I do not agree with Tim Schmoyer on all points of doctrine. However, I could not more strongly agree with the following article. After this article many people stopped following his blog. I am afraid to even know what they are thinking. I share the Gospel every youth meeting and give a chance to respond. Many times I do this through an invitation.
I don’t do alter calls or invitations to come forward or anything, but I do make sure that I point every youth group lesson back to the gospel for several reasons.
1. It’s the foundation of everything else in scripture. In fact, we wouldn’t even have scripture in the first place if it wasn’t for the gospel. It’s the core, the hub, the center of everything we teach. Everything is dependent on the gospel. No matter what subject, issue, or passage you’re teaching, it all ties back to the gospel message. Don’t believe me? Watch Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.tv do it with almost every message he preaches.
2. I’m not naive enough to think that all my youth group kids have made a decision to trust Christ.Actually, often the very opposite is often true. The church kids are the ones who are the most immune to the gospel. They mentally check out thinking, “Yeah, yeah, I know. I’ve heard this part before.” That’s why it’s important to always tie every lesson back to the gospel! I’ve found that some teens listen to my lesson just to try to figure out how I’m going to make the connection at the end. When I get there I explain the gospel in a way that’s relevant to the lesson we just discussed. In this way it doesn’t become redundant for them, but instead they get the gospel from a new angle every week.
3. The more my kids hear the Gospel, the more clear it is for them, the easier it is for them to share it with someone else, and the more confident they feel when doing so. When I do one-on-one discipleship with teen guys, one of the questions I always ask is, “If you had 30 seconds to share the gospel with someone right before they died, what would you say?” It’s surprising to me how many good, solid church kids have a perspective of soteriology that is totally confused. They often miss key elements such as sin, or the fact that Jesus was God. They know all the elements in their head, but they’ve never been asked to put all the pieces together. That’s why it’s so helpful for them to hear the gospel every week from me because it makes it more clear each time they hear it. Coincidentally, that helps them share it more clearly with others, which in turn boosts their confidence. Of course, that means I must first have a firm grasp on the gospel myself. Do you? Can you clearly answer my question?
4. Scripture expects that both me and my youth group kids share the gospel with others regularly. There are some things scripture expects from us whether we’re gifted in that area or not. For example, some people have the gift of serving, but every believer is still expected to serve others. Some people have the gift of giving, but every believer is expected to tithe. Some people have the gift of evangelism, but every believer is expected to share Christ with the lost people around them in one capacity or another. When we keep the gospel in front of our teens at youth group, it moves it to the forefront of their theological grid, and thus they are more apt to follow the Lord’s command in obedience to share Him with others.
Ultimately, it helps both the youth group teens and myself go deep and wide at the same time.
What kind of role does the gospel play in your youth ministry?