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My problem with outreach events…

Evangelism…is that they’re rarely an outreach. I plan something fun, exciting, promote it as an evangelistic event and encourage students to bring their pre-Christian and non-churched friends for an opportunity to get to know us and hear the gospel, but when the event actually takes place, how many non-youth group kids are actually present? Zero or one. Yeah ok, some may argue that “even if only one soul is won for Christ, then it’s worth it” and I don’t disagree with that, but the point is, out of 100-some students who attend, why don’t we see at least 50 pre-saved and non-churched kids being invited? When an outreach event idea is proposed, I often ask the students, “Is this something you’d feel comfortable inviting your pre-saved friends to?” Even when I get a resounding “YES!” the actual results seem to indicate otherwise.

Why don’t our church kids invite their pre-Christian friends to come to these events? Is it a communication problem? Is it a vision issue? Is it a heart issue? Is it a value system? Or is it completely the wrong approach to evangelism? Maybe I’m making it too easy for them?

Somehow my approach to evangelism in our ministry needs to change. My natural inclination is to bypass my church kids altogether and just go straight to where the pre-saved kids are, but neither do I want to dismiss my church kids from the process of evangelism. My role is not to do it for them, but somehow to teach them and do it with them.

I know my ministry is not the only one that struggles with this. What insights can you all provide? How has evangelism been effective for your groups? What can you all recommend for me and others in my situation?


Posted on August 9, 2007

  • Pingback: thoughts from PK>Kevin Twombly()

  • I have found that if the youth ministry team creates a regular environment that students will want to bring their friends to they will. Having a one time event doesn’t seem to work any longer because it is too much of a risk to ask their friends to come to something when they are not EXACTLY sure how it is going to play out, there is just too much on the line for them.

    Something else that we do is talk about evangelism as a necessary part of spiritual growth almost every time we get together. Although evangelism is the MOST important aspect of our growth it is a HUGE hurdle for students that worry so much about appearances, that’s why we use so much encouragement.

    When we talk about evangelism it is not just about bringing friends to an event, or sitting down and trying to explain Jesus to a friend, it is much more about just loving and serving them.

  • I agree with Chris on this one. Less of an “event” and more of a way of life. We try and get involved in the regular life of the youth and meet them at their places.

    Whether it be going to a sporting event that they are in, swinging by their schools, visiting them at work – we all have to eat, right?, or just swinging by their house. I have found that when I make these efforts to meet with the youth on their turf they are more apt to introduce me to their friends and that begins a connection then with them. I may say one small bit about joining us at our student ministry and then continue the talk about them.
    While some are under the school of thought that they must make the most of every opportunity – and I agree with that – they take it to the extreme by trying to get kids whom they have just met to repeat the sinners prayer with them. I see that, oftentimes, as pushing more youth away. When we engage with them at their level and on their turf they are more open to hearing what we may have to say on our turf.
    Many of the youth that are regulars really appreciate this partnership in reaching their friends and I believe it serves as a great approach to those in our ministry for modeling a natural lifestyle of evangelism.

    Big events geared towards outreach, most times, just suck the life out of you and your leaders. When we serve the youth in our region with our time and attention we yield a much greater return for the Kingdom.

  • I agree with the first two posts. Outreach is best done when it’s done on a regular basis instead of a “big” event. We do outreach weekly at youth group meetings. We encourage our teens to invite their friends to church and youth group and each week the gospel is given at some point during the message whether we have a visitor or not. We also train and encourage our students to pray for their unsaved friends regularly asking God to break their hearts so they will be open to the gospel.
    Outreach needs to be a regular habit of the Christian life based on Matthew 28:19-20.

  • Our minstry has taken a different approach to outreach events this year. One reason is, as you mentioned, students do not invite their unchurched friends to events. Another reason is that we became good at creating events for the unchurched and expected them to become churched that night. Taking someone from “Church is for loosers” to “born again” in one 2 hour event just doesn’t happen.

    So, we’ve broken our events down into 4 types:
    Cultivating
    Sewing
    Harvesting
    Multiplying

    Multiplying is designed for Christian students (worship, training, etc.)

    Cultivating, sewing and harvesting events are designed for the unchurched.

    At a cultivating event, we purposefully avoid mentioning (from stage/publically) any churchy language. In fact, about the only thing we express is that we are a ministry. Someone attending might not even realize that it’s a “Christian” event. We simply want to use the night to build relationships with students, host good, clean, fun events, and allow them to see that we care about them…not just about converting them.

    At a sewing event, the “talent” is made up of Christian bands, commedians, illusioinists, etc. During the event, the “talent” shares testimonies. They hang around with the students to answer any personal questions and to simply fellowship. The idea is to begin to help students see that God is a possitive thing and that Christ can make a difference in their lives.

    A harvesting event involves a clear presentation of the gospel and offers a chance to respond.

    The goal is to move students from a cultivating event to a sewing event. From a sewing event to a harvesting event.

    Our very first cultivating event was this past Tuesday night. It was a battle of the bands with local high school and young college aged kids. Over 700 students attended. It was the highest concentration of unchurched kids we’ve ever had at an event. Throughout the night, we promoted our next event, which is a sewing event…a concert with an alternative Christian band at which the winner of our battle of the bands will be the opening act.

    Get this…because it was a cultivating event, and we didn’t “preach”, the city’s Parks and Rec Department sponsored the event as part of the their summer concert series. They had never attracted that many students to a city event before. They want to talk about doing it again next year, and we’re already talking about doing a 3 on 3 basketball tournament with them, which they will sponsor, this coming Spring (it will be a sewing event).

    We’re just into this new strategy, so we don’t have results to say this concept is going to be a success. However, after seeing so many unchurched students at our battle of the bands, we are very encouraged.

    To keep an eye on how things are going, you can check out our website (www.get-connected.org) or our events MySpace page (www.myspace.com/gzimpactevents).

  • Haley, sounds like a great Strategy, similar to Sonlife. The one thing that I would caution is that it will become easy to depend on the program which will set up a model that teaches the students to depend on a program that will share Jesus with people. The danger in “high programming” is that students never see or learn that they CAN be an integral part of communicating the Gospel.
    Like I said, just a caution…it sounds like you are doing some great stuff!

  • You know, I think all of us in any type of ministry deal with this very same thing. I have been feeling that same way for a while in the ministry I am currently in. I have only been here todate a year, and when we came here, the teen group was unbelievable to me. Something I have rarely seen in teenagers and it was a strong group…very faithful…and love to be together. So we hold a Saturday night program for them every Saturday out of the month, plus usual youth services. Only being here a year, I didn’t want to take away from what they had before I came, but there was no outreach at all.

    Finally, a couple months ago I had one of those heart-to-heart nights with them. I explained that it is good to always be together and want to have activities, but if that is all we do, meaning we never reach out, then something good actually becomes a hinderance because it is really about reaching the lost. After I explained that, I have seen the attitudes starting to change, or the focus. It is not quite there yet, but I believe it will. I think that we as youth pastors or lay workers just need to show them by doing it first, making ways for them to be involved with it. Example: I go to the local schools for lunch every Friday. This gets me to sit with my teens and all their friends they sit with. It is giving my teen an opportunity in their enviroment to be a witness. Also, every other Friday morning we have a breakfast at the local resteranunt by the high school.

    These are just a few of the ideas I do, but bottom line is I just need to get out there and put myself in positions to reach others and I pray when my teens see that, they will join in and follow. It is tough and will always be a struggle getting teens to our activities, but it will happen.

  • Tim

    @ Chris: Yeah, I think you’re right about having something regularly that’s consistent. We have Bible studies at my house every week that aren’t intended to be evangelistic in nature, but the past couple weeks the jr. high have started inviting pre-Christian non-churched friends on their own initiative.

    @ Kevin: The lifestyle evangelism is good, but when you have 200-some students in your youth group and a weak volunteer to student ratio, that gets tough. It’s not an excuse, just that your job primarily becomes training adults and getting them on board to invest individually into students. Often easier said than done.

    @ Haley: I understand the whole non-preachy thing and avoiding any church language, but I guess I’m also not afraid if students find out we’re Christians and that we love God. If they see something different in us during that event, I want them to know what it is, especially since they may or may not come to other future events. If God gives us one opportunity to share Christ with a student, I don’t wanna miss it. That’s not to say, however, that it has to be done in a preachy/churchy way. It also sounds pretty programmatic and not as much “let me open up so you can see into my life and be attracted to what I have” kinda thing, like Chris said.

    @ Nick: That seems to be the general consensus here, which I wholeheartedly agree with. I guess I haven’t been at my church long enough to start seeing the fruit of those efforts yet (I’ve only been here 6 months). Personally, I’m definitely not a program-driven kinda guy. I’m definitely a relationship-driven guy. But somehow the programs still need to work better than they do at building relationships and encouraging intentional lifestyle evangelism.

  • take a few of your church kids with you to where the non-believers are and help them interact with them. The problem a lot of times is that as believers we get weirded out by non-believers. Especially students who have “grown up in the church” and or home school kids. They have no clue how to interact with students that don’t believe what they do and that translates into not having a heart for their lost friends. Too often I see the metality in church kids, “Well if they don’t believe the same way as me and act the same then I don’t want anything to do with them.”

    Somehow we have to teach our youth the urgency of the gospel. For us our Wednesday ministry is outreach. We draw 130-150+ kids every week (we are a town of 5k) and nearly 75% of them are not believers but they come becuase it’s a safe place to hang out and they fully know that they will be hearing God’s Word….so what’s the draw? Barna shows the the #1 reason why pre-christian teens come to church is becuase they were invited. The #1 reason they come BACK is because they learned something about God that hooked them. We HAVE to get our students to buy into inviting their friends becuase their eternity matters.

    The REAL question is: How are YOU at evangelism? Your heart for it will be reflected and modeled to the students and they will either get a heart for evangelism or a heart of coal for the lost.

  • My other rant on this is “lifestyle evangelism.” Truth be told lifestyle evangelism as most believers practice it sucks. Most people think, “Well if they see I’m living differently I should never have to say a word and they will see Christ and be drawn to him.” WHAT?!? Christ was VERY upfront about the Kingdom of God. If he wanted us to live out a nambsy pambsy lifestyle evangelism model don’t you think he would have too? We so often take St. Fracis of Assisi’s quote “If necessary use words” as gospel on how to spread the gospel…but why?

    Why can’t we be vocal about it? I’m not talking about some bible-thumping-fanatical-weirdo either. I am talking about people that have been rescued from the mud and mire by a Savior who LOVES us. This should overflow not only into our actions but our speech as well. If it does then THIS is real lifestyle evangelism…it goes far beyond actions it has to penetrate our heart, thoughts, and speech.

    I’m done ranting for now. I’m just passionate about evangelism.

  • Tim

    @ Chris (serialyouthpastor): Amen, brutha! Your rant expresses my feelings exactly. Maybe it’s just because of my Campus Crusades background, but maybe that’s a good thing.

    And thank you everyone else for continuing to share your thoughts. This all really helps me a lot. It’s stuff I already know, but we all need to be reminded from time to time and need others to help us refocus and get back on track. Thanks, guys. *e-hug to you all* ;)

  • http://www.amazon.com/Doing-Church-Team-Wayne-Cordeiro/dp/0830736808

    Not only is this a great book overall for church leaders, the principles are so relevant to this thread. Tim, I know you mentioned that

    “It’s not an excuse, just that your job primarily becomes training adults and getting them on board to invest individually into students”

    I fully understand. After 10 plus years at one church I have been able to develop a great group of caring, passionate adults who are all about reaching youth and personal interaction with them. It’s not easy. Then again, I don’t believe it is supposed to be. But it is so worth it. I know that you mentioned that you have only been at this church for 6 months so trust me, I’m not baggin’ on ya’. Spend some time with some of the parents of your group, watch them and see how they interact with students. You most likely have some amazing “diamonds in the rough” just waiting to be asked to help serve the young people in your church.

    I’m sure you already know this but it begs to be said again, You can not do this on your own! Recruit leaders who know their primary purpose is to reach out to young people in your church but hat also know that they should also be recruiting leaders who will join with them. I believe it was Andy Stanley that mentioned the principle of replacing yourself. Wayne Cordeiro goes one step further and says “the staff guy shouldn’t be the one doing all the work, they should be the one recruiting the ones to do the work.” Yes, you should be ministering to youth as a youth pastor – but as a leader you should be raising up many others to do the same. Otherwise, when you head off to another church the next guy falls into the same trap of having to do it all by himself.

    And yes, I agree with Chris on lifestyle evangelism being actions as well as words – I should have been clear about that in the original posting. St. Fancis’s words make a great poster (ironic as it is that he had to use words to make that statement…)

    Tim, I’m praying for you. 6 months into it with the group size that you have and the lack of volunteers that you have alluded to is not a fun spot to be in. Much grace is headed your way! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  • Tim

    Thanks Kevin! My group is definitely heading in the right direction, both the students and volunteers, we’re just not there yet. The guy before me seemed to be more of an up-front on-stage kinda guy who liked to perform, so my philosophy of ministry is very different for everyone. Our volunteer to student ratio was about 1 to 12, but after some recruiting by the volunteers and myself, we’re around 1 to 7 now. My goal is to hit 1 to 5 and start implementing small groups so that relational God-centered intimacy can flourish. The volunteers I inherited are doing a great job of transitioning and the new ones are still not trained (but it’s scheduled!). Given some time, lots of communication, vision casting, training and constant prayer, maybe we’ll see this evangelism thing turn around in the near future.

  • Jeremy

    Hey Tim and Others,
    We started setting up our program from the get-go with an approach to YM that is 4 pronged. Outreach, Fellowship, Faith-Nurture, Discipleship. We reach out wherever needed but the first thing that happens is we welcome new faces to our crowd. Spend 90% of your time creating a welcoming environment and then kids bring friends (churched or not) because its the “Cool” thing to do. Make a HUGE deal out of every new face you see and spend all of your time making that mark. The kids will come back to find God… just make them feel welcome the moment they step in the door!

  • @ Jeremy – We do the welcome environment as well. WE use the Snapshot software from Simply Youth Ministry to build an interactive Cd that EVERY student gets when they visit us for the first time. There is information in there on ministry opportunities, free food cards for our concessions, stickers, calendars stuff for parents…it’s a pretty sweet thing.

  • Two things:

    1) No, our sewing events are not quilting bees for teens. I meant to type sowing. You’ll have to forgive me…I was in the contract sewing business before getting called into youth ministry, so it’s a force of habit thing, I guess.

    2) I probably should have explained that our ministry is a para-church organization, with the goal of empowering the Christian community in their efforts to reach and disciple teenagers for Christ. Our event ministry is just one aspect of our empowering the community. Because the first post was discussing the large event ministry, I went with that theme.

    As far as the deeper question, I think teenagers struggle with relational evangelism because they have never seen it modeled. How many of their parents intentially befriend unchurched families, share their testimonies with them and invite them to church? They may hear it preached at church, but until it is modeled for them and they see it working, they have little or no drive to do it themselves.

    In a culture who’s motto is “if it works, it must be real”, kids are not seeing relational evangelism work.

    Hopefully, we as youth workers are modeling it for our students (I confess, struggle being model of this myself), but if they are not seeing it anywhere else in the church, it becomes “Oh, that’s something the youth pastor does”, or “I’m not called into ministry, so I can’t do it”. I get tired of kids and adults asking their pastors to tell their freinds the gospel. They think it’s something only preachers do…because they are the only ones that are seen doing it.

    Until real evangelism is modeled throughout the Body of Christ, I’m afraid our youth will never catch on.

    Our ministry encourages churches to adopt middle and high school campuses for minsitry. That involves praying for the schools including praying for every student, by name, every day of the school year. It involves servant evangelism to the schools, meeting needs and providing resources with no strings attached or “behind the back” evangelism.

    The ministry effort is for the entire congregation. Our goal is for the church body to be a model for relational and servant evangelism for their students. Once the students see ministry modeled for them and directed at their “turf”, they can then begin ministering on the campus. From their ministry on the campus, they evangelize their peers, feeding them back into the church body.

    It looks like this:
    Our ministry ministering FOR the campus
    by
    Empowering Churches ministering TO the campus
    in order to
    Model evangelism for Kids ministering ON the campus.

    Sorry if this sounds like a commercial…that’s not my intention. I just want to share my thoughts, passion and purpose that God’s given me.

    In His Service,
    Haley

  • Tim

    @ Haley:

    I think teenagers struggle with relational evangelism because they have never seen it modeled. How many of their parents intentially befriend unchurched families, share their testimonies with them and invite them to church?

    Exactly! I was going to say that very thing. I’ve even blogged about that here, here and here. And it’s not just evangelism — how many students have parents who publicly model a personal prayer life, time in the Word, sacrificial servanthood, genuine worship, etc.? Not to be judgmental, but we can all tell who the kids are in our groups who have parents modeling this stuff at home. At least hopefully our kids will have youth pastors and volunteers who are passionate and model these things instead.

  • Jose

    Good thoughts from all. Yes, students need to own their faith, but I remember back in High School, being a strong christian young man, and not being excited about inviting “the others” ie. “the unsaved” “friends” I had on my soccer team or track team or whatever. Church was a place I knew I felt safe, connected, loved… I was a bit selfish and thought, and made the decision for them by not asking them to come to an event, figuring that they would say NO and “reject” me, so I never broached the subject, but I know that my presence in their lives spoke more Christ to them, than just coming to a “fun” outreach event. Presence, is the key.

    We are the adults in our students lives, we, along with their parents need to model this in our own lives, if we expect kids to do it…until adults learn to lead what they “preach” teens will always respond the same way…the same way you or I behave when we meet someone that we “know” is not saved but hesitate to invite them to join the church softball, small group, or slip n’ slide outreach event……for fear that it will turn out to be a cheesy event or poorly planned or run or whatever, or that they don’t have any time in their busy lives….When you begin to invite your neighbors maybe the kids will begin to invite their neighbors……

    my 2cents….

  • Tim

    @ Jose: That actually happened in one of my former youth groups. All the other small groups were growing except one. I asked that group why they weren’t growing or inviting friends. Their response, almost as a direct quote, “Because we love our group and like it how it is. We don’t want it to change.” For them, the fear wasn’t that it was going to be lame, but that they wanted to keep the great thing they had found to themselves. I outright told them that that was a pretty selfish attitude and that if someone had not first invited them to the small group, they wouldn’t be a part of it anyway. The least they can do is return the favor to someone else. Their group changed after the conversation.

  • Jose

    LOL..love the humor Chris…your names better than mine…lol sorry for starting it…not intending to get too far off topic.

    Calvin, I think service projects are also a good way to involve the unchurched teens bc when they serve together they don't just see the body of christ from out side but get to experience what it means to give, sacrifice, and do something for a greater cause.

  • Tim, I only know you through blogging, and I'm extremely impressed with your blog and passion to empower other youth leaders. We share the same passion.

    Here is what we have discovered in reaching pre-Christian students (note: 60% of our weekly attending, jr high students, do not have parents attending our church; 20% of our weekly attending, sr high students, do not have parents attending our church; only God knows what percent of these percentages are pre-Christians; please be gracious to my sharing these stats):

    · create a culture of evangelism (not events) – read on to discover some of what we have done to do this

    · students keep coming back and bring their pre-Christian friends when they are loved

    · with this in mind, leverage small groups for relational connection and discipleship – "no relationship = no ministry; know relationships = know ministry" (Bill Allison, Cadre International). Remember – discipleship is for pre-Christians and Christians – I can explain this more if necessary – utilize small groups as the relational and spiritual formation back bone of the ministry

    · with this in mind, keep the leader to student ratio low – we run 1 leader to every 6 students – this empowers the leaders to be in their students’ lives during the week – this builds great relationships

    · with this in mind, empower your small group leaders to recruit their friends to be small group leaders – they will enjoy serving all the more when they serve with people they already like – just be sure to put in a check and balance system to ensure your volunteers are recruiting the right volunteers – firing volunteers is not fun

    · create a system that empowers your small groups leaders to train other small group leaders – this means that you have to de-centralize your leadership

    · if, in your jr high ministry, you can't obtain enough adult small group leaders, then recruit the best-of-your-best high school students – for more on the effectiveness of high school students as small group leaders go to: http://ronklabunde.wordpress.com/2007/06/08/high-
    · reaching more pre-Christians starts with the multiplication of leaders – as the small group leaders multiply, relationships multiply – as relationships multiply, disciple making multiplies – remember, disciple making is for pre-Christians and Christians

    I could write more, but these are the most significant principles we have discovered for transitioning from evangelistic events to a culture of evangelism.

  • Tim,

    Dare2Share will solve all your problems! Just kidding. I think that D2S does some great things and helps train students, but I really think that students respond to what they see parents and other adults doing. If leaders are not leading the charge most students aren't motivated enought to go forward with it. (unless you have some charged up students about evangelism)

    When I started at my first church, I personally led the charge in evangelism by personally inviting students to some of our events and over time this worked and some other students caught on to that and realized it's not a scary as they thought to invite!

    But then there is the Biblical perspective of Jesus telling us to "Go" and make diciples, not get people to "come" to church then share about Jesus.

    I'll stop typing now :)

  • Unfortunately, I don’t have time to read through all the comments, but I would like to inform you about a course that is starting to get attention in The Netherlands, where I live. The course is called ‘The Art Of Connecting’ and originates in the United Kingdom. You can find more at http://www.theartofconnecting.co.uk/

    Basically, the course is about three stories that overlap each other. One story is your own, the other story that of a friend and the last story is the story of God. As you start to listen to the stories of God and those of your friend and then share with your friend your story with God, the three stories are like circles that are comming together – they connect.

    The Art Of Connecting is about life style. It is my experience that I talk to more non-christians when I am hanging out with non-believing friends or even with kids at the street, then when at an event organised by our youth church. What I’ve learned is that if I wan’t to reach out, I should look no further than the people I meet everyday.

  • Jose

    @Mark Van…

    That is already developed here and is already a big movement. YFC (Youth For Christ) developed the curriculum and the vision for that and called it 3 Story Evangelism. They used it for training at DCLA for the last 2 DCLA events and just this past year YFC sold the rights to Youth Specialties along with the DCLA conference. You can actually purchase the curriculum from YS called 3Story…I am a certified trainer and I love it. If you look at the bottom of the page you linked you will see the YFC logo… I love YFC (I work for them; shameless plug) and what 3 Story does…it really does help kids connect their walk and understand and give them the tools to connect their friends life with God’s story.

    I would agree with you Mark when you say…
    “The Art Of Connecting is about life style. It is my experience that I talk
    to more non-christians when I am hanging out with non-believing
    friends or even with kids at the street, then when at an event organised
    by our youth church. What I’ve learned is that if I wan’t to reach out, I
    should look no further than the people I meet everyday.”

    Well said, well said….

  • Jose

    BTW the guy who developed 3 Story was my college professor…another shameless plug for him. Thanks Dave.

  • ahhh….shameless name-dropping plugs…lol.

    Well I went to college with Melissa from Superchic[k].
    My OT professor was Michael W. Smith’s youth pastor when he accepted Christ.
    I went to college with Aaron Neiquist who was a worship leader at Willow Creek and is now leading worship at Mars Hill in Michigan (Rob Bell’s church)
    My mom went to school with one of the Supremes
    I have met Mark Burhle (sp?) pitcher for the White Sox becuase he was at a bar-b-q at my parents house.
    I know Tim Dwight..he now plays for the Jets.

    You know…just to name a few.

    hahaha. Sorry I couldn’t resist. I had to.

  • Wow – lot’s of good comments here. I agree with a lot of what Chris has already pointed out. Also, what others have said about the importance of helping students to do evangelism.

    Something did catch my eye that I wanted to chime in on. Tim said that his Jr. Highers have started bringing unchurched students to Bible Studies. I don’t think this is a freak thing. I’ve noticed in the ministries that I’ve been involved with that students aren’t interested so much in bringing their friends to a big, fun event where they’ll get a fifteen minute gospel presentation. They are, however, interested in bringing their friends to things that they themselves think are important. Personally, in my own philosophy of ministry, I would much rather students bring unchurched teens to an event like a Bible study so that those unchurched teens get a good look at what we do for “churched” teens. I think letting them see the Body of Christ, being the Body of Christ is a good idea.

    Anyone else run into this tendency with students?

  • @ Jose – thanks man. Sometimes people don't catch my humor right away.

    @ Calvin – I agree and I don't think churched kids bringing their non-christian friends to Bible study is a freak thing. I think it's a God thing. If you have a non-Christian who will sit through a Bible study let alone do their work for it they are there becuase the Spirit is working on them….big time. I love it when non-churched or pre-christian teens come to our bible studies. You get some real straight up answers not some churchy ones. It forces and challenges the Christians in the group to step it up.

    One of our students wanted to know more about Christ and asked if he could come to one f our Bible studies so I let him pick the one he wanted to come to. He chose one of the more in depth ones which was cool becuase he is a smart kid. Hardcore atheist….HARDCORE. Of course God had other plans for him and he's now a believer attending Moody Bible Institute to be a youth pastor. But he really challenged the kids that were there when he said one week, "You mean you guys say you believe this stuff but you odn't do the work? I do the work and I'm not a believer…I do it becuase it's important to understanding it." The group was silent and after that everyone did their work every week and it lent itself to some really unique witnessing opportunities for the other students.

  • I am going to respond w/o reading the others. This weekend, I will read the comments / respond off of them.

    I think there are numerous flaws w/ what you mentioned. One, we can not really compete with the culture; no how grand we are.

    As you mentioned, the come to us approach is not really a great style.

    Also, you are asking christian kids what they want; not the non-christian kids – ask them ( non-christian )

    Fourth, I think relational approach will be much better than event approach.

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  • Thanks Tim for this very stimulating prompt. The dialogue in this blog is great… thanks to all for enriching my journey. What a great learning community. Not sure I can contribute to the dialogue more than has been said–but I am willing to send ANYONE a FREE training session for your students and volunteers called “When Your Evangelism Events Aren’t Working.” All you have to do is email me at bill@cadreministries.com and put “Evangelism” in the subject line. I’ll try to make a link you can click to email me:bill@cadreministries.com

  • Amy Kennedy

    Well, I think its always good to start with an awesome weekly program with solid small groups, but we also do large events that occur annually (fall,spring, summer) and their reputation builds year after year. It builds excitement for the ministry, and becomes a great venue for teaching the kids about evangelism and outreach.

    Drench the entire event in prayer. Get a solid team to help plan it… they should include veterans as well as bringing on at least one to two newbies each event. We begin promoting 4-6 weeks in advance, with alot of emphasis on inviting their friends. We offer a salvation message at them and so far God has blessed us with awesome results. Then, we always offer a “What’s Next” that we invite them to at church (something special coming in the next few weeks)… plug it from the stage as well as on the back of the thank you card we hand them on the way out.

    hope this helps!
    love, amy

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