How to do Youth Evangelism! This curriculum can be used to teach youth groups how to be an effective witness.
Now before we can be a good witness we have to do some self examination. Are you a good Christian? Are you a good example? Do you have, character, love and Fruit flowing from you? First off, you need to understand, when you share about the Lord to someone, what is that person seeing in you?
This is very important, because, when we venture out into evangelizing you may think you are asking someone to know our Lord, "would you like to be a Christian?" But, what we are actually asking people is, "Would you like to be like me?"
Why is this? In Evangelism our goal is to help people come to Christ. But, they do not know Christ yet; all they know is you and other Christians! So, the question that is so imperative is, Are love, character, care, friendliness, and a personality that lifts up people coming from you? Because, the non-Christian will only know Christ through us (Christians) until the Holy Spirit intervenes; thus, we must be careful how we plant His seed in our daily actions, words, and deeds, and how we tell someone about the Lord. Remember, in Matthew, chapter 23, Jesus warns us about misleading people. People will look to you for a model of the Christian life; if you are not modeling it or you are modeling it wrong, then do not tell people about Him, because you will do more damage than good. Make sure that your life is focused on Christ before you tell others to do so!
So we must first need to look in ourselves and see, are you a good "me"? Are you a person others should strive to be like? Be honest! If not do not evangelize, get yourself right with Christ first. Seek Him and these questions, how is:
Your character? Your Fruit? Your personality? Your friendliness? Your love? Your care? Or?
Keep in mind the song; they will know we are Christians by our love, by our love….
So, how do I become a good "me?" The main thing is that our personal prayer and devotional life must be growing and active. We cannot do the work of God unless we are the people of God! We must be in prayer, active in a good youth discipleship / small group program so we can present Christ in the clearest, truest way possible. Then, we must add love, care, and sincerity while sharing. Remember, Jesus Christ is the Holy, Eternal God of the Universe; He loves you and He loves others, too!
We represent Him by how we present and stand for Christ by knowing the Scriptures and proclaiming Him with passion from our spiritual growth, with conviction, because we know He is true, with clarity, so we make sense, and we are to have compassion and love for the people with whom we are sharing. In addition, we are to proclaim Christ in truth. That is, we never make up testimonies, or skew the truth of His Word to fit our agenda or ideas.
We will not be perfect, (I know I am not) and God will still use us and our frailties. However, don't we want to be a better "me," a better caring and loving Christian who is grounded in the faith?
Witnessing is basically simple; all we have to do is explain Jesus, in love, with the above precepts of passion, conviction, compassion, clarity, and truth. It also helps greatly to show our love and care! You are to know the culture of others and be relevant, but love that is real, along with the Gospel, needs no modifying. We are His ambassadors; we are never to misrepresent Him (2 Corinthians )! The Spirit is the real True Witness. We do not save people; we only present Christ to people! All we do is allow His work in us and in others (John 3:3-6; Acts1:8; Romans 5:4-5; 8:14, 26-27; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Galatians 4:6; 5:22-23; Hebrews 13:5-6).
There are many different approaches to be an effective witness, and I have used just about all of them at one time or another. Some work for some people very well, while the same approach for another does not. But, we can distill key precepts to help shape the best way for us, as individuals, to match our method with our personality and available time. We are going to look at a simple plan from Andrew, more insights from Philip, and a few thoughts from my learning and experiences, too. Not all methods work for every situation and person, but there are key essentials that must be working for any approach to be successful. What is the best approach to witnessing? The one you pick up with honesty and sincerity! The best one is one you are comfortable with and the one that you use!
Andrew's Primer on Witnessing
Look at Andrew in the John 1:40-42 passage. Notice what Andrew does and how he goes about reaching his brother and his friends. Andrew has an encounter with Jesus and his life is radically transformed. He becomes excited, and seeks whom he can tell first. Jesus impacts Him greatly and he wants to share that impact with others. God then uses him to transform the lives of others. God can, and will use you, too! As a Christian, your life has been transformed; now, consider to whom you can tell your story.
The key precepts are to be transformed, be excited, and then share with others His impact on you!
Step I - Pray: Andrew knew Jesus, so we can consider this a prayer, and we can pray for people to know and to tell (Proverbs ).
Step II - Be Excited: We need to experience the veracity and excitement of our faith so we will desire to tell it to another person. We need to realize that the Spirit is with us, powerful and ready! Christianity is not a spectator sport or something we do vicariously though our pastors and leaders; it is something we are and we do ourselves (John )!
Step III - Look for whom to tell: Whom can we tell? Who would like to know about how Jesus transformed me? Who needs to know? (And, the answer is: everyone who does not know!) Now, look around you; whom do you know who does not know the Lord in a personal way? Your mission field is wherever you are! Your friends, family, school, work, neighbors...observe the entire scope of relationships around you. First, go to immediate family, then relatives, then close friends, then classmates, then neighbors, then business associates, then acquaintances, and finally, any person whom God places in your path! You need not venture to the far-off reaches of foreign countries unless called to do so. Rather, see who is in front of you now, and write those names down on a list or in a journal (Proverbs 29:18)!
Step IV - Pray More: Make your list, and keep those people in prayer on a regular basis! Get others to pray for them, too! Your list of perspective people will comprise your primary opportunities; thus, prayer is the quintessential thing you do and what the Spirit uses to open people's hearts.
Step V - Look for Opportunities: Pray for open opportunities to tell others in love and with care. Pray for the bravery to tell them! Remember, never argue or confront; allow the Spirit to work! Get together with others and pray for people on their lists, too (Matthew )!
Step VI - Cultivate Relationships: Relationships are valuable. Do not befriend people just to witness to them; be real and sincere; be open and care! Look for opportunities to invite them to crusades, church socials, and such. Let them see Christ in you before you open your mouth about Him! But, do not just invite them to church stuff; find interests to share in, too! The more they know you and see character and fruit in you, the more their hearts and minds will be willing to hear from you! The saying, "people do not care what you have to say until they know you care," is pivotal and true!
Step VII Talk: Saint Francis said, But as for me, I desire this privilege from the Lord, that never may I have any privilege from man, except to do reverence to all, and to convert the world by obedience to the Holy Rule rather by example than by word. In other words, preach Christ with passion and conviction, and, if necessary, use words! There will come a time when you will have the privilege to answer questions and even lead them in a salvation prayer!
Step VIII - Commitment: Whether they make a commitment to Christ or not, be a friend, be open, and be reliable. If/when they do accept Christ, make sure they are getting encouragement from you and others, are in a good teaching and loving church and youth group, are being discipled in a Bible study or small group, and have the tools and resources they need.
Step IX - Pray: Continue to pray for them.
Step X - Pray: Really continue to pray for them (Jeremiah 33:3)!
Can't remember these steps? Then, remember this, prayer, care, and share! These three words will transform your witnessing ventures greatly when followed and practiced!
There are more approaches in our Evangelism Channel, in the article "How to Share your Faith!"
So, how else can you go about it?
What else can I do?
· Ask for the heart, strength, perseverance, patience, gifts, and the willingness of your church to obey. Ask for more prayer warriors!
· Effective witnessing comes out of our devotional life and gratitude toward Christ, not out of obligation!
· Ask God what the needs are, and for Him to reveal those as well as opportunities to meet them.
· Make sure you care, and have an attitude of love and concern for the people or person to whom you are witnessing; if not, do not! Care is absolutely essential; remember, people will not care what you have to say unless they know you care!
· Ask God to send His Spirit to soften the hearts of people so when they hear His message, they will respond.
· Make a list of all the people you need to pray for, the concerns of the town in which you live, and other concerns God gives you.
· Know that God can and will use you, no matter how little or how much you know. God uses the regular folks over the pastors, leaders, and the superstars (1 Corinthians )!
· According to surveys from The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and others, over 80% of people who come to the Lord are led by friends-not events or crusades! In addition, 80% of people who do come to know the Lord at crusades were brought there by….friends….people like you and me!
· Depend on the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:4-5)!
Develop Real, Authentic Relationships! (1 Corinthians 9:19-23)
What are the keys to Andrew's or anyone's good, effective witness? It is prayer and the ability to develop relationships! It boggles my mind how many Christians I know who have no relationships, friends, or even acquaintances outside of the church. They only know other Christians, and only shop in other Christian's businesses to the point they are in a sub culture of a "Christian only mindset." It becomes monasticism without the piety! This is a travesty! Yes, we are to have fellowship, and our principle relationships should be with people who are in Christ. But, how can we be salt and light if we never go where the salt and light is needed? God does not call us to separate from others; in fact it is the opposite. We are to go to them without being contaminated by them. Scripture warns us that we are to be the influencers, not the ones being influenced (Proverbs ; Matthew 5:13-16; 2 Corinthians 5:19-20; Ephesians 4:20-24; Colossians 3:5-17; 1 Peter 3:2-3).
Are you a maker and builder of friends? How so? Why not? (see our resources on our "Relationship" Channel on how to build friendships) This is not about being an extrovert or having the "personality" to do so. Yes, some are better at it than others, but we are all called to make friends. To be honest, I am not good in this area. I score high as an extrovert on those personality inventories, but that is because of my profession as a pastor. I tend to go out of my way to meet and greet people, but really, I am a natural introvert! I have to work at this! I had to learn to be a "go getter" of people, to make friends and befriend people. Perhaps, you need to do so, too!
· Be purposeful! To whom are you going? We need to have a target before we can aim the Gospel (Acts ; 2 Corinthians 13:1)!
· Be real! Caution! Be genuine! Guard against only getting to know people so you can witness to them. Yes, that is a primary aspect. But, we are called to be in relationships. If people find out you are only interested in proselytizing, your witness will be compromised to nothing (Mark -23; Romans 12:9; 1 Peter )!
· Be excellent! Do not be a nuisance, especially at school. A good Christian always does his or her school work with excellence and fortitude, and does not abuse school time for Gospel time (1 Corinthians 7:23; Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3: 22-25, 28).
· Be willing to take the time! We have to be willing to go where the people are, and spend time with them. It may take years for a missionary on the field to learn the language, the culture, and build connections before he or she can be used effectively.
· Be a friend winner! The purpose of our witnessing is to offer people a relationship with Christ. This is best done when we have a relationship with them. We must first win them as friends before we can win them to our Lord!
· Be a smile maker! Smile at people! It takes seventy-two muscles to frown, but only fourteen to smile. People love a smile! Think about how you feel when someone smiles at you, and realize how important it is to do so to others, too.
· Be a person who uses people's names! Call people by name! Take the time to remember someone's name, and use it. The sweetest music to anyone's ear is the sound of one's own name!
· Be engaging! Speak to people! Take the chance! Step up to the plate! Venture beyond your fears, and engage someone in dialog. Be willing to keep your friends close, but also go outside of your clique and comfort zone to talk to others. There is nothing as nice as a cheerful word, or an honest, friendly greeting! You know it when you get a nice greeting; so, why not give one to others?
· Be friendly and helpful! Most people I have known and observed, who have few or no friends, do not make the effort to be a friend. If you would like to have friends, then, be friendly!
· Be caring! Be genuinely interested in people! Take the time to listen and show you care. Plan your schedule so you have time for people. If you are always in a rush, your relationships will suffer greatly. People whom God has brought to you will be ignored, thereby wasting the help, ministry, and influence you could have given. Christian empathy means involvement, and showing that you care!
· Be pleasant and cordial! Be a person who is nice and engaging to others. Speak and act as if they are the most important persons in the room, and do so as if it is a genuine pleasure, as it should be!
· Be considerate with the feelings of others! It will be appreciated. Each person is unique, created and loved by God. Acknowledge this, and make your responses to others in this light.
· Be thoughtful of the opinions of others. There are three sides to every controversy or disagreement, yours, that of the other person, and that of God-which is the right one! We must not rely on our own presumptions and assumptions, because, we do not have all of the facts. Seek to know and understand the other person's perspective, and start your dialog with those agreements.
· Be an encourager! Be generous with praise! Seek to find something that a person has done that is good-a personality trait, what they are wearing, or a smile that you noticed-and let them know. Be the person who takes the time to encourage others, but, do so honestly; no one likes a pretentious pretender. Most people go though their day, some even surrounded by Christians, and they are never encouraged!
· Be cautious with criticism! No one likes to be patronized or put down! There are times we are to correct others or motivate them in a better direction, but we must do so with an attitude of love and care, showing patience, respect, and tact, even while being firm.
· Be ready to give your witness! What counts most in life is who we are in Christ, and then our response of gratitude for what He has done for us by doing for others!
What about witnessing at school?
Your school or club is perhaps your most effective arena for outreach. You may not be able to verbally share the Gospel, nor should you on school time, but you can be a Christ-like example so others will seek you out and ask you what makes you different. Your character and authentic friendship will help make you stand out, and then you can take opportunities to share seriously! Remember most youth are lonely, confused and need hope in a dazed and perplexed world! Build the relationships, take classmates to lunch, meet them after school, go to a dance, a football or any sports game, a social, a church, a community or work event, and talk there (make sure your parents know where you are, you do not want to create new problems while solving others…). The key is the attitude we are to have, and that is looking to Christ as our lead so we do our service for Him. Therefore, we are to be our best for His glory, regardless of our circumstances, and we can respond with a good attitude (1 Corinthians ).
We must adjust our mindset to see school as an opportunity to please Him. Not just a place of hurt, drudgery or oppression… In so doing, we can be a blessing to those around us. We are not in school to witness. Allow your good and caring attitude to become contagious, making you stand out, and inviting opportunities. Be aware that this will also lead to persecution from those with less than "nice" mindsets. The main thing to remember is that people will see Christ through you in the school -either as modeling a God to come to, or, one from whom to be repelled. Remember to ask the question, How do people at school see Christ through you?
Remember, Christ-like attitude and the Fruits of the Spirit are paramount, as well as sensibleness, self-control, and cooperation. (Romans 12:1-2; 2 Peter 1:4) Seek to emulate Christ's character and you will excel (Proverbs 12:24; 13:4; 19:15; 24:30-32; Romans 8:17; Galatians 6:9; Colossians 3:23; Philippians 2:1-11; Ephesians 6:5-8; Titus 2: 9-20; 1Timothy 6:1-2; James 1: 8).
Make relationships that are real and authentic outside of your Christian subculture, youth group, church, club; be the salt and the light, and you will be an effective witness (Matthew 5:13-16)!
Some passages to consider: Proverbs 15:30; Jeremiah 33:3; Matthew 18:19; John 1:1-14; -42; Acts 8:12, 26-40; 1 Corinthians 1:27; 2:4-5; 3:6; ;
-23; 2 Corinthians 5:20; Ephesians 6:5-8; Colossians 3: 22-25, 28
Questions to Ponder:
1. Who and what do people see in you? When you share about the Lord to someone, what is that person seeing in you? Your character? Your Fruit?
2. How do passion, conviction, clarity, compassion, love, and truth come from you when you proclaim Christ? How should it?
3. How do you feel about what comes across the minds of others when you are witnessing, and that you are in fact saying, would you like to be like me? Are you a good "me"? Are you a person others should strive to be like? Be honest!
4. Does knowing that the Word (John 1:1-14) is cross-cultural and cuts through all languages, people groups, and time give you greater assurance and faith to be a witness?
5. Go over the witnessing plan from Andrew; then, come up with your own plan. Practice it, refine it, and commit to it!
6. What is in the way of your becoming an effective witness? How can and how will you deal with or remove the obstacles?
7. Make a list of people and be an Andrew to others. When and where will you do this first?
8. What are the tools, accountability, resources and encouragement you may need to make this happen? Now go get them, so you can help get others for Him!
There are more resources in our Evangelism Channel
Richard Joseph Krejcir is the Director of "Into Thy Word Ministries," a discipling ministry. He is the author of the book, Into Thy Word, and is also a youth pastor, teacher, and speaker. He is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in