The simple truth of the gospel does not change—Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died as a sacrifice so that we might be put in right relationship with God. Though this truth is timeless, we must always evaluate the presentation of that truth to make sure it’s connecting in a culturally relevant way.
There are a few principles we’ve found to be helpful:
- Evangelize in the context of relationships. Young adults have seen countless Christian leaders fall due to moral indiscretion. They’ve observed churches who seem more concerned about adding members than changing the world. And they’re jaded and cynical because of it. Instead of entering the relationship to convince, go in with a loving and listening attitude. Listen to their story. Live life alongside them. Be a true friend. And eventually, you will have the opportunity to share Christ. Young adults are intensely interested in spiritual matters. The question is whether or not they trust you enough to hear about them from you.
- Evangelize in the context of discipleship. One of the most fascinating things we found in our research is that young adults, both inside and outside of the church, were interested in studying the Bible. If you are committed in your ministry to studying the Bible in a deep, engaging, and transformative way, you might look around and see that evangelism is happening in your efforts.
- Evangelize in the context of responsibility. Many churches are finding that the most effective way to reach unchurched young adults is to give them an opportunity to serve alongside Christians. Because young adults, in and out of the church, are vitally concerned about changing the world, why not give them all the opportunity to do so? Invite lost friends to help at the Habitat build. Or to clean up a river. Or to wash cars in the community. Many people are falling in love with Jesus with a paintbrush in their hand.
The best advice, though, is simply to pursue an atmosphere of authentic love in your ministry. Don’t treat young adults like projects; embrace them as friends and watch the gospel in action.
Excerpt from Context: Engaging the Young Adults of Your Community, Session 3 “Community” (Nashville, LifeWay Press, 2009), 46. This resource is available as a FREE ebook download. Click here to get the book!