One Week In Evangelism

WARNING: The following is a longer post, but will have you standing an applauding Jesus if you take the time to read through a one-week window of what He did!

Some say “social justice” is the new “evangelism.” I say some are wrong. Don’t get me wrong, social justice (which I think should be re-named acts of compassion) is needed, but I believe most of the time it can/should be accompanied with evangelism (sharing the Gospel with actual words).  I believe EVANGELISM is alive and is life giving! In fact, I tracked the role of evangelism over a one-week period in my personal life and in the life of the ministries I am associated with. Quite a one-week period! Praise God.

Friday/Saturday, June 24/25: Simultaneous launches of several Youthmark Mission Venture (YMV) teams took place in Northern California and the panhandle of Idaho. All told, 11 churches were starting their missions.

  • I personally was able to share Christ with a family who was gracious enough to host a mission team prior to the launch beginning. 

Medford, OR "Friends helping Friends"

Sunday, June 26: After the launch in Redding I drove to Medford, OR for my flight to Colorado. While in Medford, on Sunday morning, I took a long walk; here I witnessed a homeless ministry at a park in Medford. I was greatly encouraged in conversation by a team member who reported to me about the ministry. This “Friends Helping Friends, Medford” (they have a Facebook page) meets in this park EVERY Sunday (rain, sun or snow)! Every week the Gospel is presented (in Word and deed). This was a divine appointment.

  • I personally got to minister/witness to a hurting girl who sat next to me on the plane from Medford to Colorado. Amazing how a tearful “I miss my friend” comment can turn into a conversation about Jesus.
Monday, June 27: Reports begin pouring in on the blogs of successful starts to the ministries of Youthmark Mission Ventures. Meanwhile I started my speaking in Colorado at Summit Camp (Ponderosa). 200+ teens in attendance, many whom do not know Jesus.
  • While at Starbucks in Monument, CO (near the camp), I was asked about the uniqueness of my Sbux card (it’s an old Seattle card). Through sharing that I was from Seattle and being asked about why I was in CO, I was able to turn the conversation with three Baristas into an evangelism opportunity where I was point blank asked “what are you going to speak to these teens about?”  AHHHH, love those set-ups!
Tuesday, June 28: I was drawn to tears as I read a few of our blogs, reading about evangelism opportunities our Youthmark students were taking advantage of in CA, ID, MT, OR, WA and Alberta. I received an email from one Youth Pastor who asked specifically for prayer for the town in which his group was serving. The students who were attending their outreach had backgrounds that included parental abandonment, parental abuse (one student was burned by his parent’s crystal meth pouring out on him) and one teen showing up at the park who was dealing with his dad’s recent murder of his girlfriend (and this teen saw the act).
  • My Tuesday was a spiritually intense day; while playing putt-putt with a few students at camp, I mentioned to a couple middle-school students, “you guys are a lot of fun.” One boy stopped, looked up at me and said, “you’re the first adult to ever say that I was fun.”  From about 2:00 to 4:00 that day, the Holy Spirit worked on my heart and changed the message I was to speak that evening; the coolest part, the passage I had already outlined fit the theme so well… God had me speak on the Bleeding Woman and the theme of “burdens”
  • Immediately after my message I drove to a restaurant to meet my Colorado friend, Steve for some wings. While at the restaurant, we were able to talk to Harold and Dan.  These two guys have served in Iraq three times each, have killed too many people to count (including women and children who were deemed “a threat”). The guys were desperate for escape. They both were on four different Post Traumatic Stress Disorder drugs and said, “but they don’t help.”  Steve and I shared the Gospel with these guys for about two hours! They believed they deserved hell and couldn’t do anything to make up for the stuff they have done. THEY NEED TO UNDERSTAND GRACE! They were receptive and I am praying for their souls!
  • I believe that God gave me a great spiritual birthday present this day, it was 21 years ago, June 28, where I placed my trust in Christ.
Wednesday, June 29: More amazing “God” things were happening out and about through YMV teams. My favorite report came from Bangor, CA; Jeff Clabaugh the Youth Pastor serving there that week reported about two young men (one the Pastor’s son and the other a non-Christian friend) NOT showing up for the morning Teen-time like they had been showing up each morning. They were late because the Pastor’s son was personally sharing Jesus with his friend. Upon arrival the friend announced, “I am a Christian now!” Later that evening, the new believer showed up at the park for evening outreach, only he didn’t show up alone, he showed up with his brother, whom he had shared the gospel with during the day, the brother trusted in Christ as well! INSTANT evangelism!
  • Glad I didn't wear my Soul Surfer shirt today!

    Though it was “evangelistic,” in terms of sharing, I took the time to travel up north to the home offices of Dare2Share and was able to attend their mid-week chapel. Afterwards, Jason Lamb and I had lunch together. Jason is headed back into a Student Ministry pastor position; it was great to hear his heart for getting back to direct student ministry.

  • Again, the Holy Spirit threw me a few curveballs and tweaks to my planned message. While I preached on Wednesday the Lord made it known that I was to clearly share the complete GOSPEL. However, He also made it clear that I was to NOT do an “altar call.”  Instead, I challenged any/all students who wanted to place their trust in Christ for his/her salvation to talk specifically with a youth leader during the closing worship set that EVERFOUND was leading. We know of at least 9 of these conversations that took place that evening! Praise God.
Thursday, June 30: By mid-afternoon I was blessed to read a report of a baptism taking place up in Alberta! I was rejoicing with Wescott, the Youth Pastor from Westwood Baptist of Olympia as his team was seeing the fruit of the ministry in Picture Butte and Raymond!
  • As I spoke on Thursday I was able to clearly communicate not just the gospel, but the call on the Christians to share the good news with their lost friends. That evening we saw at least another 16 students trust in Jesus and another 150+ make a commitment to share Christ with an unsaved family member or friend! What a night!
Friday, July 1: The week at camp came to a close, but the good news was about to be preached to over 1000 people on Friday evening. I received an email about my Young Life students at camp from our team leader. He reported that over 100 students placed their trust in Christ at the end of the week at camp! WOW! In addition to the salvations from YL camp, I was reading about scores of students in each of our 11 locations we had teams. I think when it was all said and done, over 100 students trusted in Christ in our YMV communities!
  • Friday evening brought some great “evangelism encouragement” as Greg Stier and I were able to grab dinner together. I love being with a like-minded person. The ministries of D2S and Youthmark have so much common DNA; I believe we’ll be able to cross-polinate a lot as both organization move forward.
One week. In just one week I was able to see THIS MUCH in the area of evangelism. I thank all of you who prayed. I thank all of you who participated by actively pursuing the lost and I can’t wait to see more and more respond to the call! One week is just one week, Mission51 has begun, the 51 weeks after camps, mission trips and retreats matter all the more! Back in my Jerusalem the harvest is JUST as plentiful!

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