What is salvation all about? What does it mean to be saved? What impact does Jesus dying on the cross mean for me? Who is this Jesus and what did He ever do for me? Depending on the maturity of your youth, their answers might vary. For some of our youth groups, most have been brought up knowing about Jesus and the message of salvation. For others, Jesus might be a foreign concept, less well known than Ronald McDonald! I remember doing a Bible study series focusing on growing in Christ called "Fruit of the Spirit" and received so much positive response and life changing testimonies that I decided to take a step back and do one specifically as an evangelistic study. I looked at the success of the Alpha course and thought, hey, I'm wondering if a Bible study series similar to that could be developed just for a more seeker sensitive audience.
But how do we describe salvation to someone who has never heard it before?
My next thought was how to introduce the concept of salvation to youth that have probably never heard it before. I didn't want to rehash “ The Four Spiritual Laws”. I wanted to create something youth could identify with and talk to their friends about. Something I could put in their hands so that as they have heard and received the good news, they can now tell their friends and take part in God's command to “make disciples of every nation”. Every nation. That's when it struck me. What better way what better way to introduce the message of Salvation by relating it with the largest international sporting event in history - the Olympic Games! There is probably no other sporting event more universal than the Olympics. Just a little history lesson, the founder of the modern Olympic Games was Baron Pierre de Coubertin. His vision was to create a sporting event where the most important thing in is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well. Yeah. When I read that, my mind was blown away at how much that was like our Christian walk. Our Christian walk is not so much about the end of it, as much as it is growing in intimacy, step by step, learning to love God more, struggling with our flesh and be-ing a better testimony of God's goodness in our lives. We don't need to be better than the person sitting in the next pew, we just need to participate in God's plan for us and be faithful to our calling. I had to find out more.
I found out that Coubertin also came up with the symbol of the Olympic Games. The Olympic symbol, consists of five intertwined rings and represents the unity of the five inhabited continents of the world: Africa, America (considering North and South America as a single continent), Asia, Europe and Oceania (including Australia). The rings - blue, yellow, black, green, and red - over a white field forms the Olympic flag. It also represents the five parts of the world which now are won over to Olympism and willing to accept healthy competition. Another reason these colors were chosen was that every nation had at least one of them on its national flag. Amazing stuff! Not only does Christ's death on the cross unite us as a body, but it includes the whole world as part of God's complete plan of redemption for us. I thought a little deeper and realised that each of the colors on the Olympic Symbol relates to part of God's Salvation plan. Black represents our sin, red represents Christ's blood which was shed on the cross, white represents the cleansing we now have through His death and resurrection, green represents our continuing growth and sanctification, blue represents the baptism we receive and the Holy Spirit as our helper, and yellow represents our heavenly destination and reward.
These lessons are designed to be a roadmap to Salvation and are best done with the pre-believing friends of your youth or Christians who are new to the faith. You may also wish to have more mature Christians use this study as a tool to share the Good News to their friends and loved ones.
It is my prayer that God might do a mighty work in your midst and call many who are strangers to and far away from God into a realization of the extent of God's love for them and to take that step of faith into god's amazing plan for their lives.