There are some things that call for an urgent response.
When the water pipe bursts in your kitchen and water is spewing all over the place, the best response is an urgent dash to shut the water off. If you happen upon a vehicle accident with injuries, the best response is an urgent phone call to 911.
When I read the book of Acts and observe the early church’s response to Jesus’ promise that He is coming back, there’s an urgency among the followers of Christ. They’re intent on making sure others know the message and hope of the Messiah who came to save the world.
I have to wonder…have we lost that urgency? Do we see the lostness in a world that has put hope in so many other things than a Savior who came to die on a cross and conquer death so that we might know life?
As young adult ministry leaders, we have opportunities to connect with young adults in our community and church. However, if our groups are not consistently praying for and seeking opportunities to engage the ones in our community that are far from Christ, we have formed nothing but a social group that has no eternal purpose.
Is community important? Absolutely! Is it important for our groups to have a nice room or space to meet in? Sure! But the heart of all ministry must be about sharing the hope and message of Jesus with those who do not know Him.
This is urgent!
“He who testifies about these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly. Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20, HCSB)
How we can help young adults understand the urgency of evangelism?
1. Talk frequently about sharing the gospel.
We talk about the things that we value and are important to us. As young adult ministry leaders, are we passionate about sharing the gospel with those around us? As you spend time with young adults, talk about and pray for the individuals that you’ve had the opportunity to share the gospel with in the past few days.
I’m on a lot of planes and I have the opportunity to have conversations with people of all ages. Before each trip, I pray that the Lord will guide my conversation with the people near me. Sometimes it results in a gospel conversation. Sometimes it doesn’t. However, I’ve been able to talk about these conversations with the young adults in my group and ask them to pray for the people I’ve met.
2. Keep the gospel as the center of your teaching.
With your young adult ministry group, always make sure that your teaching points to the gospel. Helping young adults make the connection that all of scripture is God’s redemptive story is key! As a small group leader, discuss how the scriptures point back to Jesus and areas of grace, forgiveness, and mercy.
I often hear young adults say that they don’t understand how all the stories of scripture connect. However, I love seeing the lights come on when they begin to make the connections of how God’s story is so purposeful and uniquely intertwined.
We have to be careful to not make talking about the gospel as a replacement for actually sharing the gospel with others.
3. Pray a lot!
I find that when I pray for something, my heart suddenly becomes much more sensitive to that situation, person, or group. We have the joy of being able to pray specifically for those that are far from Christ with the young adults in our group. When we pray, we also begin to sense the urgency of the situation and the need to share the gospel. If we desire to see our groups deeply concerned about the lost, we have to lead them to pray!
A driving force behind personal evangelism is a sense of urgency. There are many that have never heard the message of Jesus. As young adult ministry leaders, let’s not be satisfied with a good ministry—let’s be ABOUT the gospel!
“For if I preach the gospel, I have no reason to boast, because an obligation is placed on me. And woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (I Corinthians 9:16, HCSB)
Mark Whitt is the Collegiate and Young Adult Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. Before joining Lifeway, he spent many years on the campus of Murray State University as a campus minister. Connect with Mark via Twitter.