My boys have heard me talk about Jesus with others. From a stage. To their peers. At youth group. At a camp. They have never heard me share my faith with my peers. Over a burger. At a game. As a normal part of life. Perhaps there is a reason it seems foreign for them to talk to their friends about Jesus.
In Dave Rahn’s research project (Evangelism Remixed) he was able to connect the dots for me.
“When student leaders saw adults lead someone to Christ at least weekly, they reported leading more than eight friends to Christ themselves. If they observed adults evangelizing only monthly, student leaders were likely to lead fewer of their friends (four to eight) to Christ. Our research showed this to be a consistent trend. The more often adults were observed leading others to Christ, the more often student leaders led their own friends to Christ.”
If you want your students to have the courage to share their faith with their friends, getting your adult leaders to model evangelism is the best way forward.
I spoke with Dave after reading his book and one thing he said that stood out to me was the danger of sharing only the success stories. What kids need are the authentic stories. The stories of failures, fear, and willingness to persevere. Authentic stories inspire authentic living. When it comes to evangelism, our kids don’t need models of success, they need models of faithfulness.
So what do you need to do.
Make discipling your leaders a primary strategy for discipling your students.
If you are a point leader, and you want to inspire and equip your students to talk about Jesus with their peers, inspire and equip your volunteer leaders to pray for and speak with their peers about Jesus first.
We do ministry best in the context of community.
Create time during your leader training to share the struggles, fears, joys, wins and losses of their personal journey with their friends. Make your team of volunteers, your ministry community.
If anyone is going to be a “project” in helping your kids live out their identity as Christ followers, let that “project” be you.
Join in the journey. As you pray for your volunteer leaders, and your students, ask them to pray for you as well.
I remember when I asked my boys to pray for me as I went to talk with my neighbour about Jesus. It didn’t seem life was easy for him. I wanted to help. So my boys awkwardly prayed. And the next time I saw my neighbour, I awkwardly tried to help. It didn’t seem I was very helpful, at least not to my neighbour. But maybe I was to my boys. Maybe it gave them a vision of what it is to try and love others, by serving and sharing the love of Jesus with others. Maybe it will help them help others, even if it seems awkward.
You need to do the same with your students, because modelling evangelism is the best way forward.
A couple of questions:
When you encourage your teens to pray for and share their faith with their friends, do you first encourage and equip your leaders to do the same? Why or why not?
Have you built time and space into your regular youth ministry program rhythm to encourage and equip your leaders? If not, when could you make that happen?
Are you looking for more tools to help you teach youth about evangelism?
We hosted an interactive Zoom call to discover more tools for championing evangelism in your youth ministry. On-demand replay and downloadable resources.
Learn more about the Canadian Southern Baptist Seminary and College through their website or by emailing David at David.Ong@csbs.ca