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.