Archives For Greg Stier

Gospelize” is an old English word for evangelize. It’s a cool word with an old flair that engages our postmodern teenagers with the ancient quest of going into all the world to “make disciples” (Matthew 28:19.) If you really want to get your teenagers engaged in telling “the greatest story ever told that’s hardly ever told” (to quote my good friend Propaganda) then here are five simple action steps you can take right away in your youth ministry:

1. Spend more time in prayer.

For the last few years we’ve been programming into our Dare 2 Share weekend conferences an extended time in prayer. These mini concerts of prayer have been an exciting and somewhat surprising realization for me. I’ve realized that, given the right context, teenagers down deep inside really want to pray. What if you took 10 minutes of every meeting, maybe right in the middle of a worship set, and allowed teenagers to pray in small groups, silently and even had a few come up to an open mic? Or, like one youth leader in Chicago, get your teenagers in a big circle at the end of the…

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Old ChurchI’ve had the privilege of preaching at churches from coast to coast over the last 25 years of ministry. In the process I’ve talked to countless pastors, church leaders and youth pastors about how their churches are doing when it comes to growth and the reasons for it. On one side I’ve seen churches that thrive. They grow every year both deeper and wider.

These are not always the “mega-churches” but, in my book, they are the “mighty churches” because whether they number at 200 or 2,000 they are truly Gospel Advancing on every level. These churches have that “new believer smell” in that there’s always a little edginess in the foyer because it’s usually peppered with people who don’t necessarily look like they should be there.

After having co-planted and co-pastored a church for ten years in the Denver area and having preached in churches across the nation, quietly evaluating what makes them work (or not), here is my list of non-scientific reasons why some churches don’t grow.

1. They’re not friendly enough.

There have been far too many times I’ve walked through the foyer of a church and NOT been…

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“He had to go through Samaria on the way. Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime. Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’ He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.” The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?’ Jesus replied, ‘If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.’” John 4:4-10

Though most of our personal evangelism probably happens in the context of some kind of relationship (friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor, classmate, teammate, etc) there are countless opportunities we have throughout our lives to engage complete strangers with the good news, just like…

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CoffeeCurrently there are about 12,000 Starbucks stores across the United States.* These 12,000 stores are strategically located in high end strip malls, busy corners and Target Store entrances. They are designed to draw us in and give us the coffee (and snacks and atmosphere and, did I say coffee?) we love.

Starbucks has done the best job of any coffee company in existence of penetrating the market and saturating the nation. Their green and white circle sign of deliciousness draws us weary travelers in like a bee to a honey flavored Frappuccino (is there such a drink? Just wait and I’m sure there will be!)

So how can Starbucks saturate the physical cravings of decaffeinated Americans and the church cannot satisfy the spiritual thirst of Americans with the living water? After all, there are only 12,000 Starbucks coffee shops in the United States and there are over 300,000 Protestant churches! That’s right! We outnumber Starbucks by 25 to 1!

So, with this as a backdrop, here’s what Starbucks can teach the Church when it comes to evangelism:

1. Train more “Baristas” to serve excellent drinks consistently.

Too many times the pastor is the only Barista…

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I am so excited to announce the release of our brand new evangelistic app called “Life in 6 Words.” Based on the Gospel video produced by Dare 2 Share and delivered with astonishing excellence by Propaganda, this app is simple, clear and very easy to use.How it works is simple. You ask someone how they would describe their life in 6 words and then show them the app. There’s a list of 20 words for them to choose from that range from “adventure” to “broken” to “money” to “fun.” Once they choose their six words they push “Next” on the screen and their words appear in the order they pushed them.Then you can ask them why they chose those particular words. This is a great opportunity to listen to them deeply and get to know them more.Finally you ask them if they’d be interested in how the best selling book of all time might describe their lives in six words? If they say yes you swipe through six beautifully illustrated screens with six words and six sentences (based on Dare 2 Share’s GOSPEL acrostic as well as…

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Heat“I contend for this, that to gospelize a man is the greatest miracle in the world. All the other miracles are wrapped up in this one. To gospelize a man, or, in other words, to convert him, is a greater work than to open the eyes of the blind.” Charles Spurgeon

Gospelize” is an old English word for “evangelize” (but just sounds way cooler!)

So how can you gospelize your 2015? Here are 5 quick ideas:

1. Pray for an opportunity everyday to share your faith! You’ll be shocked how many opportunities God brings your way!

2. Learn how to ask, admire and admit. Ask great questions (moving from everyday topics to spiritual ones), admire what you can about what they believe and admit the reason you’re a Christian is that you needed someone to rescue you spiritually.

3. Carry Gospel tracts with you or Life in 6 Words cards and use them when you leave a tip at a restaurant (and tip really big!) Here’s another blog I wrote called “10 tips on tipping if you’re a Christian.”

4. Ask the server at the restaurant you often go to or barista at the coffee…

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Mountain MenAs I type these words I’m at a mountain retreat with 10 other youth ministry leaders from around the nation. We are collaborating around a vision that we pray will result in every teenager in America engaged in a Gospel conversation with a Christian peer. To accomplish this we need to inspire, equip and deploy at least 30,000 churches/youth ministries to join us in this quest.

That’s right 30,000!

Humanly speaking this big vision seems well beyond our capacity to achieve. But we are convinced that, through God’s strength and the power of collaboration, it can be done.

As we brainstorm and work together to synergize our efforts toward this exciting vision there are certain realities I’m discovering anew about the power of collaborating for the Gospel.

So, whether you’re on a church staff that is collaborating to reach your community for Christ or a youth ministry network that is brainstorming how to reach the teens of your city for Jesus here are four principles of Gospel advancing collaboration that may help:

1. It is best when bold.

Bold vision fosters strong collaboration. As a matter of fact the bigger and bolder the vision the more…

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1. Because you’re doing it for them.

Think “outreach” in youth ministry and we automatically think “event.” The words go together like “dodge” and “ball“. The challenge is that our teenagers themselves are our biggest outreach “event“. Because the average teenager has around 400 online and face-to-face friends they must be inspired, equipped and unleashed to engage them in Gospel conversations. Think about that for a moment, the average teenager has more friends than the average youth room can hold! But we have an almost irrepressible appetite for doing outreach events instead of mobilizing our teenagers to be the outreach event.

To make the switch we must turn from quarterbacks to coaches. Instead of just “Hey kids bring your friends out and watch me throw the touchdown throw of salvation in their lives” we must equip them to bring the “J” word up with their own peers. Of course, outreach events are fine and good and needed from time to time. But if they are replacing, rather than enhancing, our teenagers’ personal evangelism efforts then they are limiting our true outreach effectiveness.

2. They don’t understand the urgency.

When’s the last time you talked about the reality of hell with your teenagers? Yes,…

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old churchAs a “traveling evangelist” I’ve had the privilege of preaching in churches from coast to coast. And, until I have the microphone on over my ear, most people have no clue that I’ll be the preacher that day, so most treat me like a first time visitor. Over the course of many years of visiting churches I have had great experiences as a guest along with some not-so-great ones.

And, lately, my trips to new churches have accelerated in my own city. I hate to use the term “church shopping” but that’s what we’ve been doing as a family for the last several months. The church we’ve been attending as a family for several years is a great one but it’s a 35 minute drive away. So my wife and I decided in September to start looking for a home church in the Arvada area. All the churches we have visited so far have been pretty good.

As a result of my visits to churches over the last several years and, with my family, over the last few months, I did notice some things about how first time visitors must feel when…

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MistakesOver the last two plus decades I’ve had the privilege of engaging thousands of youth leaders in conversations about the subject of outreach and evangelism. During that time I’ve gathered a ton of great thoughts and ideas from youth leaders in the trenches when it comes to reaching out to the next generation with the good news. Some youth leaders are killing it when it comes to advancing the good news among teenagers in their communities.

Sadly, I’ve also witnessed a pattern of mistakes and missteps in the youth ministry world when it comes to outreach. I’ve boiled them down to 5…

1. Forgetting to saturate their outreach efforts in prayer

Jesus set the pattern for saturating outreaches in prayer. Mark 1:35-39 reminds us of this, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for you!’Jesus replied, ‘Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.’ So…

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YouthWe live in a church culture where some quadrants are starting to second guess the value of youth ministry. Books, articles and blogs have been written decrying its effectiveness and calling out for action steps that range from small tweaks to a complete trashing of it.

And, yes, if we’re honest, we all know down deep inside that something is wrong. Teenagers are leaving the church before and after they graduate. As Mike Yaconelli, one of the founders of Youth Specialties, said back in the day, the typical youth group has less seniors than juniors, less juniors than sophomores and less sophomores than freshman. In the eleven years since Mike went to be with Lord teenagers have become even busier and more distracted by technology and less impressed with the fun and flash of typical youth ministry programming.

Something needs to be done for sure. Systemic change needs to happen. But I want to challenge you to take giving up on youth ministry altogether off the table of options. Here are four reasons why I’m not giving up on youth ministry:

1. It gives a safe place for broken teenagers to be healed.

There are…

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LightbulbA lightbulb can brighten up a dark room. A laser can cut through steel. Lightbulbs disperse soft light in every direction for a short distance. Lasers can only be focused in a single direction but, theoretically, one beam can travel infinitely.

In the same way your ministry is either a laser or a lightbulb.

After his resurrection Jesus gave his disciples a laser-like focus to “go and make disciples of all nations….” (Matthew 28:19.) The book of Acts is the working out of this mission in real and tangible ways. Yes, part of this disciple making process was gathering together on a regular basis (Acts 2:42) and prioritizing key values Acts 6:4) but the pulsating heart of the early church was active disciple making. The apostles were laser like in their focus. As a result the church exploded from Jerusalem to Rome in less than 30 years.

What does this have to do with your ministry? Plenty!

There are far too many nice, little 60 watt ministries that do nice, little 60 watt activities and get nice, little 60 watt results. These ministries shine some semblance of light but usually it can’t be seen outside the…

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