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TikTok vs. “Let’s Talk”

Teaching teens the powerful influence of real conversation
Picture of Greg Stier
Greg Stier

There’s something special about a teenager who knows how to carry on a conversation—a real conversation. When a teen knows how to ask good questions, read body language, and respond accordingly, they become unique among their peers. They become a magnet—a light that attracts other teens.

My buddy Dr. Sean McDowell puts it this way:

“Teenagers are longing to be interesting, but the ones who will change world are those who are interested.”

Dr. Sean McDowell

Far too many teenagers strive to put the attention on themselves—doing their best poses in the best light wearing their best clothes, pretending it’s their best day and finding their worth in the number of likes their posts get.

So when a fellow teenager is interested enough in them to ask questions and listen, walls will come down and defenses will melt like a stick of butter in the summer sun.

Maybe that’s why James reminded us to “be quick to listen and slow to speak” (James 1:19). When teens listen first and speak last, their words carry heft and their willingness to listen is often reciprocated.

“INFLUENCER” REDEFINED

In this age of Instagram poses and TikTok dances, teenagers who listen first and listen well become the real influencers. Maybe they don’t have as many followers online, but there’s often a line of hurting teenagers waiting to talk to them.

At Dare 2 Share, we’ve developed a simple way for teenagers to get good at asking questions and engaging in Gospel conversations. We call it Ask – Admire – Admit, and it works like this:

Ask

First, teenagers ask questions and get to know the other person better. They ask about family, school, sports, and hobbies. And when the time is right, they ask about faith. Questions such as: “Do you go to church anywhere?” or “Is there anything that you need prayer for in your life right now?” or “Is your family religious?” broach the subject and crack the door to a Gospel conversation.

Admire

Once a teenager finds out a bit about their friend’s spiritual temperature and background, they can usually find something to admire about their belief system. Like Paul at the Areopagus in Acts 17 complimenting the philosophers of Mars Hill for being religious, teenagers can follow his lead. Mormons can be admired for their focus on mission. Atheists can be admired for their desire for evidence. Buddhists can be admired for their spiritual perspective of all of life, and so on. For a complete list of different belief systems, including questions teens can ask and things they can admire about each, click here.

Admit

Finally, teens can admit their own need of a Savior. Here’s where they share their story of coming to faith in Jesus.

For a free, four-week curriculum that trains teenagers to be interested in others; ask good questions; and clearly, confidently, and compassionately share the Gospel, check out Takeoff to Touchdown: How to Navigate a Gospel Conversation.

Let’s help teens get good not just at TikTok for short-term acclaim but at real talk for eternal gain.

Unlikely Fighter

#1 new release in Evangelism on Amazon

The story of how a fatherless street kid overcame violence, chaos, and confusion to become a radical Christ follower.

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