Tag Archives: Student Evangelism

5 Lessons Learned From a Local Mission Trip

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of leading a group of students on a mission trip.  We didn’t need plane tickets, or even a full tank of gas for that matter.  It was a mission trip in our very own city.  Our student ministry takes short-term mission trips very seriously.  But missionaries don’t just live in foreign countries, but also reside locally as well.  So each year, we try to give the students a different perspective of missions.  Here’s what I learned from this year’s local trip:

  1. Train for the 100m AND the marathon. Runners have to train for running short distances as well as long distances.  They have to eat right, train, lift weights, and stretch for each race.  Same with mission trips.  Just because it is a local trip, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have training.  Use the time you have with your students for unity building, leadership training, discipleship, and evangelism training.  You might be surprised how much the training will benefit a trip that is at your church or down the road.
  2. Don’t Miss What Is Right In Front of You. If a local trip is going to accomplish one thing, hopefully it increases the love for your community.  This is something I really saw in the students as we they went out and did puppet shows, and did some painting projects.  They really enjoyed serving and caring for their community.  A great benefit of local trips.
  3. Expectations Blown. I set some expectations for the students each day of what I wanted to accomplish, and they blew those expectations out of the water.  It was good to set a bar to reach, but when the students jump over that bar, it’s oh so sweet.
  4. Follow-up. Something I am learning I need to do is to make sure I follow-up more efficiently.  Sometimes I give an assignment like an email…it’s sent, check it off the list.  I need to make sure I give out assignments and tasks (delegation and leadership training is a healthy thing), but also follow up with those tasks.  I’m a work in progress.
  5. Make the connection. We did some projects for our children’s ministry this week.  We did puppet shows to help promote VBS, and we painted rooms in our children’s wing.  Why?  Because we wanted to love our community, but we also wanted our students to grow in their love for THEIR church.  I want them to WANT to invite others to church, to be proud of how they are part of the church, and a growing love for their church family.  I think this “trip” only added to those goals.

What about you?  Have you done any local trips lately?  What have you done, and what did you learn?  Would love to hear the good, the bad, and the blessings.

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Mocking Evangelism

What’s wrong with me, I’m currently reading a book called “Questioning Evangelism”, and I’m about to blog about Mocking Evangelism. Before you start throwing stones at your computer, let me straighten things out here. Questioning Evangelism is a book about using questions in evangelism. And I’m not encouraging mocking evangelism, but the use of Mock Evangelism events.
Mock Evangelism events are a staged event where students can practice sharing the Gospel with those they know and trust. How is it done? Well, let me help you explain by answering 3 Questions: Why, Where, & Who?evangelism4

Why? Maybe your youth ministry is different, but I’m entering my 3rd year in my current ministry, and when I polled the high schoolers, very few have ever led anyone to the Gospel. So I wanted them to learn how to do it in a “safe environment”. So the Mock Event allows the students to practice their gospel presentations with familiar faces before they go out and share with strangers.
Where? My goal is to make it real as possible. One time I set the gym up like a lunchroom, another was a park, and last year was the streets of Chicago. Also sounds are effective. So, in that lunchroom setting, I was the principal and would give announcements from the sound system. Or for a mission trip to Chicago, I showed slides with sights and sounds of downtown Chicago.
Who? In the past, I’ve mentioned the importance of intergenerational ministry.  Well, here is one way to accomplish bridging the generations together. Each time, I invite several adult small groups to come and participate. For the student lunch room, I had adults dress up like cheerleaders, athletes, or in goth costumes. For the park, one guy was passed out on a bench, another was painting portraits, and another was playing catch with his kids. BEST PART: Gave permission to adults to “step out” of character when needed and instruct or encourage the teen. Say things like “Here’s what you can say here” when they get stuck or “that was really good, keep going”. This is a real opportunity for natural discipleship/mentoring to take place.

Extra: Be Creative. Use sounds, people of your church, PowerPoint, decorations. Make it real, so when you do take your students out, they will be as ready as they can be. Cater to your Trip. For example: I knew part of the Chicago trip would be to invite people from their homes. So I had “actors” in side rooms ready to answer the door. The teens had no idea who they would meet on the other side. Hilarious! But it gave them experience of what they would face on the trip, and in real life.

Hopefully you can see the value of Mock Evangelism Events, particularly in the mission trip training process. However, I’ve used these events concluding series on the importance of sharing the Gospel. Please, don’t allow this event to be a replacement for the real thing, but as a training ground for your students to be sent out as missionaries in their homes, neighborhoods, schools, communities, and around the world.

 

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Evangelism Resources

In a previous blog on Evangelism, I mentioned the value of setting students up for Evangelism success.  Now, before I move on, let me just clarify.  There is no A + B = Angels Rejoicing in Heaven.  In other words, God is in charge, and it is up the Spirit of God moving in the heart of that individual.  A teen could have a perfect Gospel presentation, and the person listening could still say no thanks.

That being said, it is important you give your students the tools to succeed in evangelism.  One was mentioned here, giving you the website for the wordless bracelets and 4 points bracelets.  These are so valuable because you do not need to bring any materials, simply wear the bracelet for a visual presentation.  It’s like having a PowerPoint presentation on your arm.

share-Jesus-on-TwitterHere are 5 resources that I have used or have had recommended to me are the following:

  1. The Mission Ball – A soccer ball with the Gospel?  Many mission trips will have a language barrier.  This tool can break the ice, and with soccer being a universal sport language, this could be your ticket to a Gospel conversation.  Their website describes it as “simply a soccer ball covered with Biblical text. It includes the 10 Commandments, God’s simple plan of Salvation, and selected Scripture.”
  2. May I Ask You a Question Tracts – These come in multiple languages and are simple to use.  Many people who have used these tracts call them simple, clear, and effective.
  3. Solarium – Are you a visual person like me?  These tracts provide a visual presentation, by presenting the Gospel through pictures.  A tool developed by Campus Crusade, and is described on their website as 50, 4×6 original photographic images and 5 simple questions that allow you to enter and explore the lives of people around you.  Soularium is designed to create a space for authentic dialogue with people about their life and spiritual journey. It’s perfect to use with students, neighbors, co-workers, friends and family – people of all ages!”
  4. EE – 2 Diagnostic Questions – Use these questions to begin Gospel conversation:  1. Have you come to a place in your spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven, or is that something you would say you’re still working on?  2.   Suppose that you were to die today and stand before God and He were to say to you, “Why should I let you into my heaven?”  What would you say?
  5. eCube – This cube designed Gospel presentation is great for child evangelism.  It’s easy to learn and use, and is a fun way to present the Good News.  This valuable resource also comes in a kids version.

So there you have it.  Help your students share Jesus with these five resources.  Set your students up for success.  Five fun ways to share the Gospel, which will re-energize the passion for the lost in your teens and provide learnable ways to share Jesus with others.

What about you?  What evangelism resources have you used in your ministries that have worked with teenagers?  Share in the comments section, and help others share Jesus more effectively.

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Evangelism Series – Mission Trips

Mission Trips.  What comes to your mind?  I can sum up my experience with these trips in two words:  life-changing and once-in-a-lifetime.  That’s right, I set the bar pretty high, but let me explain what I mean.

In presenting these trips to teens and parents each year, these are the two words I continue to come back to over and over.  Life-Changing.  It is rare that I see a teen, who has gone through training with the proper attitude and teachable spirit and that does not experience some type of spiritual life change (Barna Research agrees).  Once-in-a-lifetime.  How could I make such a claim?  Well, ask your parents, how often do you get to go to camps to serve for a week as an adult?  How often do you take international trips to Japan or Mexico?  Well, when you put it like that…I guess these trips are really Once-in-a-lifetime.evangelism3

So what about Evangelism?  How do you prepare the students to evangelize?  What tools have helped them feel equipped and ready to share the Gospel?  Here are steps to preparing your teens for evangelism for a mission trip.

  1. Train ‘Em.  Before I even start.  You must require each student to commit to mission training.  This training should last several months, and attendance is required.  (2 absences – extra assignment, 3 absences – meeting with parents, 4 absences – dismissal from team.  (Here are some previous article on mission training- here, here, and here)
  2. Can I Get a Witness?  You guys know this generation.  It thrives on community, relationships…while previous generations were centered on knowledge and facts…this generation seeks connections and a cause.  Well, that’s what a testimony can bring.  So, as part of your mission trip training, teach them how to give their testimony.  Both kinds of testimony – the obvious one and the most precious – when they gave their life to Jesus Christ.  But there is another – the testimony of what God is doing in their life now.  TEACH them how to develop these testimonies.  Have them write them out.  Have them share them with the group, with family, with friends…publicly in church or with in conversation with unsaved family & friends.
  3. Fool’s Gospel.  Make sure you are on the same page on what is the true Gospel.  There is some confusion as to what the Gospel is out there.  Guess what?  The Gospel is not giving to the poor, the Gospel is not helping your community…those are things that can lead people to the Gospel or can show the love that is in the Gospel…but not the Gospel.  The Gospel in a nutshell, is the Good News that Jesus, God’s only Son, who did not sin, died a painful death on the cross, to pay the penalty of sin, and provides forgiveness & eternal life in heaven for all those that repent and trust in Him.  It is not what we have done, but is all about what God has done in the finished work of Jesus…Our students need to know this.
  4. Tools For Success.  It is important we do not set our teens up for failure.  So, it is important we give them the tools to succeed.  For example – Wordless Bracelets, E3 Bands (My favorite), or 4points.  Have students wear these AND teach them how to use them.  Provide training on each color, what it represents, verses of support, and illustrations.  Practice within the group.  These bracelets have been so effective – I’ve had some of my students use them at children’s ministry events this year.  They set up a table and make the bracelets & share the Gospel with them.  All because they were given the TOOLS to succeed.  I don’t want these teens on the mission trip fishing with no bait on the hook.  With nothing to fall back on when they get nervous.
  5. Leave it to the Pro’s.  Bring in a professional.  If you are going to work with kids on the trip, bring in your children’s director (that may be you, I know) or an experienced Sunday school teacher, or someone with a teaching background.  Bring the generations together and allow that teacher to teach your students how to present the Gospel to kids.  (Intergenerational Ministry ).  Maybe you are going into a different culture.  Bring someone with that culture experience to teach them how they can be more effective with Gospel conversations.  (Example: Spanish Teacher from Community College)

Disclaimer:  Make sure your students are evangelizing at home too, and not just on the mission trips.  Remind them that every step they take is on the mission field.

 

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Evangelism Events – Part 2

As promised, here are 50 events that I have participated in over the years.  Some are outdated, some went very well, some were flops…After reading the list.  Feel free to comment about some of the events that you have done over the years!

1. Where’s Waldo
2. Mall Masquerade
3. Clue
4. Diamond Smugglers
5. Video Scavenger Hunt
6. “Make your own video” night
7. Parent Appreciation Night
8. Coffee House
9. Talent Show
10. K-Nine/Matt-Ball
11. Dodgeball
12. Capture-the-flag
13. Frisbee golf
14. Monopoly – LIFESIZE
15. Open Gym
16. Sardines
17. Bigger & Better
18. Mafia
19. 4 on the couch
20. Board Game Night
21.  Amazing Race
22. Survivor
23.  Bunko
24.  Mystery Dinner
25.  Director’s Cut – Make your own movie
26. Fear Factor
27.  Miniature Golf
28.  Bowling
29.  Laser Tag
30.  Prom Night (Alternative to dancing)
31.  Disco Night (milkshakes, blob movie)
32.  5th Quarter Party
33.  Guys/Girls Nights
34.  Back to School Night/Church Picnic
35.  Theme/Water Park
36.  Word of Life SuperBowl
37. Widow/Singles Valentine Dinner
38. Camping Trip
39.  Basketball/Dodgeball Marathon
40. Teens Involved
41.  Attend a Sports Game
42.  Olympics
43.  Winter Retreat
44.  WinterJam
45.  Fall Retreat
46. Super Bowl Party
47.  Small Group Day
48.  Camp
49.  Ice Skate/Roller Skate
50.  Turkey Bowl
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Evangelism Training Curriculum

evangelism_1Last week, we kicked off the Evangelism blog series with Trying Something New in Evangelism.  Evangelism must be an integral part of any student or youth ministry.  But where do you start?  In the next few weeks, I’ll be presenting ideas, recommendations, and evaluations of evangelism resources that may help revitalize student’s passion, training, and execution of personal evangelism in their lives.  Let’s begin with the evaluation of evangelism training curriculum…here are a few I have used in the past:

Contagious Christian (Youth Edition)

The Good:

  1. Helped the teen understand their evangelistic style – confrontational, intellectual, testimonial, interpersonal, invitational, & serving
  2. Eliminated excused based on characteristics or weaknesses of student
  3. Promoted the use of testimony in witnessing

The Bad:

  1. Weak on developing a evangelism method/gospel presentation
  2. Teens struggled to put material into practice

Recommendation:  This would act as a good complement to Evangelism training, but was not effective in a stand-alone series.

 

Evangelism Explosion (Adult Version)

The Good:

  1. Superior evangelism method training/gospel presentation
  2. Develops a consistent, usable witness script
  3. Provides valuable illustrations and clarification points for non-believer conversations

The Bad: (more difficult, than bad)

  1. Length – 13 week session, which includes memorization & visitation

Recommendation:  For ready-to-work, mature students, it is highly recommended for evangelism training

 

Everyone Matters (Simply Youth Ministry)

The Good

  1. Good utilization and development of testimony
  2. Fair assessment and explanation of the evangelism process, very real & honest

The Bad

  1. Brief – example would be the Gospel explanation is one session.
  2. Does not contain a strong evangelism method training

Recommendation:  Provides a good introduction to evangelism, but not enough content for complete training.

 

2nd Greatest Story Ever Told (Simply Youth Ministry/Doug Fields)

The Good

  1. Fits well in a mission training context
  2. Good, practical development of student’s testimony

The Bad

  1. Strictly used for testimony work, not evangelism training as a whole

Recommendation:  Good tool in developing testimony, not complete evangelism training.

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