Articles | Outreach
Rick Lawrence


Forty years ago, when GROUP was an infant, the “rules of evangelism” were well-known and commonly accepted. “The Four Spiritual Laws” and “The Romans Road” and “If you were to die tonight, do you know where you’d be going?” had not yet been dismissed as hackneyed clichés.

Today, the cultural landscape is a harsh ecosystem for conventional ideas about evangelism. In youth ministry, it’s still high on the “to-do” list, but very few actually model or train students in how to do it. Confusion and guilt reign…

We have to find a way forward—a path that will lead young people (and us!) to a mindset that frees us to engage others about the person and promise of Jesus. So I asked two friends who are passionate about Jesus and natural evangelists, Carl Medearis and Greg Stier, to join me in a conversation about the future of evangelism. Read the original article in GROUP Magazine here. They come at this from very distinct vantage points…

Greg grew up in the rough underbelly of the culture, outside of the church—he’s the founder and long-time president of Dare2Share, as well as author of great resources including the small group curriculum, Evangephobia. Carl grew up as a PK, and is a long-time missionary to the Muslim world and author of the bestselling books Muslims, Christians, and Jesus, Tea With Hezbollah, and Speaking of Jesus.

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We met at the offices of Dare2Share in Denver, and we video-recorded the entire conversation. We’ve condensed and split that recording into four parts.

Is Evangelism Still Relevant? from Group Magazine on Vimeo.


When Is Someone “Evangelized”? from Group Mission Trips on Vimeo.


Pro-Jesus or Pro-Paul? from Group Mission Trips on Vimeo.


Teaching Students How to Engage from Group Mission Trips on Vimeo.

Have a question or comment for Greg, Carl, or Rick? 


Intrigued by what you heard in the interview? Greg Stier, Carl Medearis, and Rick Lawrence will be continuing the discussion with each of you during a LIVE Twitter Q & A on Tuesday, September 2 from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. (MDT).

Tweet your comments and questions to them at their usernames below:

Greg Stier – @gregstier

Carl Medearis – @carlmedearis

Rick Lawrence – @RickSkip

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  • Jonathan Lloyd says:

    Just once I’d like NOT to hear some football comment coming from evangelicals. Do you even realize that football is anti-Christian? It deals solely in violence and *requires* the viewer to forget about the player’s future. Violence should not be within an evangelical message. Duh.

    • Rick Lawrence says:

      Thanks for weighing in on your disgust for “football” allusions, Jonathan… I think Greg is mostly doing what Jesus did—using common cultural themes as metaphors for Kingdom-of-God truths.

    • Paul May says:

      next time they should use baseball for an illustration. It is much more of a gentlemen’s game. oh btw they should never preach from the Old Testament either since it is littered with all kinds of violence as well.

  • Daniel says:

    Thanks for this, some really good ideas in here. I think an individual’s approach to sharing the gospel will likely be a direct reflection of the nature of their relationship with Jesus. You can only offer what you have. If people have a transactional relationship with God, then that “4 spiritual laws” evangelical method will seem quite comfortable, and people willing to enslave themselves to a transactional religion will respond. But I think our generation’s confusion with evangelism might point to a more systemic confusion in the church- namely a large group of “evangelized” people who are beginning to realize they have settled for a distant and detached relationship with a transactional God. And our youth, who are disgusted at the thought of transactional relationships in general, expose the problem by refusing to take part. So I think teaching kids to evangelize, ideally, is introducing them to something worth evangelizing about. And, hopefully, our understanding of sharing the gospel will become clearer the more we grow in “knowledge and depth of insight” about Jesus, and so discover what the gospel actually entails. Principles are great facilitators, so I appreciate the work of groups like Dare 2 Share, but they are always at the service of hearts set ablaze, not the other way around.

    Thanks again!

  • Amber Cassady says:

    Great discussion!

  • Andy McGowan says:

    I have found when I talk with people (whether a friend or a stranger), the message of grace is a conversation changer. When properly unpacked, I find the “post- Christian culture” hungers for grace. People are tired of trying to prove themselves.

  • Jory says:

    I think we should call it, “Lovealism” rather than evangelism.

  • Rodney Caldwell says:

    I loved this! I want more! I think this topic of our fast changing culture is something we need to dive into more, it affects everything from how to evangelize them, to how to get them to come and check out what you are doing in youth group. Thanks so much for this and i would encourage more conversations like this in the future.

  • Shane says:

    I think “the future” has been with us for quite some time. Build authentic relationships, love people where they’re at and show people a glimpse of the Kingdom. Young Life does it better than anyone.

    • Rick Lawrence says:

      Shane, the “future” may be with us, but are we with the future? We don’t have a great track record at that…

  • Jim says:

    I know this is a late comment since this discussion took place a few months ago, but I really appreciated this! As you said in the last video, there were many good clues in the discussion as to how to evangelize better. One of the clues that struck a chord with me was the need to strengthen my relationship with Jesus. Carl mentioned how he knew the Bible and the facts about Jesus well, and then realized later that he didn’t have a strong understanding of who Jesus was personally and why He said the things that He did. That’s been the case with me. Having grown up in a Christian home and knowing the facts that are in the Bible, but not realizing that understanding Jesus is a lifelong journey and one that I need to be focusing on. Another clue was the need to strengthen my ability to communicate with people. Part of this is my personality, but I think that young people today struggle with sharing their faith for the same reason. We are good at texting or posting things online, but not so good at talking one on one with people especially about confrontational subjects. There is an art to talking about the confrontational truths of Jesus without being confrontational in our approach (finding common ground with a person and not treating them as if they are a robot, but rather a real person). It’s the art of adapting the message to each individual that we talk to. Thank you so much for this discussion. It was very helpful for me.

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