How Youth Ministry Attracts Kids to Jesus

By Ashley Denton,

Jesus Christ appeals to every kind of person. The young, the old, the fisherman, the tax collector, the scribe, the rich, the blind beggar, Mary and Martha, and the woman caught in adultery; all heard him and were drawn to him. One reason people are drawn to Jesus is because we can relate with him.

Youth Ministry Helps Kids Relate to Jesus

Jesus knows what it is like to grow up. He was a baby, a boy, a teenager, and a mature adult. He worked in his father’s shop just like boys today learn from their dad or grandfather how to fix a car, work with tools, or plant a garden. Just like adolescents today have to patiently study in school, learn life skills, and wait to set sail out into the world on their own, Jesus spent many years in Nazareth as an adolescent before his official ministry was launched. We need to remember that although Jesus was fully God, he was also fully human.

Maybe this is exactly why young people are so drawn to Jesus: Because he can relate with them on a human level. Most people these days make a decision to follow Christ between the ages of about 12-20. It is well observed that after this, few people come to Christ. In those adolescent years, kids are asking what the young man asked Jesus: “Good Master, what do I need to do to inherit eternal life?”

It Is Natural & Logical for Young People to be Drawn to Jesus

The more I work with young people I believe that it is natural, logical, and normal for young people to be attracted to Jesus. By painting an accurate picture of the person of Christ to young people, most young people won’t be able to resist him. Instead, they will be stunned by him and will want nothing else than to let go of their fear and pride, and do what he is calling them to do: turn away from their sin and surrender to him in love and obedience.

Just as a magnet naturally moves metal, as the compass needle points to the north or south pole, it is inevitable that young will be attracted to Jesus if introduced to him accurately. A normal young person can only resist Jesus if he is misrepresented or if they are extremely dulled by the distractions of the world to the point where they are deaf to his message.

To become a follower of Jesus is not an unusual, or atypical experience. It is completely normal. It’s as natural as a flower opening up under the warm rays of the April sun, or for a bird to sing at mating time.

Ironically the Spiritual Harvest Time Isn't at the End of Life but More at the Beginning

Parents, teachers, pastors, and youth workers should expect young people to want to become loyal followers of Jesus before they reach their twenties. It should be considered a strange, abnormal, almost unexplainable, thing if a boy or girl should grow up (especially in Christian families, churches, and youth groups) and not become a follower of Christ. There is a harvest time in the spiritual realm, and that harvest time is not primarily at the end of the season (i.e. old age), when the grain is matured, or like an ear of corn fully ripe at the end of the season. The spiritual harvest time for people is not when they are ready to pass away, instead it is more toward the other end of life, when they are young. The greatest harvest time seems to be when the eager, energetic young soul is excited to ask the question, “Lord what will you have me to do?” and when she has the courage to respond to Christ’s call by saying, “Here I am Lord, send me.”

If more people began to see early conversion of young people as the normal expected outcome of youth evangelism, then churches would be giving more attention to student ministry. Yet the perspective of the average adult is that it is normal for all young people to “sow their wild oats.” Too many adults believe that the average young person is irresponsible, thoughtless, and not interested in spiritual realities. That could not be further from the truth.

I want to remind those who work with students, that when we winsomely present Jesus to young people, the natural, almost inevitable response is to be drawn to him. It is truly abnormal and unnatural for young people to reject the Savior of the world when they are given an accurate picture of him.

What Do You Want to Do With This?

  1. What are some reasons why young people are especially attracted to him?
  2. Why do you think it is perfectly natural and normal for young people to follow of Jesus?
  3. How might your student ministry leadership team be motivated by constant reminders that the normal response to Jesus if given an accurate picture of him is to be attracted to him?

This post is adapted from my recent revision of Francis Clark’s book, newly titled: The Personality of Jesus: How to Introduce Young People to Jesus and Help Them Grow in their Faith.

-Ashley