinking of them as incapable. Help your students model lives worth following; train them to know God’s truth; and encourage them to share the hope that they have in Christ with everyone God puts in their path. It won’t be easy, but if we ignore the lies and encourage our students to engage in evangelism, then they have the potential to accomplish great things that matter for all eternity in the name of Christ.
Want more practical advice on mobilizing your teens to share the gospel? All of our Mobilize stories offer great ideas for training your students and building a Gospel Advancing Ministry. Sign up here to receive this free, hands-on, weekly resource in your inbox!
This article about student evangelism originally appeared here.