Mobilizing Teens for the Cause of Christ
Dare 2 Share Live is a national, live, multi-site evangelism training and outreach event designed to spark a movement of gospel conversations across the country through teenagers.
In 2017, over 10,000 students and adult leaders attended Dare 2 Share Live from 68 sites. This year, on October 13, thousands of students will gather in local churches across the United States to be inspired and equipped to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, and then released – at the exact same time – to share the gospel in their neighborhoods and serve with love. Dare 2 Share LIVE will be broadcast from the flagship event in Denver, Colorado and streamed to over 95 satellite sites nationwide.
We caught up with Dare 2 Share Ministries founder, Greg Stier, to learn more about his heart for youth evangelism and Dare 2 Share Live 2018.
Greg, tell us a little about your background and how you developed a passion for youth and evangelism.
My earliest memories of growing up were of a lot of violence. Many of my family members were street fighters and bodybuilders. They loved to fight and, because we lived in the highest crime rate area of our city, violence and crime of all sorts was easy to come by. My family was in a downward spiral, but, on a dare, a preacher from the suburbs nicknamed “Yankee” (although he spoke with a Southern accent) reached out to the toughest one of my family members, my Uncle Jack.
Uncle Jack was a muscle-bound, street fighting bodybuilder who was full of rage and intensity. He had been in and out of jail – once for choking 2 cops out who were trying to arrest him on assault charges. Yankee knocked on Uncle Jack’s door and shared the Gospel with him. Uncle Jack, for the first time, really understood that Jesus came to die for sinners just like him. When Yankee asked, “Does that make sense?” He blurted out “Hell yeah!” That was his sinner’s prayer.
Yankee equipped Uncle Jack to share his faith and he began to tell anyone who would listen (and they usually listened because he was still pretty intimidating). In one month, he brought 250 people – mostly thugs, bodybuilders, and tough guys – out to Yankee’s church to hear the Gospel.
One by one my family members were radically transformed by the Gospel. Within a few years, most of my family were saved and on fire to share the Gospel.
And, Yankee had a huge passion to reach young people. At one point, his youth group numbered over 800 young people. He trained and equipped us on how to share the Gospel with our own peers. And, we did just that. There was an expectation in his youth group that, if you wanted to be a leader, you’d lead the way when it came to evangelism.
I was all in. As a fatherless teen from the inner city, I now had a “Heavenly Father.” As an aimless kid from the streets, I now had a purpose, to make and multiply disciples.
When I was fifteen, I began to call churches in our community to see if I could train their teens to share the Gospel. I finally got a hold of Clay Stone at Community Baptist Church and he invited me to go there that Wednesday night and equip his teens to share the Gospel. I rode my bike there and trained them all.
In a sense, I’ve been riding my bike ever since training teens from coast to coast (although now that bike comes in the form of an airplane!). In the last 27 years of Dare 2 Share, I’ve been blessed to equip over a million teenagers to share the Gospel. But it all started with my family being reached for Christ, and then equipped with the Gospel by a preacher who dared to reach into the city and share the hope of Christ with my family.
When you think about the early days of Dare 2 Share Ministries, how has your approach to engaging teens to share the gospel changed? How is it the same?
Early on, we just gave teenagers straight up questions to bring up with people. We used questions like, “Do you know you are going to heaven when you die?” And “If I could tell you in less than two minutes who you could know would that be good news?”
Today we train teenagers to have Gospel conversations. We equip them to “Ask, Admire and Admit”. We train them to ask questions to get to know someone and, at some point, to discover their spiritual background. Then, they seek to admire something about their belief system (like Paul did with the Athenian philosophers in Acts 17:22-24) And, finally, we train them to admit that the reason they are a Christian is that they are so messed up they needed Jesus to save them.
This approach has led to teenagers having many more Gospel conversations instead of traditional evangelistic presentations. We have discovered that this conversational approach has much more power with the average teenager today.
Also, we have changed the methodology of how we explain the Gospel. Before we used a GOSPEL acrostic that began in Genesis 3 with “God says everyone has sinned.” Now, our approach tells the whole story of the Bible from Genesis 1-Revelation 22. We still use an acrostic, but it tells the whole story of the Bible:
- God created us to be with him. Genesis 1,2
- Our sins separate us from God. Genesis 3
- Sins cannot be removed by good deeds. Genesis 4-Malachi 4
- Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. Matthew-Luke
- Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. John
- Life with Jesus starts now and lasts forever. Acts-Revelation
Some feel discipleship before evangelism is key – making sure teens are well-trained and well-versed in the gospel before they share their faith. Your perspective is different. Share what your experience has been regarding when teens are “ready” to share Jesus Christ.
I’m convinced we make a mistake when we make evangelism the 401 class instead of the 101 class.
The first sign of the indwelling Holy Spirit in Acts 2 is that the disciples’ tongues were set on fire with the Gospel and 3,000 were added to their numbers that day. When you think about it, water baptism was immediate and in public in that culture. It was your first evangelistic opportunity because you were proclaiming to everyone present that you believed in Jesus and were making it public!
The sooner our teens share their faith the sooner they die to themselves. In a sense, they are risking a social death every time they share the gospel. And, it’s this risk that produces spiritual growth. It makes them utterly dependent on the Holy Spirit and the Spirit produces His fruit in them and through them as a result.
Think about it this way. If you have a sponge and pour fresh milk into it until it is full, it will eventually spoil if it is not wrung out. In the same way, we must be constantly pouring the milk of God’s Word into our teenagers’ hearts and minds and then challenging them to wring out the Gospel to their friends. It will keep them from spoiling spiritually.
If you think about how Jesus discipled his disciples, it was far from academic. He took them on a 3 1/2 year mission trip and taught them truth along the way. What if we ran our youth ministries the same way? It would produce both numerical and spiritual growth in ways we never anticipated!
For youth who truly love Jesus, but are shy or nervous about sharing their faith, what’s one piece of advice you’d give them?
It’s good to feel nervous when it comes to sharing the Gospel because it makes you depend on the indwelling Holy Spirit. Learn how to pray and ask God to give you boldness because He will…and then just go for it!
For youth leaders who have struggled to get their young people excited about sharing their faith, what first step can they take towards building a gospel advancing youth ministry?
First of all, they need to understand that Gospel Advancing is not a model of ministry, but a mindset for ministry. We define a Gospel Advancing Ministry as one that “relentlessly pursues the mission of Jesus by relationally multiplying disciples resulting in radical Gospel transformation.” It is built on a philosophy of ministry that’s really 2,000 years old. Once they understand this they can take a look at the core elements of a Gospel Advancing ministry and see what is missing from their current strategy.
The 7 values of a Gospel Advancing ministry are:
- Intercessory prayer fuels it.
- Relational evangelism drives it.
- Leaders fully embrace and model it.
- A disciple multiplication strategy guides it.
- A bold vision focuses it.
- Biblical outcomes measure it.
- Ongoing programs reflect it.
There’s a simple 12 question diagnostic on gospeladvancing.org that youth leaders can take to discover which stage of Gospel Advancement they are in as a youth group. I encourage youth leaders to take it, see where they are at, and then take the recommended next steps to get to the next stage.
Progressing from stage to stage can be a challenging process that takes time and effort. But it’s worth it.
We see there’s a Dare2Share App available – how can churches and youth leaders use this resource to equip their teens?
This app has all of our core evangelism training for teenagers in the form of short videos. I encourage you to have all your teens download it and go through it with them one segment at a time. Teens will discover why they should share their faith in the “Why share?” Section and how to bring it up, explain it and wrap up the conversation in the “How 2 share” Section. Teenagers will also have access to free Gospel conversation-starting videos in the app and still pictures to upload on Instagram and Facebook.
One of the best parts of the Dare 2 Share app is the “How to reach different worldviews segment.” Here, teenagers learn how to reach out to their Mormon, Muslim, and Buddhist friends (along with ten other beliefs/worldviews.) It’s a great way to teach them apologetics.
Thank you, Greg, you’ve shared some amazing information with us. Lastly, how can youth and youth leaders best support Dare2Share and participate on October 13th?
On October 13th, we are praying that God will bring tens of thousands of on-fire teenagers gathering in 99 cities across the country to be mobilized to evangelize.
The Skit Guys, Shane and Shane, Flame, Zane Black, Kayla Thompson and myself will be inspiring and equipping teenagers from the host site in Denver. But, in every site, there will be live worship and a live pre-trained emcee/trainer who will train live from that site as well. It’s a 9 am West Coast start and noon East Coast start, so teens will be receiving the exact same training at the exact same time!
Also, teens will be able to download the Dare 2 Share Live app and be able to communicate with each other through it.
Youth leaders should go to www.dare2sharelive.org to find the closest site near them. They can click on that city and sign up right there.
The Gospel will be given clearly during Dare 2 Share Live so be sure to bring out unreached teens. And teens will be inspired, equipped and mobilized (that day) to share the Good News so bring out all your Christian teens as well.
Pray with us that God strikes a revival on October 13th by setting the alarm on your phone to 10:13 am. When it goes off, stop for a minute to pray for revival amongst the next generation to erupt as a result of Dare 2 Share Live.
Teammates! Be sure to check out Dare 2 Share LIVE, sign-up your youth ministry, download the available resources, and tune in on October 13th!