DYM

 

Tag Archives | evangelism

First 2 Years: Christian Clubs

CO Blog

A few years ago we got frustrated with the status of some of our Christian clubs. It seems like they had just turned into a group of high school students that met on Wednesdays to eat pizza and listen to a 10-minute talk. The clubs rarely saw any growth and weren’t really known for anything but being pretty cliquey. So about a year ago, we decided to ramp up our campus outreach efforts and work more directly with the student-led clubs. What this meant was we needed to push them to fulfill more purposes of the Church on their campuses. Here are a few things that have happened:

Worship- About 3 times a semester, a few of the local clubs put together a worship lunch instead of their normal program. They get a few singers, a guitar player or two, and lead their students to encounter the Lord during their break. They do such a great job! One club even puts together a PowerPoint with all of the lyrics!

Serving- We have had clubs looking for the specific needs of their school and the unique ways that they can serve. One of our clubs (named Cookies and Christ) made the entire football team cookies and gave them out to each player in a bag with their name and jersey number on it right before a big game. We had another school serve their ASB team during the busyness of the homecoming season. We also did a sticky note project at a ton of our local schools. It has been fun to see what they come up with!

Evangelism- We want our Christian club leaders to teach their students how to evangelize at their school. I think too often we just say to our students, “go evangelize,” but they don’t really know what to do with that. So empowering our club leaders to empower their clubs allows for some really cool life change. They have put a focus on relational evangelism this year. The results have been huge–one our clubs has even doubled in numbers!

What are the clubs at your local school doing that are breaking the norm?

Colton [Email||Twitter]

Tags: , , , , ,

0

How To Reach “That Kid” In Your Ministry

I know you know who I am talking about when I say, “That kid” in your youth ministry. Am I right? They come but you sort of don’t know why. They sit in the back, on their phone and seem to not pay attention. You are usually surrounded by the students who come all the time because they actually engage in conversation so you sped most of your time with them, not really paying attention to “That kid” who doesn’t seem to want to be there anyways. I used to (and still sometimes catch myself) do this all of the time. But I read this story about Jesus and it convicted me so I have been trying to make it a point to reach out to “that kid” because they need Jesus just as much as I do.

You know the story of Zacchaeus. The regions tax collector and was hated among the people. He was on the outside, not in the “in crowd”, not in the religious know. People knew he was there but did not engage him in conversation. Yet, he was still there and people didn’t know why. He just wanted to see Jesus. He was short so he climbed a tree to see Jesus. What Jesus did next is a lesson we all can learn in youth ministry about those kids who are “that kid” in the back and how to react to them:

Notice them.- 5 When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. 

  • Jesus interacted with them. He was surrounded by a huge crowd yet he took the time to stop and engage in a conversation with him. He need to do the same. Trust me, I know its way easier to talk to the students you already have a relationship with. But if we are to follow Jesus and how he interacted with the fringe people, we need to be intentional with knowing them.

Get to know them. -I must stay at your house today.” 6 So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly.

  • Maybe they are “that kid” because simply because you don’t know them. Jesus invited himself over to his house. Zacchaeus didn’t seem to mind. He seemed a little shocked and welcomed it greatly. I would imagine that every kid who just seems to come to come and not be involved wouldn’t mind being invited to Chick-fil-a or Starbucks after service if you are buying simply because you want to get to know them better.

Others have ignored them and might not get their “normal time” with you. -7 All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

  • The Pharisees were a little upset Jesus chose to hang out with a “sinner” rather than them. I would think some of your regulars might be mad if you have a tradition after services and you interrupted it to hang out with a new student. I would encourage them to invite “that kid” to come with. How will our students know how to reach out to new people if we as their leaders are not showing them how it’s done?

Change happens because you show them Jesus. - 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

  • We don’t know the conversation Jesus had with Zacchaeus to make him change his heart. We just know Jesus spent time with him and he was changed. I know when we reach out to students we are showing them the same love as Jesus would have shown them. I know we can’t change people, only Jesus can, but when we spend time with students like Jesus spent time with people, they see Jesus, they want to know more of Jesus and they keep wanting to come to your service to learn about Him. Life change happens this way. It’s what Jesus does. It’s what I want to be addicted too.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

0

Throwing Events Attached To Student Services

Diptic

One thing that was added onto my plate this year was running our weekend events. For the past two months and going into December our ministry is putting on two weekend events a month. I was a little nervous, I won’t lie to you. Now we are half way through the end of the year, half events are done and over while some are still coming up.

Why did we decide (I did not decide to do this, I was asked to do it) to throw these weekend events and what makes that so different from what we have done in the past?

In the past:

  • We have thrown 3-4 big events all year long on a Friday night and tons of kids would come. Especially first timers.
  • Tons of new students would come, but we would not really see them come back on the weekend.
  • The events would be huge and take up a ton of budget but with not the pay off that we wanted…returning new students.

What we have been trying:

  • Throwing smaller but more frequent events, twice a month.
  • We attached all of our events to after a service.
  • This gives the students an opportunity to invite their friends to church and then to the event after.
  • From what we have seen, new students are coming to church, sitting in service, going to the event after and then coming back the next week.
  • Just this week, Josh told me a story of a girl who came to our Halloween Homecoming last weekend who came to service because she was invited by a friend, stayed for the dance and had a blast and now is getting into a small group! So exciting.

This is something that is not ground breaking but it’s different from what we have been doing and it seems to be working. Students are are inviting their friends and their friends are coming back to hear about Jesus. I think a big part of it is because we (HSM) are giving them great opportunities to invite a friend to a place that is fun but Jesus will be taught. I have met so many new students over the past few weeks and it’s been awesome to see them connecting.

What are some of the after service events we have done so far and are planning to do?

  • Video game trucks, out door laser tag and photo booths.
  • 100 ft banana split
  • Pancake Breakfasts on Sundays. After our big homecoming weekends we promoted it as “bring your homecoming party to Sunday services and we will feed all of you.” We did this because a majority of our students come on Saturdays.
  • Halloween Homecoming Dance (See picture above). We promoted it as “Come to services and get in for free otherwise it’s $5 at the door. We had a great dance, snacks, a photo booth, pumpkin painting and had some food trucks come and serve dinner.
  • We have two movie nights coming with full on snack bar. One of the movies will be Elf and it will be food from the movie.
  • Killball, our version of dodgeball. Click here to see the rules.
  • Christmas production instead of Christmas services.

It’s been fun to see students bringing friends, seeing that has been worth it and the reason in which I feel we made this simple but effective switch.

What are some events that you throw that you feel that have gotten new students connected and to come back to check out what church is all about?

Tags: , , , , , ,

0

Equipping Students To Share

What makes a good story? What makes a story worth re-telling?

Everyone has a story. Every story is different. Every story is important. We want to look at how our student’s stories fit into the bigger story of God’s ultimate story. We need to know and understand how to share how God has changed our lives before we ever go out and tell others how God can change their lives as well. It’s our goal to help students know their story and look back on how God has changed their life and for them to share their story!

The moment we meet God and He enters our life, our story becomes a miracle because God starts working in our life immediately. It is a miracle because the God of the universe chooses to interact with us and our lives. That is a miracle in itself as far as I am concerned. We need to help students understand this.

Most of the time students do not share their faith or how Jesus has changed their lives is because 1) they are either too scared or 2) they do not know how to share it in a way that makes sense. We should want to help to overcome that fear and equip students to be able to effectively share how God has done some amazing things in their life.

We need to make sure students know:

  • It’s okay if they have not yet… for now! Not everyone who is a Christian has. They need to know that we want to help them come up with a way for them to tell how God has effected their life in a way that is effective and it flows nicely so it’s more like a conversation.
  • It is our joy, our calling, our purpose to share God’s story! A Christian who does not share Christ is like a basketball player who never passes! It’s just plain wrong!
  • OUR SUCCESS IS NOT BRINGING SOMEONE TO JESUS, OUR SUCCESS IS HOW WELL WE OBEY WHAT GOD SAYS ABOUT SHARING HIS STORY.

The big question we need to understand when it comes to helping students go out to tell others about Christ is: How can we tell others of how Jesus can change their life is we do not know how to explain how Jesus changed our own life?

It is part of our calling as youth pastors/directors/workers to teach our students how to effectively share their story otherwise we are sending them out into the world ill-prepared and they will be discouraged. Teaching our students how to share their faith effectively will not only help bring others to Jesus, but will help them grow in their own faith as well.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Josh and I have a whole series and small group curriculum that deals with this specific topic. Create an environment of evangelism in your group and check out these resources.

GO (sermon series)- Click HERE

Be a Bringer (small group curriculum)- Click HERE

GO/Be a Bringer Bundle – Click HERE

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

0

This is War

Before I got a job at a church, I worked at Starbucks for 6 years. While the life of a barista sure has its ups and downs, I really loved the job. What made Starbucks so great was the connections I got to make with my customers. Anyone that has worked at a coffee shop will tell you that there is something so special about your relationship with your “regulars” (the everyday customers). Over time, they become more than just a customer, they become a friend. One of these friends was a 25-year-old guy named Nick.

On the surface, Nick came off as outspoken, stubborn, and a little rude. But once you really got to know him, he was actually an incredibly caring, passionate, and hilarious person. Unfortunately, one of the things that he was most outspoken about was the Church. Being a gay man, Nick felt that the Church hated him and he wanted nothing to do with it or God. I spent a few lunch breaks talking to Nick about the lies that he had been told about how the Lord views him, but I never felt like I made a difference. Once I got a position on the high school team at my church, I quit Starbucks. After that, I would rarely run into him and didn’t really think about him at all.

Four days ago, Nick passed away.

This has rocked me ever since I heard about it. I’m not sure if Nick ever gave his life to Christ and that kills me. The Lord presented an opportunity to me over and over to share Christ with him and I didn’t do much with it. It has radically changed how I look at evangelism and ministry.

I have begun to constantly ask myself the questions that we should all be asking ourselves: “am I taking advantage of the opportunities that the Lord is providing?” It could be that friend you know is struggling but haven’t talked to yet. It could be that student that was sitting by themselves and you walked right past. This week, make it your prayer to see what the Lord is presenting to you and trust that He will give you the courage to follow through.

You guys, there is an enemy that is out to kill. The stakes are high. This is War.

Colton [Email||Twitter]

Tags: , , , , ,

0

YS Idea Lab: Greg Stier from Dare2Share

Had a great time at the National Youth Worker’s Convention a couple weeks ago in San Diego (there’s still time to join us in Nashville, too!). I was thankful to be a part of the incredible YS Idea Lab talking with many of the leading voices in youth ministry. Here’s the first one that was just released today – an interview with Dare 2 Share’s Greg Stier!

JG

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3

Equipping Students To Go

I feel like one of the biggest questions everyone asks about their youth ministry is, “Why wont they go out and tell their friends?” Evangelism. It’s hard and tough stuff for high schoolers for some reason. I truly believe there is a ton that goes into why they do not go out and share: fear of disappointment, failure, looking “weird” in front of their friends, etc.

One of the biggest things we need to instill in our students is letting them know that it is not about whether or not their friend comes to Jesus (it is eventually) but it is about whether or not they are going to be obedient to what Jesus says about going out and making disciples in Matthew 28. It is about them realizing that their jobs are to have the conversations, plant the seeds so God can work in the hearts of those they share with and hopefully one day they turn to Him.

There are a few things this year we are helping our students focus on to help push and challenge them to reach out to their friends about who Jesus is and to bring them to HSM.

Equip them to share their story – I think a lot of the time they do not share because they don’t know how to do it effectively. I think for many students, they cannot fully articulate how God has changed their lives so it’s hard for them to share with others how God can change their lives. Equipping students to reflecting on how God has moved in their lives and helping them understand it will only help them better share to others.

Help them understand the importance of going out – There are countless stories in the Gospels of Jesus where Jesus meets someone, their life is changed, and they immediately go out and tell others about Him. Helping our students understand and know that there is life change that is exciting within them and how there is no reason to keep it within themselves.

Who are they reaching out to? – I think challenging them to go out and evangelize is great, but it can be overwhelming. Is it to everyone they meet? Family? All their friends? Some of their friends? Focusing on a group of smaller people might help students be focused because they are thinking, “I can’t reach my whole school, but I can reach my 3 friends because I already know them.” When we think evangelism, most students think big, but what were to happen if we let them know it can be as easy and doable as reaching out to a few friends a year?

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

By the way, the series we just did on this is up on DYM. Click HERE to check it out. Also, there is a small group material that goes along with this series coming out soon to with more in detail of how we challenged students in this area.

Tags: , , , , ,

0

A New Kind of Modesty

I’ve been thinking lately about modesty.

I know: after the Miley Cyrus episode on the MTV Awards, we’ve all been thinking a little bit more about modesty lately!

But, I’ve been thinking about a different kind of modesty.

I had been scheduled to speak at a large youth event out west, and about two weeks prior to the event I received a phone call from a woman on the design team who wanted to review with me some basic details of conference schedules and travel plans. All in all, it was pretty routine.

That was when she added, without any hint of irony, this additional word of direction:

“Please, when you give your talks to the kids, we’ve decided as a design team to ask that you not mention the Name of Jesus. We don’t mind if you talk about God, in fact, we hope you will. But we hope you’ll understand that talking about Jesus will offend some of our young people, and we don’t want to do anything that will make them feel uncomfortable….”

I tried to imagine a doctor who refused to tell her patient of his disease because it might upset him. Or, the spelling teacher who didn’t have the heart to tell his students that they were consistently misspelling certain words because she didn’t want to discourage them. Or, the traffic cop who couldn’t bring himself to ask the driver to please keep his truck off of the sidewalk because he didn’t want him to think policemen unfriendly. We can almost imagine the furrowed brows as this Design Team wrestled with what they must have considered “the Jesus problem”.

A New Kind of Modesty

In an age in which modesty seems as out of date as Pong and penny loafers, in an age in which no topic is taboo, no indignation un-televised, no truth held back, it is striking that we, in the church, have finally found a modesty that we can feel good about: We can be modest about Jesus.

Now, please understand, I am completely sympathetic with the motives that must have led these good folks to “design” The Designer out of their youth event. After all, they wanted to make the conference a safe place for kids to ask questions, to feel accepted, to feel comfortable. I agree with that. That’s important. But just because we want all patients – no matter how sick – to be welcomed into the hospital, that doesn’t mean that we have to be hospitable to every sickness and germ, and it certainly doesn’t mean that we have to be modest about the cure.

It was supposedly an Archbishop of Canterbury who commented several years ago that the Church of England was “dying of good taste”. I hope it isn’t in poor taste to say so – and it certainly isn’t often that youthworkers are accused of exercising too much good taste – but sometimes I feel like I see the same thing happening on the youth ministry landscape.

There’s a very important and a very fine line between being bold to speak the truth and speaking the truth in such a way that we just sound rude and cranky. I suspect that’s what Paul had in mind when he asked his friends in Colossae to pray that he would proclaim the Word with clarity, “as I should”, he wrote (Col 4:4). But, he also counseled them to “Be wise” in the way they act toward outsiders – to “make the most of every opportunity” (Col 4:5).

Paul doesn’t want to sound rude and cranky, but that doesn’t mean he wants to sound sweet. What he wants is to sound clear.

For Paul, good teaching was a combination of grace and salt (Col 4:6), and for good reason. Salt without grace has a bold taste; but it can be so strong that not many “outsiders” will come back for more. On the other hand, grace without salt is sweet and appealing – everybody loves it – but it isn’t a clear proclamation.

Lord, keep me from being “modest” when I ought to be bold. And may my “boldness” never provoke outsiders with over-exposure (Think: evangelistic twerking). I want to be gracious without being sweet, and salty without being sour.

Which tendency is greater in your own teaching?

-Duffy

Tags: , , , , , ,

6

Tips For Your Students: How To Evangelize Without Being Weird (Pt.2)

The other day I wrote a post on tips we can give our students to evangelize to their friends in a way that won’t be weird for students.Talking about Jesus for some can be uncomfortable, but it seems to me that God seems to always move the most when we are uncomfortable because we have no choice but to lean on Him in those times. You can click HERE to go back and read it. Here is the second part of that post:

Be real- One of the most effective ways to minister to people around you is just to be real. One of the top reasons why people are so turned off to Christianity is because people are fake. It is really hard to fake yourself with people who see your ups and downs, successes and failures, people who hear how you talk in your best and worst times, by people you see every single day for 8 hours at school. Be authentic in the way to talk and you live, not just at church or at school. When you mess up and use bad language, call yourself out on it in front of everyone. That will do more ministering to the people around you because they will wonder why you don’t want to speak like that. Saying, “Just be like Jesus” is not realistic. Jesus was perfect. Us following Jesus are not perfect, at all. When non-believers see that you are just like them and mess up, but they see how you handle the mess up physically, verbally, and mentally. They will take note of that far more than anything else you can do.

So long as lifestyle evangelism does not replace the verbal sharing of the gospel, it is a legitimate ministry tool. Lifestyle evangelism can be a wonderful way to show faith in action in a world that needs to see what true Christianity looks like.

Speak it- Now, like I said in the beginning, the end all in evangelizing to the people around you is eventually speaking to them about the Good News of Jesus. You have prayed for them, you live out what you learn from reading the Bible, and are being real, there will be opportunities which come up to speak to them about Jesus, it is just up to you to take them. If you ask God to make you bolder, does He automatically make you bold? Or does He give you opportunities to be bolder? When you ask God to give you more patience, doe He automatically give you patience? Or does He give you opportunities to be more patient. You have to pray for the opportunities which come up while living your life in a real and authentic way, God will arise opportunities for you to speak to those around you to share your faith in a real, authentic, natural way.

I can tell you many stories of me actually taking these steps to explain the Gospel to my friends and family around me, and I would be happy to tell them and help you walk through what this looks like in your life. Let me know your stories!

What other tips would you give to your students to help them with evangelism with friends they are around everyday? What would you add?

**This article was originally written for our HSM magazine we give out to students and parents. If you want a copy leave a comment below and your email and I’ll see what I can do to send you one!

Tags: , , , , , ,

4

Tips For Your Students: How To Evangelize Without Being Weird (Pt.1)

I don’t know about you, but when I think of the word “evangelism” I think about the people who stand out on the street corner on a box yelling at people about Jesus and hell as they walk by. Thank you but no thank you. That’s not my style, and probably not yours either. When we think of us going to evangelize to our friends, people at our school, or even our families in some cases, we automatically get sweaty palms just thinking about it. Why? Lets just be honest, we feel weird talking to them about our faith. Why? Because talking about our faith is deemed as “weird” to people who do not know about Christianity. So how do we evangelize to our friends without being “that weird kid”? Hopefully we can help unpack how to do this and you can share the Gospel with the people you are around on a daily basis.

First off, as followers of Christ, we are expected to share the news about Jesus life and resurrection. In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus says, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Now, this doesn’t mean as soon as you meet someone new you start to just blurt out facts about Jesus and ask if they were ready to be Christian now, unless you love the sight of people running away from you, I wouldn’t do that. As Christians, we are responsible to share with others about Jesus, eventually, in our relationship with them. There are some great ways in which we can “explain Jesus” to others without just blurting it out like a freshmen asking a girl to a dance. but rather living in a way that will eventually end up with you explaining who Jesus is and the good news that He brings.

Pray for them- The most important thing we can do is pray for them. Pray that God would change their hearts and open their eyes (2 Corinthians 4:4) to the truth of the gospel. Pray that God would convince them of His love for them and their need for salvation through Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Pray for wisdom as to how you can minister to them (James 1:5). In addition to praying, we must also live godly Christian lives in front of them, so they can see the change God has made in our own lives (1 Peter 3:1-2). As Saint Francis of Assisi once said, “Preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.”

Live it first- If we are studying the Bible, we know that living a Christ-like life looks different compared to how the rest of the world lives. The next time you study the Bible, try to see how you can apply what you are reading to your life first. Not only will your own life be changed as a result of studying scripture, when it comes time to share what you have learned to others, it will mean way more to you and how it applies to your life and people will see your passion. When your friends see how the Bible has changed your life they will be more inclined to change their life based on the life style you live.

You basically share Jesus through your lifestyle. This form of evangelism focuses on building relationships with one person at a time. Through friendship, opportunities arise to share the gospel.

I will bring you the other two on Friday!

**This article was originally written for our HSM magazine we give out to students and parents. If you want a copy leave a comment below and your email and I’ll see what I can do to send you one!

Tags: , , , , , ,

2

Creating a Youth Group for All Kinds of Students

A fellow youth worker told me a story about how he was volunteering in a high school ministry several years ago, when a student sat down near him wearing a t-shirt that read: “LEAVE ME ALONE.” When I think back, I’ve seen this same t-shirt on several different students throughout the years, even though the words weren’t written in large block letters. In fact, I believe every student who wanders into any youth group wears his or her own t-shirt. One shirt might say, “GIVE ME ATTENTION.” Another one might say, “I’M POPULAR.” Still, another one might read: “I HATE MYSELF.”

There are all kinds of students who attend youth groups around the world. It’s been said that a church tends to reflect the personality of its senior pastor, so it’s safe to say a youth group tends to reflect the personality of its youth leader. A youth leader who is loud, zany, and competitive will naturally design a youth ministry that largely appeals to students who are loud, zany, and competitive. A youth leader who is passionate about evangelism will instinctively create an environment that appeals to unchurched students. Youth workers wear a t-shirt, too, and if they aren’t careful, their ministry will eventually be full of students wearing that same t-shirt.

So how does a youth minister design a youth ministry that appeals to the needs of all kinds of students? How do you create an environment that points students to Jesus but also takes into account their diverse personalities, experiences, motivations, and interests?

I still have a long way to go in this area, but here are a few strategies I’ve considered and implemented as an answer to these questions.

1. Surround yourself with support staff or volunteers who are different than you. Ask yourself, “How can I diversify my leadership team?” I am an introvert. I am also a male. In addition, my youth ministry experience has been predominantly in a large church setting. Thankfully, earlier this year I was able to add second person to my team— an extroverted female who had been serving for several years at a smaller church. Suddenly, there were two very different perspectives speaking in to the ministry, and two very different t-shirts greeting the students on Sunday morning. And the impact of this has been incredible. If you surround yourself with leaders who think and act differently than you, you will collectively foster an environment that engages multiple kinds of students.

2. Address the different students in the crowd. If you want your youth group to be welcoming to non-believers, for example, when you are addressing the crowd say things like, “I know that not all of you are Christians. Some of you are just checking things out, and others were forced to be here by your parents. And I’m so glad you’re here.” You can also use specific illustrations for specific groups of students. For example, one time when explaining how the Holy Spirit places the power of Christ in us, I compared it to being a football player and having the skills of Peyton Manning in you, or being a computer programmer and having the expertise of Bill Gates in you, or being a singer and having the singing voice of Justin Bieber in you (that last one was for laughs… I think I got one or two). My purpose was to address athletes, techies, and musicians in one illustration. When students believe they are known and acknowledged for who they are, they are more inclined to feel at home in your ministry.

3. Raise up student leaders from all personality types, social circles, and interest groups. If every student who serves or goes on stage in your youth group is popular and good-looking, how do you think the less popular students are going to feel? Similarly, if your student leadership team consists solely of good, well-polished, churched kids, what message does that send to the newer, less-polished Christians in your ministry? Facilitate an environment that tells students they can make an impact on their peers no matter who they are. Raise up student leaders who speak in to the ministry from different backgrounds and social circles.

Taylor Bird is the Director of Middle School Ministry at Southwest Church in Indian Wells, CA. He has been serving in youth ministry for just over four years.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

2

Success Is Obeying

photo

The picture on the left here is a message I got from a friend of the church I used to work at (sorry it’s so small. If you click on it it will blow it up for you). I went to Kenya and met this woman named Carmilla on the flight there. She was wondering why we were going to Kenya and we just started talking about Jesus. She said she was not into church, never really went to church and never really thought about going. I gave her my card and said if she were ever in LA she should come check it out. That was 3 summers ago and then I get this message. I just planted a seed. I didn’t know what was going to happen, let alone 3 summers later. How cool is that?! It got me thinking about how we teach evangelism to our students and it’s a great reminder to us as ministers.

We have to let our students, and if we are honest, us sometimes, understand this:

Planting a seed is a win. Success is not bringing someone to Christ, success is how well we go and obey His command to go out and share His story.

A lot of the time both students and pastors will go out, be the hands and feet of Jesus to people. Serve them. Love them. Share about Him. Then what happens? Most of the time nothing. There is no immaculate turn around where the person says right then and there they are dropping everything and turning to Jesus. It can be really discouraging if we are not seeing what we would call “results”.

That can be very discouraging because we tend to not be focused on the right goal.

It is not up to us if a person is ready to accept Jesus. God has to be working on that person’s heart already. God is the only one who can soften someone’s heart. We cannot. We can only obey and share about who Jesus is and pray that their heart is ready to receive Him. We need to tell others about Him, plant that seed, and then wait and let God make it grow so we can see the harvest.

We just need to obey. Success is obeying.

Matthew 28:16-20

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

1

Are We Being The Example?

example

I am really excited for this next school year. One of the focuses we are going to trying to relay to our students is how they can reach out to their friends who are far away from Jesus. As I have been reading a ton of different books, curriculums, and anything that has to do with this topic on how to best portray it to our students, I had this one thought that will not leave me alone. It is as if as I have been thinking about how we teach our students do these things, the Holy Spirit tugged on my heart with this question:

Who is in your life that you are reaching out to? Are your students seeing how this needs to be done by you?

Whoa. Ouch. It is a question I think all of us in ministry need to wrestle with. Think about it. How many times do we stand up in front of our groups, write in our curriculum, explain to our students how important it is to have real, authentic relationships with non-believers and be a light in their lives and try to help direct them to God and we ourselves are not doing a great job (or not doing anything at all)? It really got me thinking about whom in my life I can be reaching out to more. Who can I be more intentional with? Who in my life can benefit in a huge way if they started to live for Jesus?

Then it got me thinking about how much more beneficial it is for our students to see their leaders actually doing what it is we are asking them to do with their friends. How much more effective will it be when we can tell our own stories about how we were their for a friend and helped them step closer to Jesus? How great would it be if we were to show our students how it is done and be a physical example to them of what Jesus can do through us and for us? What would it look like if we surrounded ourselves with people who do know Jesus and we were intentional on bringing to church with us?

I know in ministry it can be really easy to surround yourself with people who are already saved. You go to lunch with them, you are in a group with them. All the people you work with are already saved (we assume). It is really easy for us to not have people in our lives we are not reaching out to besides the ones we preach to on Sunday’s, but there is no real, intentional relationship there.

So I have to ask. Who is in your life that you have a relationship with, friendship with, an acquaintance with who is far from Jesus? Who can we be reaching out to while at the same time being an example to our students because we are telling them to do the same thing?

Tags: , , , , ,

4

Why apologetics still matter in youth work

Apologetics, also known as the ability to ‘defend’ your faith, has gotten a bit of a bad rep over the last years. Many have argued that this generation of young people doesn’t care about facts anymore, that it’s not logic that will convince them of God, but experiences.

At the Youth Work Summit, Ruth McGarahan offered a different and more balanced view. She stated that the fact that we ask young people to leave their brains at the door when they enter into the church is one of the reasons why they are leaving the church in such staggering numbers. Way too often, they cannot give a reason for the hope that’s in them (1 Peter 3:15). As Ruth put it:

We need to help the thinker believe and the believer think

Apologetics still matter in youth work. Young people often have many ‘why’ questions and we need to help them answer them. They want to think critically about their faith and they should, because head and heart have to go together. Sometimes the ‘head issues’ may very well block the heart to commit fully to Christ, Ruth argued.

Apologetics matter to young people, we have to help them defend their faith.

Apologetics matter to young people, we have to help them understand and defend their faith.

Continue Reading →

Tags: , ,

3

What young people look for in religion (YWS13 part 2)

Tony Campolo kicked off the early day of the Youth Work Summit with a general introduction. He quoted Pew research that has discovered three things that young people look for in religion, but usually don’t find:

  1. Spirituality
  2. Authenticity
  3. Hopeful eschatology

If we want to reach young people with the gospel, if we want our youth ministries to be effective, this is what we need to offer.

1. Spirituality

Young people are becoming more and more spiritual, but less and less religious claimed Tony Campolo. Spirituality is a term that’s used in all kinds of context these days however, so it’s important to define what we mean by this. Tony Campolo didn’t (or of he did, I missed it), but usually spirituality refers to the search for the ‘sacred’, as opposed to the normal, everyday life. Another way of defining it is the focus on what is unseen and intangible, rather than on the physical. In the broadest way, spirituality has to do with searching and finding the meaning of life.

For Christians, spirituality has everything to do with the Holy Spirit and this is how Tony Campolo described the need in young people: young people are looking for the evidence of a true Spirit-filled spirituality. There’s an interesting contradiction in this: spirituality by its definition refers to the unseen, yet young people are looking for evidence. They want to see the result of the unseen in our lives, meaning our actions, words and attitude.

Young people are looking for spirituality, for authenticity and for hope. What are you offering them?

Young people are looking for spirituality, for authenticity and for hope. What are you offering them?

Continue Reading →

Tags: ,

4