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.