If you have spent more than 10 minutes with me in the last two years you’ve probably heard me ask (and then answer) the rhetorical question, “why aren’t are young people sharing their faith?
I give three reasons:
- They fear rejection (of the family member or friend with whom they would share).
- They feel like they don’t know the right words to say (“I’d screw it up and say the wrong thing).
- They haven’t had it modeled (those that have gone before them, yes, including us, in youth ministry).
These are the things we’re trying to tackle at Youthmark! I believe that we can better equip students (and adults) with a relational approach to loving, caring and sharing with those who do not yet know Jesus. I think teens will grow in knowledge and confidence that will lead to a loving relational boldness (w/o crossing the line of being “in your face”). In doing this, I think one more key element must not be ignored… We must model it!
For my Student Ministry Stuff (SMS) post this week I would like to relationally and boldly (w/o crossing the line of being “in your face”) challenge you Mr. and Mrs. Adult Youth Leader to talk about the things you love!
This post comes from my experiences over the last week to ten days. On top of hosting three lunches for Youthmark Mission Ventures and our Mission51 strategy, I was in and out of many-a-coffee-shop while trying to meet writing deadlines (speaking of, should I really be blogging right now?)… In this recent time period I have had at least five opportunities to share Jesus one-on-one as a result of people overhearing me talk about things that I love.
People Want To Love What You Love
While standing in line in Nashville, Elisabeth was overheard talking to her mom about different restaurants in the area. We were hungry and didn’t know where we wanted to go. We’re obviously not locals, y’all, but the gal in front of my family was. She gladly talked about the places she loves to eat. We hit one (or two) of them up. We wanted to love the restaurants she loved. We were happy to take her recommendation.
While speaking to Youth Leaders in Portland our bus-gal (is that what you call a female who “busses” tables?) overheard a lot of our presentation as she walked around clearing plates and refilling glasses. After the lunch and all the patrons had cleared, she said, “so, you obviously love kids and church-stuff, what is it that you do?”
Being overheard talking about the things that I love will open up doors to talk to others about the things that I love.
Are you talking about things you love, like Jesus?… students?… ministry?… church?… Scripture?…your marriage?… your Family?… even in public in such a way that people will ask you follow-up questions?
People Want to Be Part of the Conversation
While getting a refill on my coffee the other day I was asked by my Barista, whom I thought to be a Christian, “what are you doing today?” I said, “just finishing and editing a book.” The conversation continued, “what’s the book about, if you don’t mind me asking?” Having told her that I was writing a book about Paul’s missionary journeys in the book of Acts we continued to have a 10 minute conversation talking about different things she and her husband are learning in their study of the book of Colossians. During this conversation another Barista joined in and asked a number of questions about the Bible, places I was writing about, the bible study her coworker was a part of and how it matters to us now.
The first gal is certainly a strong believer, but the second Barista did not know this about her… yet. I am thankful that an overheard conversation can lead to a possible relational evangelism opportunity between two Baristas!
Are you answering questions in such a way that invites further conversation with people about things of the Lord? Are you looking for teammates, understanding it might not always be you that gets so share Jesus?
People Need For You To Speak Up When The Door Has Been Opened
I started each of my YMV/M:51 lunches with a short look at the beginning of Mark 2; the passage which describes Jesus healing the man lowered from the room to Jesus. At the end of four or five minutes I would ask the Youth Leaders to engage one another with a specific question I asked. During this several minute break, our waiter, who probably should have been circling the room getting orders, instead asked me… “hey, you ever read The Shack?”
I have not read The Shack, but do know enough about it to keep the conversation flowing. It was clear that this waiter did not know the Lord, but had a baseline understanding of God’s love for him in light of what he had read in the book. It was a short conversation, but one in which I was able to share a little bit about Jesus and the free gift of grace He offers us in the midst of all the life throws at us.
The waiter continued to listen (and did do a great job serving us). I had a short follow-up conversation with him as well. It was very evident to me that he was open to the Gospel. He was asking the leading questions. He was seeking!
Are you listening to the questions being asked of you in such a way that you may see the door way open to share about Christ? It is very easy to just answer a question, but perhaps the question being asked is an open door for much more to be shared.
Are You Talking About The Things You Love?
It is easy for me to talk about my favorite team, a recent trip, my family… these things often do lead to entry points into relationship which then could lead to spiritual conversations.
However… I love Jesus. I love the things that Jesus loves. And I recently discovered that talking about Him out loud leads to these relational conversations even quicker! Not saying that I’m going to start strategically speaking a little louder or a little more often… just saying that as my confidence grows, as I’ve gotten to know how to share the story more, as I’ve become a little more bold, I want to speak about Jesus more! Perhaps my perspective is just changing, but it sure seems God is taking me to the places where people are seeking.
Let’s talk about the things we love (and in so doing begin to model to our students that relational, conversational, non-confrontational evangelism is actually a lot easier than we thought)!