- Have your teenagers pray for each other and their unreached friends.
“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them….This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:1-4
Paul told Timothy to make sure he programmed intercessory prayer time into the church services he was leading in Ephesus. What’s good for Tim is good for you. Sadly, the typical youth ministry spends more time in announcements than intercessory prayer for lost souls.
Effective youth ministry must be fueled by prayer. When we have our teens pray for each other and their unreached friends to come to Christ. Doing this, not only prepares the heart of the unbeliever to hear the Gospel, it prepares the hearts of the believing teenager to share the Gospel!
2. Take time to have teens share outreach stories from the week.
“When they arrived in Jerusalem, Barnabas and Paul were welcomed by the whole church, including the apostles and elders. They reported everything God had done through them.” Acts 15:4
I’ve talked with countless youth leaders who have programmed this brand of story-telling time into their youth meetings with great results. Teens love to share how God has used them to engage their friends in Gospel conversations.
Hearing these kinds of Gospel advancing stories week after week from their peers, begins to create an expectation for evangelism and a culture of evangelism.
If your teens don’t know how to share the Gospel get them out to Dare 2 Share Live coming up on November 12th. We will simulcast this highly inspirational evangelism training straight into your youth room. Your youth group, along with hundreds upon hundreds of youth groups from across the nation, will be mobilized to share their faith from coast-to-coast that day.
Go to dare2sharelive.org for more info. BTW, it’s FREE!
Between now and then, here’s a 5 minute course that will help your teenagers share the Gospel effectively…
3. Teach teenagers enough theological truth to stretch their brains and change their lives.
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4
Don’t be afraid to teach the doctrines of salvation, sanctification, The Trinity, Humanity/Deity of Jesus, end-times theology, heaven, hell, judgment day and more. We must teach these truths to teenagers in a way that is engaging and compelling, but we must teach them. If we don’t fill their minds and hearts with sound doctrine, others will fill them with false doctrine.
I find object lessons especially helpful when teaching doctrinal truths to teenagers. For instance, when teaching on the doctrine of “kenosis” in Philippians 2, I use an empty glass to represent the humanity of Jesus and the water in a pitcher to represent the deity of Jesus. Then I pour out the water (deity) into the glass (humanity) until it is full of water. I use this to show that Jesus was fully God and fully human.
After explaining this for a few minutes, I drink the water and talk about the doctrine of Christ in us (Colossians 1:27.) I teach the teens that Jesus now lives in us through his Holy Spirit and desires to live through us.
Doctrinal teaching should NEVER be boring and should always have a practical takeaway for them to put into practice…which leads us to the 4th hack.
4. Challenge every teenager to do one simple thing to apply what they learned right away.
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
How would you do this for instance, with the doctrine of kenosis in point #4? Well, one thing you could do is to have teenagers make a commitment for the rest of the school week to drink a glass of water before they go to school. As they drink the water, have them ask God to let the Christ who is in them live his life through them!
Every great theological truth has great practical application for the everyday life of a teenager. We must look for the best practical application and give them the challenge to put it into practice right away.
Text your teens during the week (or have your leaders text them) and ask how they are doing with the practical application you challenged them to do during youth group.
5. Give the Gospel and have a response time in every youth group meeting.
“For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2
Paul relentlessly gave the Gospel to the Corinthians. He kept preaching the Gospel to them until they believed it and were living it.
Do you give the Gospel clearly in every meeting? Do you have a way for teenagers to respond (raised hands, walked aisle, checked box, sent text, etc.)? If not, start.
Once your teens know that you will give the Gospel every week in youth group come hell or high water, they will bring their friends out to hear the Gospel, so that their friends won’t go to hell and, maybe, even get baptized in high water (or low/medium water) 🙂
To learn how to do this effectively read my article How to Give an Effective Invitation.
These 5 hacks will help you be more effective in youth ministry right away. Don’t just read them. Be a doer of the hacks and not readers only.