Over the last few years we, at Dare 2 Share, have discovered the five common actions that are taken in every youth ministry that is thriving on both a deep and wide level. These youth ministries are guiding their teens deeper and deeper into their relationship with God and wider and wider into the world on the mission of Jesus to “Go and make disciples….” Matthew 28:19. They are making disciples who make disciples (therefore “multiplying.”) The first letter of these common actions happen to form an acrostic that spells out “PLIED.” Jesus plied two trades, one as a carpenter and the other as a disciple multiplier. That’s why we call these collective actions The “Get multi-PLIED” Strategy. Thriving youth ministries Pray, Live, Inspire, Equip and Deploy.
Let’s dive a little deeper into each of these priorities…
The youth ministries we’ve noticed that are growing have intercessory prayer as core to what they do. They make room to pray. In the midst of ministry and meetings they view the most important meeting as the one they have with God to intercede on behalf of the next generation. They pray for Christian teens to grow strong in their relationship with Jesus and stand in the gap for their non Christian friends to put their faith in Jesus. They pray for non Christian teens to be open to the gospel. They pray for schools, parents, teachers, and others who can help create a context for true transformation in their communities.
By the way, there is no set way that these youth ministries do this. Some, like my buddy John, do this as an organic part of how they do youth ministry. Others, like my buddy Andy, do it as a programmatic piece of their weekly youth ministry network meeting and monthly student gathering. Still others use great websites like everyschool.com to claim campuses for prayer. However you choose to do it, do it.
“Follow my example as I follow the example of Christ.” 1 Corinthians 11:1
If you aren’t reaching out to your family, friends and neighbors with the good news of Jesus how can you expect your teenagers to reach their classmates, teammates and friends with the gospel? You don’t have to be good at it. You just have to go for it.
Maybe this means writing and sending a letter to a family member that clearly and lovingly lays out the gospel. Maybe it means that you host a neighborhood block party to get to know your neighbors so that you can begin those spiritual conversations. You can take a friend out for coffee, send an old classmate a Facebook message or invite a couple over for dinner. However you choose to begin to make evangelism a priority in your life go for it. Then you’ve earned the right to challenge your teens to risk to share their faith. Even if you stumble and stutter or flail and “fail” at it you’ll earn the street cred to challenge your teenagers to risk it all to reach their friends.