There are about one billion young people in the world today between the ages 12-19. That's a lot of teenagers! How can all of them be reached with the Gospel? I'm convinced there is a way.
Before I dive into the plan, I want to define what I mean by the word "reached." I mean every teenager having the opportunity to hear, understand and respond to the Gospel as shared by a friend.
First of all they must hear it. For them to be reached the message of the Gospel must be clearly communicated with words. It can't be communicated through osmosis or caught like a cold. Words are necessary.
Secondly, it must be understood. This implies conversation. In some cultures this communication process will take longer than others. But whatever the culture the core message of Christianity must be understood.
Thirdly, it must be responded to. Those hearing it must have an opportunity to say "yes" to Jesus. Perhaps they'll say "no" or "I'm not quite ready" but they need to be given the opportunity of saying "Yes, I'm ready to put my faith in Jesus right now!"
To reach one billion teenagers by giving them the chance to hear, understand and respond to the Gospel may seem like a daunting task but I believe that it can be done. Here's how...
1. The Church must be energized.
There are approximately 5 million churches worldwide. In the next 10 years some project the growth to 10 million global churches. The infrastructure to reach these teenagers is already in place. And, if you count the many youth-focused, Gospel Advancing para-church organizations around the world, you begin to realize that the opportunity to reach every teen everywhere is, with God's help, doable.
Local churches around the world can be energized through a call to prayer, evangelism and disciple multiplication. They must be encouraged and equipped to do what it takes to reach as many people as possible as effectively as possible as soon as possible.
To help with this Dare 2 Share has developed a website that helps churches, youth ministries and para-church organizations apply the 7 values of a Gospel Advancing, Disciple multiplying ministry: Gospeladvancing.com. Go there, take the diagnostic and see how you rate when it comes to having a fully energized/Gospelized ministry.
2. The youth must be mobilized.
Every Great Awakening in the history of the United States has had teenagers on the leading edge. Why wouldn't the Church seize the youthful excitment and activist edge of teenagers and point them toward the fulfillment of the greatest cause ever...making and multiplying disicples!
Those who overlook teenagers as a potential powerhouse when it comes to advancing the Gospel do so to their own shame. Jesus chose mostly teenagers to be his followers. If Jesus saw the potential of teenagers then maybe we should too.
Young people have launched movements, won wars, triggered revolutions and overthrown tyrants. Young people can be a part of launching a global revival as well!
3. Their world must be Gospelized.
Teenagers come to Christ quicker and spread the Gospel faster than adults. They can utilize their social media channels to spread the Gospel to their feeds and their friends.
The average teenager has over 400 online and face-to-face friends. If they can learn how to engage (not enrage) their peers in a Gospel conversation then God can use them to impact their world with the Good News.