Spreading the Gospel - Shaping Ministry to Youth, Young Adults, and Their Families, Part 7
At one point our Congregational Affirmation of Faith states that “God has laid upon the members of the local church the primary task of giving the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world.” As a church, we want to advance the kingdom of God through the gospel of Jesus. That’s no less true for our youth or young adult members. In fact, young people are often well positioned to proclaim the gospel because of their network of friends, their energy, and their bent for risk-taking and adventure. We want to fan that spark into a flame; and so, another pillar of ours envisions youth and young adults...
...Spreading the Gospel: We want to empower young people and their parents and the church to love all peoples by speaking the gospel boldly and supporting its spread in our neighborhoods and to the nations.
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel...” (Mk.16:15).
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1Pe.2:9).
For anything at all to be truly “Christian,” it will hope to spread the good news about Jesus and his ministry in some way, shape, or form. Without the so-called “Great Commission,” there really is no Christianity. And without the gospel, there really is no Great Commission. So, we want to encourage every member of the church, young or old, to be intentional about sharing the news about Jesus’ perfect life, sacrificial death, resurrection, ascension, and eventual return. Youth and young adult Christians, just like adult Christians, have been chosen to “proclaim the excellencies” of the One who plucked them out of darkness and planted them into his light... and we want to support that with whatever shape our ministry to youth and young adults might take.
We hope they are zealous for good works. We hope they are passionate about serving their neighborhoods and their cities. We hope they will be quick to show concern for those struggling to make ends meet. We hope they will look beyond their own needs to the interests of others. All of that is living which accords with the gospel and reflects maturity. But, in the end, none of that is the gospel itself. The gospel is information. It’s very good news about Jesus, who is God, who became a man some 2000 years ago, who lived a sinless life on behalf of his people, who died a sacrificial, sin-atoning, divine-wrath-bearing death in the place of his people, who was raised from the dead, who ascended into Heaven, and who will come back again one day to gather his people, judge the world, and establish a New Earth on which he and his people will live together for all eternity. The gospel is good news, that if believed, “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Ro.1:16). That’s what we want our young people to know, love, live in light of, and proclaim.