The Three Students Most Likely To Share the Gospel
LISTEN TO THIS ARTICLE:
What’s the one thing that’s the most difficult for you to get students to do? Youth leaders are constantly trying to get students to come to youth group, put their phones away during service, pray consistently, and read their Bible. With developing faiths and competing priorities, getting students to intentionally invest in their spiritual growth is challenging. Evangelism is often the most challenging of all.
The reasons for this abound. Students may feel like they’re too young to share their faith. They say they don’t know enough or are scared of tough questions. Social anxiety has kept many from having conversations in general. Some of them truly do not care enough to take the initiative. Unfortunately, all of these reasons are often shared by Christian adults as well. Moving people to action for the Great Commission is perhaps the most challenging aspect of spiritual leadership.
However, there are some students whom you do not have to motivate to share. They are already inviting their friends to church and having spiritual conversations at school. You aren’t asking them to share their faith as much as they are asking you for help talking with their lost friends. Who are these students, and where did they come from?
In my time working with college freshman evangelism courses, we helped thousands of students share their faith, most for the first time, meaning they never got the chance or courage during their time in student ministry. That experience, plus my time as a Student Pastor, has shown me that there are generally three types of students who share the Gospel often. If you want to cultivate an outreach culture in your youth group, investing in students like this will make a huge difference.
1. New Believers
I have found new believers, especially high schoolers, to be some of the most contagious Christians around. Jesus has just changed their life in a radical way, and they are so enthusiastic about the new world they’re living in. They are so interested in Jesus and talking about Him that they do it all the time, even with their unbelieving friends. Whereas long-time believers tend to have less unbelieving friends, new believers are surrounded by them! This is the perfect time to help them channel their passion for Jesus toward His mission.
A simple and practical way to do this is to help them understand their testimony. Have your student write out their conversion testimony in three parts: their life before Christ, how they met Christ, and how Christ is changing their life. If they’re nervous about saying it out loud and in person, have them post a video on social media or send a screenshot to their friends. Help them share while the excitement is fresh and spiritual apathy has not set in!
2. Students with Parents Who Share the Gospel
The second type of student who shares often is one whose parents model evangelism and service regularly. Evangelism is second-nature to them because it was just how they grew up, just like setting the table or having good manners. Parents who make evangelism normal for their kids also make it less scary! One of my students is so bold in part because he has watched his dad pull over on the side of the road to serve someone and share the Gospel countless times. We should never underestimate the example of an obedient parent. This is why parents must be a part of your evangelism strategy.
How can you help your teens' parents embrace evangelism in their family life? Recently, one of our adult life groups went through an evangelism series where they learned a few key tools for sharing their faith. Then they were tasked with teaching their kids how to do it and practicing it with them. Lastly, they planned a car wash where the whole family participated in hopes of sharing the Gospel together. Months later, some of those students are consistently the ones bringing lost friends to youth group and sharing with them at school.
3. Students Who are Intentionally Equipped and Expected to Share their Faith
Countless times have I heard the excuse, "I don't know how. I don't know what to say." This excuse should not exist in our student ministries. Students can say they didn’t feel like it or were scared, but they should never be in student ministry for long without knowing how to share the Gospel. I have observed that when students have learned and mastered an evangelism method or app on their phones, they are far more likely to share.
They also tend to have spiritual conversations more when they know I will ask about it. In our high school group, I recently walked through an evangelism series, each week asking them to try something new. One week I asked them to pray every day for a lost friend. The next week I asked them to ask their friend what they needed prayer for. On week 3, I challenged them to start a spiritual conversation with them. Each time we met, I asked how it went and celebrated those who got the chance while encouraging those who did not. Simply put, they shared their faith because they were equipped with the tools to do it, and they were expected to use them.
Youth leaders should recognize these students and do everything they can to spur them on. Help every new believer know the Gospel and share how Jesus has changed their life. Work with parents to embrace mission as a spiritual discipline in their family. Give every student whatever tool, method, and challenge they need to step out in faith in their schools. This is how we get more laborers into the harvest.
Share your thoughts with others in our YM360 community:
- Do you know one student who shares the Gospel often? Why do you think he or she is able to do that?
- Does your church intentionally teach parents how to share the Gospel?
- What is one evangelism tool or method you could teach to your students this semester?
Ready for more articles and training? Check out these top posts!