Published Feb 28, 2023
My friend Shane Pruitt, NAMB’s National Nex Gen Evangelism Director, did a quick poll on his Twitter account to show us how important it is to go after the youth. After 2,694 people replied, 77% said they responded to the gospel before the age of 18. This quickly demonstrated that the harvest is in the youth! We know this is historically true as young people have led lots of recent gospel movements over the past century, and VBS has been an evangelistic staple among SBC churches for decades. Why do churches miss this? Is it possible they do not know why youth evangelism matters?
Here are three reasons youth evangelism matters:
- Youth evangelism matters because Christ commands it. The Great Commission commands believers to make disciples of all nations, which includes all ages (Matthew 28:18-20; cf. Luke 18:15-17). Simply, we need to win the youth to Jesus! If we fail to do this, we could potentially miss a great evangelistic harvest in our churches. Therefore, we should fulfill the Great Commission with a mighty emphasis on reaching the next generation every single year.
- Youth evangelism matters because the Church needs it. The Church is called to co-evangelize and co-disciple with families to raise up future church leaders and be sent into the world (Acts 1:8; cf. Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Psalm 78:1-10; Titus 2:1-8; 1 John 2:12-14). In his book, “Within Reach,” Ben Trueblood says that we are one generation away from no new leaders in the church and could miss an entire generation if we do not reach out to the youth in our surrounding communities. When the church reaches the youth, people are added to the church daily and discover their calling in life and ministry at a younger age.
- Youth Evangelism matters because the culture demands it. The vast lostness in the culture demands a gospel response! We need to have the spiritual perspective of Jesus in Matthew 9:35-38. He “looks” at the lost crowds “with compassion” because they are like a “lost sheep without a shepherd.” Every believer should be a brokenhearted evangelist who wants to reach a generation that is going astray and take the gospel to them because they will not come to us!
Although our methods might change to reach the youth, our message must never change. The gospel is the most relevant message for the next generation! Here are a few things you can do to make youth evangelism matter in your church:
Gospelize Your Events. Unfortunately, apathy continues to be a problem in churches because preservation becomes more important than proclamation in a rapidly changing culture. We are more afraid of what others think instead of what is true! Therefore, we need to gospelize our youth ministries with evangelism events and learn how to be unashamed of our faith. Start praying for lost students. Develop a culture of invitation. Resource your students with Bibles to pass out. Do evangelism training often. Take them to conferences like Ignition 2023 to get them excited about following Jesus! If you want the best ideas to “gospelize” your youth ministry, download this free book by Greg Stier from Dare 2 Share Ministries.
Plan a Youth Revival. Most of us already have everything we need right in front of us. Set aside an intentional weekend or night of worship for the youth to recommit their lives and hearts to the Lord. Use response cards to indicate who needs to get saved or baptized, and include commitments to pray for the lost, serve in the church, start a Bible study with friends, or go on a mission trip. You will be amazed at the reaction some of your students will have as they see God’s calling on their life during this intentional moment. See the Great Commission Card I used with my students.
Give the Youth Leadership Opportunities. You miss what you dismiss by proximity. If you do not have any youthful representation on your main stage, volunteer teams, or social media, you most likely have a distant relationship with the next generation. The youth are just waiting to be asked to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Download the free training kits by LeaderTreks to create youth leadership opportunities that can influence others and change the evangelistic temperature at your church.