What Just Happened?
I hadn’t seen my friend McKenzie in months. Now we sat together in a coffee shop downtown, two teens sipping mugs of hot tea and catching up on life. A lot had happened, and conversation flowed freely. Except for one problem—my stomach was in knots. McKenzie was not a Christian, and I felt desperately like I needed share the gospel with her.
Yet there seemed to be a disconnect between my brain and my mouth. The words just weren’t coming out. I felt embarrassed. Dumb. Inadequate. Doubtful. And then suddenly, the conversation was over, we were saying goodbye, and I was walking out of the coffee shop wondering, what just happened?
Immediately I felt discouraged and bruised by my failure. But as I considered this missed opportunity, I became motivated to not miss the next one.
I began to realize how many unique opportunities and practical ways teens can share the gospel. So, as you wonder how to equip teens to evangelize more effectively and ultimately how to reach my generation, I want to share these seven ways that teens can share the gospel.
1. Know how to share the gospel.
Before teens can actually explain the gospel, they must first know it themselves. Then they must know how to articulate it. It seems obvious, but it’s important. Have you equipped them to do this? Helped them practice saying it? Get them confident in their ability to proclaim it first.
Before teens can actually explain the gospel, they must first know it themselves.
2. Take advantage of impromptu conversations.
Teens are talkative, and we talk to our friends about almost everything. So teach your teens to be tuned in to how they can weave the gospel into ordinary conversation. When the latest movie comes out and everyone is talking about it, how can your teens bring the redemption of the gospel into that discussion?
3. Talk about your church.
Teenagers who are plugged into a healthy church can open doors for evangelism by simply talking to peers about their community. This can be a nonconfrontational way to initiate conversation. I could have easily shared with McKenzie an encouraging story about my church, yet I missed the opportunity.
4. Use social media to advance the gospel.
Face-to-face evangelism can be scary for teens, which is why technology is a significant blessing— it can provoke us to share the gospel more. Encourage teens to utilize social media for outreach. Show them it’s as easy as posting a Scripture passage, posting a spiritual article, or even posting a basic question about Christianity for discussion, something as simple as, “Do you believe in God? Why or why not?”
5. Reach out to the weak and lonely.
Forming cliques can be a perpetual temptation for teenagers. But containing ourselves in our own little circle is no way to reach out with the gospel. Push your teens to get outside their comfort zone and build relationships with the outcast, lonely, weird, and “uncool.” These are often the people most receptive to and eager for the hope of the gospel.
This is the power behind evangelism. When I met up with McKenzie, I hadn’t prepared with prayer. That’s why I was nervous, anxious, and, ultimately, silent. Empower your teens for gospel witness with persistent prayer. God is the one who changes hearts. We don’t do that. Liberate teens from the pressure of “getting decisions” and embolden them with a reliance on God’s sovereignty.
7. Don’t miss cultural moments (like the Super Bowl).
We are a culture that loves to gather around big events— like the forthcoming Super Bowl. Teens are going to Super Bowl parties. Teens are throwing Super Bowl parties. Teach them not to waste their “hanging out.” As they sit and watch touchdowns and eat chili and talk about everything and nothing, encourage them to go past the superficial. Evangelism might initially seem too “heavy” for a Super Bowl party, but it’s these kinds of communal events that can be most prime for intentional gospel witness.
Why Teens Need to Share the Gospel
Now is the time for teens to share their faith. Don’t let them believe that they don’t have the “gift” of evangelism. All Christians are commanded to share the gospel—including us young ones (Mark 16:15). The gospel is too big and too good not to share, and teenagers need this gospel. So equip your teens to reach other teens with that good news, and watch God save my generation.
- 10 Things You Should Know about Youth Ministry (Cameron Cole, Jon Nielson)
- How to Train Your Youth Group for Real Ministry (Jon Nielson)
- The Most Important Part of Youth Ministry (Cameron Cole)