This is my 30th year in youth ministry. I founded Dare 2 Share in 1991 with the goal of reaching the next generation with the hope of Jesus. Since then, we’ve been blessed by God to inspire, equip and mobilize millions of teenagers worldwide through our catalytic events and Gospel advancing resources.
I’m often asked, “Why do you focus on reaching teenagers?” I think the assumption by most is that by my stage of life I should settle in to pastoring a church somewhere or being a “real evangelist” who reaches adults with the Gospel. While both of those options are good callings, neither is my calling.
When I get asked the question, “Why teenagers?” My answer is always the same: because they are the most strategic age group to reach and mobilize for Jesus. Here are 3 HUGE reasons we should strategically focus on reaching teenagers for Christ:
(1) Teenagers come to Christ quicker than adults. According to Shane Pruitt, Director of Next Generation Evangelism for the North American Mission Board, 77% of those who trust in Jesus do so before the age of 18, while only 5% of those who become Christians do so after the age of 30. In the words of my grandpa, “We got to get the gettin’ while the gettin’s good!”
(2) Teenagers can spread the Gospel farther and faster than adults. The average teenager has well over 400 online and face-to-face friends. Because teenagers have huge influence over their peers they can use this social media channels to advance the message of Jesus in ways we adults never even dreamed of.
(3) Every major spiritual awakening in US history has had teenagers on the leading edge of that awakening. From the 1st Great Awakening in the 1700’s when Jonathan Edwards wrote, “The revival has been chiefly amongst the young” to the Jesus Movement of the 1970’s where a teen and twentysomething movement swept California and, then, the nation, young people have led the way for the spiritual revitalization of the church and the advancement of the Gospel.
I believe that, if the church focuses on reaching, discipling and mobilizing teenagers to advance the Gospel as a strategic priority, then it will transform our churches from the inside out. On-fire-for-Christ teenagers can, like a thermostat, set the spiritual temperature for the entire church. Revival that starts in the youth room soon spreads to the church auditorium.
Think about this: There are currently just over one billion teenagers worldwide. Generation Z, as they have been called, is the largest generation in the history of the world! A billion is a huge number. If you were to take one billion one dollar bills and stack them one on top of each other, that stack would extend 67.9 miles into the sky, far higher than the highest clouds in our atmosphere!s!
So how do we reach them? We must energize the church to mobilize youth so that they can “gospelize” their world! I won’t stop until every teen everywhere hears the Gospel from a friend. And I am inviting you to join me in this quest. Whether you’re a teenager, parent, youth leader, pastor or concerned Christian adult, join me.
Go to dare2share.org to learn how to get started.