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Apathy. It’s a sneaky killer of passion that can sideline even the most vibrant of churches. It’s how on-fire Christians can ever so slowly become completely ineffective for God’s kingdom. And teenagers are known to have a pretty bad case of it.
So how do we fight the apathy that will inevitably try to creep into our youth groups and churches?
Baxter McGuirt, a youth pastor from Greenville, SC, was leading a youth group that had lost its spark for sharing the gospel. The church as a whole hadn’t prioritized evangelism or community outreach in years, and Baxter knew something needed to change.
He found out about an evangelism-training event for teenagers called Dare 2 Share LIVE (LIVE) that aligned with what he wanted for his youth ministry. “The evangelism component really intrigued me because it’s something our ministry struggles to achieve,” he said.
Around the same time, Baxter’s senior pastor was praying about how the whole church could reach their community for Christ, and he came to Baxter asking what he thought.
“I told him I was looking into LIVE to train our kids to share the gospel, so God was working to inject our whole church with an evangelism focus at the same time,” Baxter remembered.
When the day of LIVE came, Baxter’s students got to knock on doors, collect canned food, and share the gospel with strangers. Baxter walked around with three middle school boys from his group and watched in awe as their faith and confidence in Christ grew right before his eyes.
“You wouldn’t think that 7th grade boys would want to knock on a stranger’s door and tell them about Jesus, but they warmed up to it really quickly,” he remembered.
“After about three or four homes when they were still a bit nervous, one of them wrapped his arms around the other two,” Baxter said. “He encouraged them that they were there to tell people about Jesus, and then he prayed with them. That was so cool to see.”
With the teenagers trained to share their faith, it was now the adults’ turn. Baxter helped the senior pastor plan the church’s first outreach event of canvassing the neighborhood to invite people to church and share the gospel. And the students who went to LIVE ended up leading the way.
“The kids got up in front of the sixty adults there to share their testimonies from LIVE and taught them how to have a gospel conversation,” Baxter said.
“Seeing our teenagers be so confident and excited about evangelism, it really pushed the adults to say, ‘Hey, I can do that too.’”
The church’s passion for evangelism was ignited again as they shared the gospel with sixteen neighbors who didn’t know Jesus, in addition to all the others they were able to invite to church that day. Now, Baxter says they are more focused on sending people out into the community rather than waiting for the world to come to them, and that’s made all the difference.
“Dare 2 Share LIVE was the thing that God used to help our church start outreach again,” he said. “It helped get people excited to share the gospel and start praying for the lost to come to Christ.”
If you want to jumpstart a gospel-sharing movement in your youth group and church, sign up to get updates on Dare 2 Share LIVE, happening October 13th at locations across the country. We can’t wait to see you there!