Does this youth group rundown look familiar to you?
- Show up.
- Give students some time to socialize.
- Get the energy moving with a game.
- Reel them back in with worship songs.
- Encourage them with a message.
- Send them off and repeat the following week.
This familiar pattern sometimes seems like the only way to do ministry—either because of our own experiences from growing up in church or from what we see other leaders modeling in their youth groups.
The harsh reality, though, is that in many respects, we’re boring our teens and draining their passion for God. Sure, they may be engaged for a time. But because we’ve conditioned them to come to group thinking it’s all about them and what they can get out of youth group, we’re starting from the wrong premise. No wonder they’re soon spiritually apathetic.
Teens need an outlet to grow and go deeper in their relationship with Jesus. They need a mission that will put them in the driver’s seat of their faith, hand them the keys, and encourage them to drive out on the streets. A mission to exercise all the spiritual truths they are learning at youth group out in the real world.
The Great Commission is the very mission that gives meaning and purpose to our faith beyond just believing that Jesus exists. It gives your teens the incredible honor and privilege of participating in a 2,000-year-old mission of bringing the gospel to the lost, hurt, and broken of the world.
Honestly, is there anything more exciting than that?!
Preparing for the Mission
It can feel a bit daunting to just jump in and start tweaking your weekly rundown, so here are some ideas to set you up for success:
- Spend some time in prayer.
- Seek wisdom on how to best introduce the Great Commission to your teens. Ask God to prepare your students’ hearts to receive His command—especially those with spiritual apathy. Ask Him where in your community or elsewhere He wants to use your ministry to further His Kingdom.
- Explain Jesus’ mission.
- Help your students understand that the command to share the gospel wasn’t just given to the original disciples 2,000 years ago. It’s a command and a privilege for all disciples, including your teens, to take part in as followers of Christ.
- Invite your teens to obey Jesus’ mission.
- When Jesus gave the Great Commission to His disciples, He didn’t mean it as a suggestion. He was giving all believers a command to follow. Challenge and encourage your teens with opportunities to exercise their faith and actually go out on mission together.
- Equip your teens for this mission.
- Before you commission your teens, train them in ways to share their faith. Show them how to navigate the unpredictable and sometimes terrifying terrain of gospel conversations—including how to bring the gospel up, listen to the other person, ask good questions, and give an invitation to salvation.
- Quick tip: One easy way to help students gain confidence in sharing the gospel is to give them time during youth group to practice gospel conversations with each other.
As you brainstorm ways to get your students living out the Great Commission, don’t feel like every lesson or event you do needs to be an original idea. Utilize resources like the “4 Chair Discipling” book from Sonlife, or Dare 2 Share’s “Life in 6 Words” curriculum to teach your students how to share the gospel with their friends.
A great event idea to jumpstart the mission-oriented mindset in your students is Dare 2 Share LIVE, happening on October 13, 2018. All you and your teens have to do is show up at a LIVE satellite site near you to experience an incredible day of evangelism training and sharing the gospel in your own community!
A Mission to Last a Lifetime
The best thing about giving your teens a mission for their faith is that it isn’t just a one-time idea for youth group. It’s a continuous way of doing ministry that invites your teens out of spiritual apathy and self-absorption and into a deeper relationship with Christ for the rest of their lives.
Because at the end of the day, all we want in youth ministry is to see our students know Jesus, passionately follow Him, and share the news of His love and saving grace with others. Let’s not wait another minute to invite our teens out of boredom and into the greatest adventure of their lives!