The first core value that we have here, not just on our team, but in Assemblies of God youth ministry, is we want students to be gospel-centered.
So, what is the gospel?
The gospel, first and foremost according to the Word of God, is foolishness to those who are perishing. But to those who are being saved it is the power of God.
You know, sometimes we think in our culture that we need to make the gospel more relevant. Sometimes we think that we need to somehow come up with something other than the gospel. No, the Bible's clear the gospel to those who are being saved is the power of God. When we share the gospel, there is a power that is present. When we share the gospel, all of Heaven backs up the proclamation that God came as a person, and he lived a sinless life, and he died on the cross, and he was supernaturally resurrected from the grave. And because he was resurrected from the dead we have a living hope.
Jesus lived a life we did not live; it was sinless. He died a death we could not die. He paid the price for our sin, and He was resurrected on the third day.
The gospel is good news to those who are perishing. And when we preach the gospel, God comes and He breathes life over dead people, and He breathes life over dead places.
We are gospel-centered. Why?
It's not our job to become relevant to a culture. I'm not in any way saying that we shouldn't understand our times. But what I am saying is the gospel still works.
Now the gospel, though, I want you to think of it as a door. The gospel isn't just about when you die you go to heaven. Thank God for that. I thank God for the gift of salvation. But the gospel is so much more. Think about the gospel as a door. And once you walk through the door of salvation, because of the gospel, you discover how big the kingdom really is.
A lot of the primary issues our students deal with find their solution in the gospel. I'll give you one really quick: identity.
I think everybody's aware that this generation of students are wrestling with the issue of identity. It's not just sexual identity, it's not just political identity, it's "Who am I?". And, "How do I fit in?". It's an issue; it's a trend that students for generations have dealt with.
Well, the Bible tells us in Colossians chapter 3, "...for you died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God." What does that mean? That means that the Gospel not only is good news so that when we die we can spend eternity with God in heaven. The gospel also introduces ourselves to who God created us to be. Not only do we meet God because of the gospel we meet who He created us to be because of the gospel.
When we have students who are struggling with their identity, believe it or not, when we share the gospel with them there is a power that comes. The gospel - being centered on the gospel- is our first and primary core value in Assemblies of God youth ministry. The gospel has always worked and always will work.
So, I echo the words of the Apostle Paul, "preach the gospel in season and out of season." Whether that's in a church, in a youth ministry, or even more importantly, in our homes and when we're having conversation with this generation of amazing students that God has called us to serve.
God bless you. Let's be gospel-centered in all that we do.