The gospel is not merely a formula for salvation. We need to see our mission as more than merely getting students to understand and believe the gospel. Creation → Fall → Redemption → Restoration. The gospel is not a ticket out of this world but an invitation to start engaging the world in a meaningful and purposeful way. Through the gospel, God invites students to participate in His plan for the world.
What is the gospel? Do your students see the gospel as good news? Or do they see it as good advice?
We all need good advice in our lives, but it’s not the same as good news. Good news changes everything. The gospel is bigger, deeper, and further reaching than we or our students often realize. It has an impact on every area of life.
Here are three ways you can encourage gospel understanding in your ministry:
- Have personal gospel discussions. Ensure that your students know why it is good news and that they believe it. What if you set a goal to simply have a personal conversation with each student in your group over the course of the next year in which you ask them, “What is the gospel?” You might be surprised at the answers you get and if there is anything we can’t afford for our students to be mistaken about, it is the good news of Jesus Christ. If your group is too big for you to personally have such conversations, consider recruiting other faithful adult leaders who can join you in this endeavor.
- Teach your students to preach the gospel to themselves. It is crucial that we help our students see the far reaching implications of the gospel. It is so much more than information that gets us to heaven, it is good news that should reframe the Christ follower’s entire perspective on all life. Help your students understand how the good news about Jesus should shape how they view themselves and how they view the people around them. For instance, the gospel tells us that God has chosen us and adopted us as His Children–that means we are loved and valued by our creator. Furthermore, the fact that God has made all people in His image tells us that all people matter to Him and should matter to us as well.
- Challenge your students to live like the gospel is true. If the gospel really is the best news the world has ever received, then those who have received it will never be the same. The gospel will not only shape our thinking but also our behavior. Help your students see how everything they do each day is related to the gospel. How should the good news of Jesus shape how they interact with their parents or caretakers, how they apply themselves in their schoolwork, and how they spend their free time? The implications are there, they just need you to help them see those implications.