This is part 5 of a 5 part series

We have come to the end of my regrets as a youth pastor. I have shared my regrets with bathing suit policies, empowering women leaders, parent ministry and not sharing the stage as much as I had wished. Today’s I close this series on a heart check for all of us.

I regret not focusing on practical evangelism and apologetics 

I know I might sound like the old guy yelling at the next generation but hear me out. My youth pastor taught me how to share my testimony, explain the gospel, and how to defend my faith, and I have used all those tools to this day. It is really easy to fall into moralism or even self-help psychology in youth ministry. We talk about doing this, don’t do this, and/ or play as a spiritual therapist to students while we walk with them in their issues. Hear me out, we should preach God’s commands from scripture and we should pastor our students through the difficult adolescent years, but let’s make sure that a “saved” student knows what they are saved from and how to tell others about it. 

Gen Z is the first generation to have social media in middle school. They have so many voices vying for their attention and we need to give them the tools to not only love and glorify God but to be able to doubt their doubts when those voices challenge them. I didn’t do this enough. We only evangelized as a youth group when we were overseas on a mission trip. I taught kids to share their testimony when they got baptized, but I regret not teaching them more on how to bring it up practically in their everyday lives. They know Jesus loves them, but do they know how to defend the historical Jesus we have written down in antiquities? I don’t know.

Students only need the gospel to be saved. My friends, keep preaching the gospel! However, let’s also help pack the bags alongside their parents as we prepare to send them off to the world when they graduate with the tools they need to know and defend their faith. Let us encourage them to lead others to Jesus without the help of their youth pastor or small group leader.

Bonus: I regret idolizing big events. I romanticized them and wish I didn’t. Kids are impacted by relationships, not big shows. However, I am not ready to talk about that quite yet. I still want you to invite me to speak at your next D-Now. 

Praying you learn from my regrets. I am rooting for you from the other side. I promise to not scoff at all the pizza, inflatable llamas, and other weird purchases my youth pastor makes. I support it! 

Some questions to consider:
What pathways have you created for students to practice sharing their faith in their local community? 

Do your students know how to effectively share their testimony to their peers?

When pressed, do you feel like your students could defend the basic tenets of the gospel? Do you feel like your students have an answer to the common objections to their faith?

Frank Gil

My name is Frank. I once ran over a possum.
If you purchase my products, your students will think you are awesome!

Find Frank’s DYM resources here!