“So what do you do about gospel fatigue?” The question rang out like a resounding gong through the silence of the room, and I struggled to compose myself to give an answer to his question. A million questions immediately flooded my heart, and the implications of what had been asked seemed to form one of the largest waving red flags that I had ever seen.
The question came toward the end of a conference session I was teaching called The Art Of The Invitation in which I encourage pastors toward great intentionality in preparing for, delivering, and following up after invitations on a weekly basis. I understood the context from which his question came, but the simple fact is that as pastors, the moment that we believe the gospel to be uninteresting, outdated, overplayed, or whatever else you could insert there, we are in grave danger of straying from our call. Ultimately, the bedrock foundation of everything we believe as Christians is the gospel, and without this truth everything we believe as Christians falls apart. You can’t offer salvation to a people who are hopelessly separated from God, and without Jesus, we are exactly that. And you can’t preach forgiveness of sins without someone to pay for those sins, and Jesus is exactly that. The gospel is woven through every word of scripture as the word points us to Christ, so the question is, how do we deliver the message that God has given us with passion and purpose? I would argue that the reason anyone would ever worry about “gospel fatigue” is not because the gospel loses its luster with repeated use, but because communicators are focusing on everything but the gospel to draw people and simply addressing the gospel as a sort of obligatory afterthought. Student pastors around the country are blitzing their social media accounts with winter retreat, dodgeball, free pizza, and christmas party promotions and never making mention of Jesus. Students are drawn in by events, prizes, and food, entertained by games, worship, and messages on How Far Is Too Far, and then at the very end, every once in awhile, there is the 2 minute run down of the gospel and a glancing effort to offer salvation to any who haven’t already opened up their instagram feed to catch up on what they missed in the last 30 minutes.
A wise man told me early on in my ministry that “what we win them with, we win them to.” This has never been more true for me than right now! Reader, Student Pastor, please hear my plea. Make a daily effort to read the scriptures through the lense of the gospel. Let the message of Christ come alive once more in your heart and mind, and as you are re-awakened to the beauty and all encompassing nature of this message, begin again to build your ministry around the gospel. Show your students how all of the Old Testament points to the gospel, how the gospels so beautifully tell the story of Christ and His work, and how the letters proclaim the power of the gospel to redeem the lost and build up the church. Let your students encounter the power of the gospel as you teach them to turn the message out to their friends. Celebrate intentionally each time the story of Christ changes a life among your flock. Teach them to fall passionately in love with God as they lean into what it means to wipe away worries of provision and purpose while following His plan.
My friends, the gospel never has been, and never will be in danger of being boring. It is salvation, it is life change, it is the root of Christianity. Your job is to present it, and make sure that YOU are doing the message justice as you present it.
This post was written by John Paul Basham, Student Ministry Specialist