Monday, December 1, 2008

New Leadership Podcast Uploaded

This podcast is from a Youth Leader's Seminar I taught in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany recently.  Although it primarily applies to youth leaders, the principles taught will benefit anyone in church or ministry leadership.  Check it out on our Podcast page at:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Leadership Podcast

Click here to check out the new Leadership Podcast we've uploaded.  It's called "The Price of Leadership".

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Leadership Podcast

Finally! I've been promising a monthly Leadership Podcast for months... it's finally uploaded. This month's topic is Faithfulness vs. Fruitfulness. It's bilingual (English/German), so all our German-speaking friends can enjoy it as well. Click here to check it out.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Youth Evangelism (part 12)

I want to end this series on youth evangelism by covering what I feel is an extremely effective wrap-up technique when sharing your faith with someone - especially when it's in a street evangelism setting.  It's what I call the "wrap-up prayer."  I learned the value of this by watching my friend, Mario speak with people on the street.  Mario is one of the most gifted people I know when it comes to sharing his faith with lost people.

He always concludes a conversation with a person on the street by asking if he can pray for them.  If they aren't ready to commit their hearts to Christ yet, he asks if he can pray for them before he goes... maybe they would be interested in receiving prayer for healing or a problem they're dealing with, or just a prayer that God would bless them.

I was surprised how many people - especially in post-Christian Europe - are open to this.  During this prayer he asks God to bless them, and to reveal himself to them.  Afterwards he thanks them for their time and offers the number of a local church they can contact with any questions or for help.

I hope this series has been both informative and encouraging to you.  Be blessed as you spread the Gospel message by sharing Christ's love with a lost world!

Youth Evangelism (part 11)

Now I want to talk about sensitivity... and this is HUGELY important!  We have to be aware of and sensitive to the atmosphere when we're sharing our faith.

Among the things you have to be sensitive to:


    • Person - Are they young, old, rich, poor, etc?
      • Place - Are there a lot of distractions around?
      • Attitude - Are they bored, interested, distracted, sad, tired, etc?
      • Weather - If it starts to rain while you're outdoors, or it is very hot, maybe you should ask if they want to go indoors or somewhere in the shade.

*Time: Are they on their lunch break, on their way to work, in some sort of hurry?  Are their kids running wild?  Are their arms full of groceries?

*Holy Spirit leading: Above all else, the most important skill we need to learn is to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit as He leads us.  As we said in Part 6 of this series, Jesus dealt with different people in different ways.  He always responded to the Holy Spirit's leading (Jn. 5:19, 14:24, 31).  He will always show us the appropriate thing to say/do or not to say/do.  We become sensitized to His leading by spending time reading the Word of God and in prayer.

Youth Evangelism (part 10)

Another thing to remember is that evangelism is done with someone, not to someone.  As a teen, I went "street witnessing" with a guy.  We ended up at a gas station and I watched as he hammered the guy behind the counter with "the Gospel".  This continued even when real customers came into the store.  And it didn't stop until the guy basically gave up and said, "Okay, I'll pray with you."

After this, I determined I never wanted to do street witnessing again!  It was embarrassing, both for me and the guy behind the counter.  The man I went with thought he had really accomplished something.  But in hindsight, I'm sure the guy behind the counter was just doing whatever he could to "make the hurting stop!"

I have learned that in sharing my faith, the most effective thing I can do is to listen to the other person and try to find common ground.  So often we are trying to formulate a good comeback in our minds while the other person is talking, but this isn't truly listening.

Listening is a form of respect.  I respect the other person enough to really hear what he/she has to say.  It's been said that he who listens controls the outcome of the conversation.  I truly believe this.

If we listen to what they have to say, hearing their words, reading their body language and reading between the lines, we'll know how to respond appropriately.  And the correct response will help open their hearts to the truth.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Youth Evangelism (part 9)

Another important thought... don't alienate your audience.  What I mean by that is: drop the "God talk"!!!  You need to lose the Christian jargon from your vocabulary.  Words such as holiness, righteousness, salvation/saved, forgiven and sin aren't part of everyday vocabulary.  Be creative in the way you present the concepts and you won't have to use the church words.  If you do use the words, at least explain what they mean with illustrations an unchurched person can understand.  You never want to alienate your audience!

In the same way that a fisherman needs to exercise caution while fishing, we need to be careful in the way we present the Good News.  If a fisherman scares the fish away, he/she won't catch anything!  It's the same with us... if we are too "churchy" in our presentation, they won't hear a word we have to say.

Youth Evangelism (part 8)

It's important to remember that when want to lead a person to Christ, we need to invite them, not confront them. If we're not careful, our desire to answer a person's questions (or at least the questions we think they have) will devolve into an argument on topics such as evolution. We're called to touch hearts and lives, not win arguments.

While we do want to answer their questions, coming to Christ isn't a leap of intelligence or understanding... it's a leap of faith. There is no way I can absolutely prove God's existence to a person, just as they can't prove to me that there is no God. The best proof of a living God is a changed life.

If they choose not to believe, that's okay. As I said in part 1 of this series, we are only one link in the chain of events that God will use to bring them to Him.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Youth Evangelism (part 7)

I want to offer some good closing questions that I will often use near the end of a conversation.  You can check them out here.  These have worked for me... I hope they'll work for you as well.

Sometimes a conversation doesn't lead towards spiritual things, no matter how hard I try.  A friend of mine has taught me to always ask at the end of such a conversation if I can pray for the person I'm sharing with (right then and there)... for healing, or just for a blessing, or, perhaps, for something they're dealing with or struggling with.  In this prayer I always ask God to reveal Himself to them.

Also, in Europe, it's important to be aware of their apprehension.  Many people won't be comfortable with you "laying hands on them" when you pray... and that's okay.  Just do whatever they'll allow you to do.

I want to encourage you to continue to pray for opportunities, that you'll recognize them and make the most of them when it comes to lost people.  It's a prayer Jesus told us to pray!

Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." - Matthew 9:37-38

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Youth Evangelism (part 6)

Let me give you another thought concerning how to start a conversation with a lost person. I have found that it is best to have a planned opening question, or round of questions. But you have to be willing to adjust if the conversation goes in a different direction, or if they are unwilling to answer the questions.

This ability to adjust is one of the greatest tools we can have when it comes to evangelism. Notice that Jesus used different approaches, each according to the situation:

  • With the woman at the well (Jn 4): Jesus spoke of spiritual things, and challenged her prejudice.
  • With Nicodemus (Jn. 3): Jesus used deep theological thoughts and word pictures that challenged his preconceptions.
  • With Peter & Andrew, James & John (Mt. 4): He simply invited them to follow Him.
  • With the rich young ruler (Mt. 19): Jesus challenged his security system, and the things on which his life was based.
  • With the woman caught in adultery (Jn. 8): Jesus rebuked the self-righteous Pharisees and offered mercy and hope to the sinful woman.

Notice also that almost all of these interactions involved Jesus asking questions. We must never adopt a know-it-all attitude. Asking sincere (not just rehearsed) questions will often disarm a person's defenses and create a way for them to open up to us. We need to approach people from a humble position, not from one that says, "I'm better than you."

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Youth Evangelism (part 5)

When it comes to sharing our faith, we need to be able to get to the point quickly. Every believer should be able to give a clear Gospel presentation in five minutes or less. As I said before, we need to respect their time if we want them to listen to us.

We need to remember what's important: the Cross and its effect on the world. We need to be able to share about the lost condition of man, and what God did to remedy the situation. And finally, how a person can take part in this, or become a part of the family of God.

Youth Evangelism (part 4)

I believe it's necessary to be able to share your testimony in five minutes or less. And it needs to be applicable to a lost person's life. Talking about how you believed God for some money and you got it isn't necessarily what most lost people need to hear, although a healing testimony will often get a person's attention.

Your story should have three parts to it... first, you need to share what your life was like before your conversion (or healing, etc), especially immediately before. Share your thoughts and feelings, as much as possible.

Next, you should share what it was that brought you to the point of decision (or the actual experience of being healed, etc). Especially when it comes to being Born Again, be sure to share with them the prayer you prayed so that they know what to pray if they want to do so at a later time.

Finally, you should share what has changed since you gave your life to Christ (or were healed, etc). Give specifics, as much as possible. I share about the change in my attitude, my relationships and the quality of my life... and the fact that I'm now sure that I'm doing what I was put on this earth to do. I use that as a segue to share that God as a special plan for each person.

One last thing to remember is that you need to have a bridge between each of the points in your story so that it flows smoothly from one part to another.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Youth Evangelism (part 3)

Now onto some more practical thoughts... first, in my European experience, if you're going to do street evangelism through preaching, music, drama, etc, the main point isn't to get people to "answer an altar call," but instead to draw a crowd.

In this situation, it's best to have a team that is "onstage" and a team that is "audience". This way those in the "audience" can ask questions of those that are watching. If there's no "audience", those performing can start conversations with those watching after the performance. But either way, the group needs to know how to start a conversation with someone, and how bring Christ into that conversation, if the door opens.

As you know, if you try to force a conversation, the other person will often either shut down or leave... or both. We have to remember that we are invading their space, not vice versa, and we must respect their time.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Youth Evangelism (part 2)

Another thing to remember is that evangelism, especially in Europe, is most effective within the context of relationships.  As I've heard said many times, "If you want to lead a person to Christ, you have to first drink a cup of coffee with them."

As a person that is responsible for leading an evangelism team, I think it's important to really train your people in the fine art of developing relationships with lost people.  This involves things such as people skills and kindness.

They should also be taught how to find connections between the lives of the people they speak with and the overall story of God.  This is truly an art form, but absolutely invaluable for someone wanting to lead people to Christ.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Youth Evangelism (part 1)

I have become with somebody else the Team-coordinator for Evangelism.  Our job is to bring people to Christ (of course that's the job for every Christian) but for [our church] [a lady] and I are the coordinators.  So we have a very good job to do. We are both very excited about it. But it is also a challenge.

For myself it's important that we have a goal so that we can see over about a year what the results are and where we can go further and where things must change.

Our question is: can you give us some ideas how you start evangelism for youth?  How do you start things and what are [some] things [we shouldn't do]?



I will give you a few thoughts... I think first of all it's important to remember that the main goal of evangelism is to lead people into a relationship with Christ.  One of my mentors says that one of the problems in the Church today is that most of us believe in evangelism, but don't have a heart for the lost.

Another problem often comes in our definition of success in evangelism. (See my article on the subject) Although we do want people to make a decision for Christ, it doesn't mean we're unsuccessful when we don't pray with them to give their hearts to Him.  We're successful when we leave a positive impression on lost people concerning Christ and the Gospel.  In this way, we are one link in the chain that leads them to Christ.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Disruptive Teen


We have one male youth, who has problems with authority. We had a situation at the end of February, that he wanted to play his bad non-Christian music during the [fellowship] time after the service, but Christian music was already playing. And we didn’t let him. He got so mad that he destroyed a table and now he doesn’t come anymore. I say to him on MSN (Chat) every time I see him online, that he is „most welcome“ in the youth group from our side it is ok and we love him and he should come again. But he wants an [apology] from our leaders, that he couldn’t play his „non-Christian“ music.

What do you think we should do? I think we shouldn’t and can’t apologize, because this [is the same as saying he is] right and [then] he will do it again. Perhaps you have to know, that in the last year he asked me [if he could] be a leader, and we talked also about the biblical lifestyle of a leader (because he has to change some things), and he didn’t want to make any changes in his life. {He says] we should accept him as he is or he doesn’t want to be a leader. That is pride and I said it in a really friendly way to him and encouraged him to think about it and also ask God. I think in the actual matter it is also a form of pride and we should wait and [only every now and then] in the chat encourage him to come again. But how do you handle such situations?


While we are called at times to leave the 99 and go after the one, you can’t neglect the rest of the group for the sake of this young man. And the fact that he has damaged some church property shows an absolute lack of respect for you, your leaders, the youth group and the church. If it were me, I would allow him to come back to the group, but only on my terms. And this would include him apologizing for the destruction of church property before he is allowed back into the group. If he is willing to adjust, then and only then would I let him back into the group.

We welcome teens, but everything we do is based on respect. We respect them, and we expect them to respect us… and our property. We had a group of Turkish Muslim teens coming to a group for awhile. They started off very disrespectful, causing problems, etc. We explained to them that they were welcome, but they would have to act respectfully. I explained that if I went into their house or their mosque, I would act respectfully, even if I didn’t agree with everything they did. And I expected the same from them. They seemed to understand, but I had to keep going over the rules and my expectations. Proper boundaries are a part of any healthy relationship.

Most of our time needs to be invested in our core students, especially those that are leading or giving of themselves and their time. If we’re not careful, we’ll end up wasting time on people that really don’t want to be helped. They just want attention. We need to give the greatest portion of our time to our leaders, our core group and those that are “producing” in our ministries. It’s not that we don’t value the others, but we want to be wise managers of the resources we have, one of which is our time.

Prayer Team


I have a question about a prayer team. Do you have a special prayer team (not the regular youth leaders) for the youth group, the youth and the leader team... A team which can in several cases pray for theses cases and make intercession? If yes, how do you organize this prayer team. Because we [received] an „offer“ and suggestion from a member of our church, that they would like to do this.


In response to your questions… we don’t have a special prayer team for our youth group, but Robin and I do have a prayer team for our ministry.  I send them a monthly update, along with specific prayer requests.  As for a prayer team for the youth, I would ask this person to give you a list of names of people that are interested in getting involved… that will show you how serious this person is.  When they have a group of people that are committed to making it happen, I would first get with all of them and make sure they really understand the youth ministry vision.  One of the best ways to impart vision to people is to pray it out with them.  It will also show them how you would like them to be praying for the youth group.  Then I would keep them updated at least once a month on upcoming events and anything you would like them to be praying for.  Regular communication with the team will help them to see your heart and really get behind you.  Also, be sure to maintain confidentiality… there will be some situations that you won’t be able to share with them.

Welcome to Youth Ministry Q & A

The purpose of this blog is to assist those that work with youth.

Having worked with youth for over 20 years, and having served in a teaching/coaching and mentoring capacity for youth workers for the past ten years, we have learned that for every person that asks a question there are twenty more that would like to have the same question answered.

This blog is an attempt to share what we've learned through successes, observations and many mistakes.  We hope it will be a blessing to you!

Jon & Robin