Let me tell you about a couple of boys named J.D. and Adam.
J.D. is in ninth grade and among the smartest in his whole school. He’s tall, redheaded and just trying to figure out what it means to be a teenager.
His hero was his granddad, and for good reason. He was a leader in the community and the most selfless and caring yet strongest man I knew.
His granddad never missed an opportunity to share his faith.
When his granddad passed away, J.D. took up the mantle of the man of his family and determined to emulate his hero.
Adam is a junior in high school who has had a rough go at life. His dad is a drug addict who is in and out of jail and rehab. His mom married another man who is a deadbeat, and they are scraping to get by.
Adam lives with his grandparents who are not believers, and his grandmother opposes the church.
Through a strange series of events, Adam started coming to church and God saved him! Adam didn’t want a status quo version of Christianity. He wanted to make a difference.
Evangelism without Fear
One day, J.D. found a book in the church library called Share Jesus Without Fear, by Bill Fay. He brought it to me and asked if it was a good book, and I commended it to him.
Next week at church, J.D. tells me he has the presentation memorized and wants to start sharing it with friends.
This blew me away! I get a text the next week saying that he shared the Gospel with a friend at school and God saved him! I was even more blown away!
At church the next week, J.D. and I were talking about it, and Adam overheard. He was interested in learning how to share his faith as well.
J.D. and I walked him through the five questions and five Bible verses of Share Jesus Without Fear, and I gave him my SJWF New Testament. Over the next couple of weeks, between the two guys, God saved seven students!
J.D. has created a club at his school called the Christian Community Club. Their purpose is to share Jesus with other students during break every Friday.
They meet beforehand, write down the names of the person each of them will be talking to, go to break, then meet shortly afterward to talk about what happened.
Several of the club members are in our youth group, but he has gotten other students from other churches to buy into this vision as well.
A few weeks back, they suggested getting Bill Fay to come to our church and train our entire church.
Well, this past Sunday, he did just that! He signed J.D. and Adam’s books and got some personal, one-on-one training.
What Made All the Difference?
I have loved sitting back and watching God move among these young men. I cannot take one ounce of credit for all of these amazing things.
But you came to this blog to understand how to create a culture of evangelism, so I have to give you something.
Well, here’s what I have: Don’t just tell them to share their faith. Show them how.
During the five years at my church, I have preached evangelism till I’m blue in the face and given them the biblical mandates. I gave them expository preaching and Bible studies on it. Needless to say, my students know they should be sharing the gospel.
It all changed when they knew how to share their faith.
Give them a Method
You can tell me to fix my car, but I don’t know how. You can tell me to fly the airplane, but I don’t know how. I get that these are not perfect analogies to sharing your faith, but the point still stands. I would say the majority of Christians, especially teenagers, want to share their faith. They just don’t know how to go from talking about sports or drama to talking about spiritual things.
This is not a commercial for Share Jesus Without Fear. I have no endorsements or anything like that. This is a commercial for teaching students how to share their faith. Whether it’s the bridge illustration, 3Circles, G.O.S.P.E.L., a tract, F.A.I.T.H., etc., give them something. Plus, one size doesn’t fit all in evangelism methods, so offer several to them.
Give them Opportunities
Take them door to door in your community. (Yes, that still works). Take them on evangelism trips. Allow them to practice evangelistic conversations with you. Hold special prayer nights where they can pray for their friends, and then challenge them to share their faith with them the next day.
Give them Encouragement
Regularly talk about your own evangelistic conversations. Every small group or large group gathering can begin with the question, “Does anyone have a story of sharing their faith this past week.
Talking to people about Jesus needs to be seen as a normal part of the Christian life. It’s not for summer trips. It’s a day-in, day-out lifestyle.
I’m not claiming to be an expert in creating a culture of evangelism in youth ministry. I am claiming that many teenagers will share their faith if they are given a method, opportunities, and encouragement.
When that one student stands up and starts talking about how incredible it was to share their faith and see someone come to know Christ, the other students will start to believe that they can do it. A student filled with the Spirit of Christ for the sake of spreading the message of Christ is a very dangerous thing to the kingdom of darkness. Press on.
Josh Watford is the associate pastor of Siloam Baptist Church in Marion where he works with the students and everything else the senior pastor doesn’t want to do. He has recently tasted the freedom of graduating from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is a church revitalization coach for the State Board of Missions. Most importantly, he is a dad to Judah and husband to Rebecca.