For the Leader
Veteran youth leader and educator Dave Rahn led a research team on a two-year mission to discover why some youth groups are so effective at evangelism. They discovered several keys that unlock teenagers' deep need for God and motivate them to share Christ's love with others. Teenagers who effectively evangelize are different from their peers in three ways-they pray more often, invite more often, and tell others about Jesus more often. No earthshaking surprises here . . . but isn't it convicting when painstaking research supports and fuels what we know to be true experientially? If you set out to create a job description for a spiritually mature young person, these three disciplines could form its core. Pray-It makes sense that teenagers who spend the most time praying for their friends see a greater number of them come to Christ. Invite-The evangelistically effective teenagers in Rahn's study were more likely than an average Christian teenager to invite friends to places (large group meetings and small cell gatherings) and conversations (with adult Christians and themselves) where they're likely to hear the gospel. And these teenagers say they feel sure that their invited friend will enjoy what happens during the meeting or conversation. Tell it-Teenagers who are effective evangelizers simply tell others the gospel story, and their own faith story, more frequently than their Christian peers. In baseball-ese, they hit more home runs because they're getting more at-bats. Use these ideas to help teenagers understand their deep need for God-and motivate them to recognize this need in others as they seek to share Jesus with their friends. Key Scriptures
To see what the Bible says about our need for God, read these passages: Ecclesiastes 2:10-11
A Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
Spiritual growth isn't like Sunday school: You don't automatically graduate to the next level just because you get older. Help your teenagers answer the question: "How badly do you want it?" Supplies:
Bibles, paper, crayon
Time: about 30 minutes
Every Breath I Take
Ask teenagers to find partners, then sit facing each other. Say: Some Asian pearl divers can hold their breath for more than two minutes. I'd like to know if anyone in our group can equal that performance. Explain that each group member will be both a participant and a referee. When you give the signal, everyone should take the deepest breath possible. The first person in each pair who gasps for air will wait for his or her partner to gasp for air, then raise that partner's hand. Declare the champion breath-holder your group's Last-Gasp Leader. Immediately interview the champ, asking rapid-fire, open-ended questions that will be hard for the panting person to answer, such as: How do you feel?
To what do you attribute your superior lung power?
How will you train for a rematch?
Combine pairs to create foursomes and discuss:
How were your thoughts and feelings when you finished this activity different from the thoughts and feelings you had when you started? What went through your mind just before you gasped for air?
When were you in a real-life situation where you couldn't breathe? Describe it. Say: When we can't breathe, getting our next breath is top priority. We want it. We'll claw and fight for it. We hunger and thirst for it. Ask foursomes to read Matthew 5:6 in their groups and discuss: Do I hunger for righteousness like I hungered for air? Why or why not? If I hungered for righteousness, what would that look like? What would change in my life? Do I feel as desperate for God in my life as I feel for air? How is my need for God like or unlike my need for air?
Think about the promise that comes with hungering and thirsting for righteousness-what does that mean to you? Photo Gallery
Give everyone paper and crayons. Give teenagers five minutes to draw a picture of God. When time has elapsed, ask teenagers to...