Tag Archives: Testimony

I Love the Bride of Christ

A testimony by a man who grew in his love for the church.  Let it be our prayer that we love the Bride of Christ…allow it to be a place of healing, a place of refuge, of place of life change, a place of worship, and a place we can call God’s house.  What do you want your church to be?

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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

Continuing our Evangelism blog series, our next stop is evangelism events.  You see, what is the point in training our students in evangelism, if we don’t allow them to use it.  As Andy Stanley says in his book, The Seven Checkpoints, “We waste our time and breath if we tell our teenagers that God has equipped each of them for ministry and then not provide opportunities for them to do just that.”

Listen, the sky is the limit here.  Events range from dodgeball to paintball, shopping to scavenger hunts, and formal dinners to eating contests.  If you are a youth worker reading this, you could probably rattle off 200 evangelistic events off the top of your head.  If not, next week, I’ll provide a list of event ideas for you.

This week is more about the preparation and purposeful evangelism of each event.  You know, there is a time and place to host an event for unity or to get to know students.  But for the most part, events need to have a purpose, and when it is evangelism, be purposeful in your planning.Evangelism

Here are 4 things to implement in your next evangelistic event:

  1. Hunting is not allowed.  Your evangelistic events should not be a hunting experience, where you shoot down visitors with the Gospel, and simply have a count by the end of the day.  NO!  Have a detailed plan of follow-up for these events.  Counselors available immediately after the speaker/gospel are vital to the students first steps in the family of God.  Registration cards for long-term follow-up and discipling are a must.
  2. No age limit.  Who said the speaker and workers had to be adults.  Get your students involved.  Let them be the speaker.  Let them plan the event and the details.  Give them opportunity to use their gifts for the sake of the Gospel!
  3. I need a witness.  Testimonies are powerful.  If you are not a speaker, or your student has trouble coming up with a message…give your story.  Your story of salvation is the second best story ever told.  The first is the Gospel.  Tell them both!
  4. Join the Party.  When someone gives their life to Jesus, join the party in heaven.  Don’t just raise your hands with heads bowed, have them stand up.  Cheer for what happened.  This may not work everywhere, but when someone accepts Christ, celebrate it whenever possible.

 

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How to Plan a Mission Trip Report Service

missions1In most church situations, members of the church contributed in numerous ways to the youth mission trip.  Whether it was being a faithful prayer warrior, donating materials, or contributing financially, the church as a whole was invested in the student mission trip.  Therefore, it is wise to dedicate a service to celebrate what God did on the trip.

Here’s how you plan such a service, and I broke it down into categories for you because I’m such a nice guy:

Music:

Depending on the talent and trip experience, you may not have the capacity of the youth being in charge of the music for the service.  If that is the case, then you simply have the normal praise team sing, play, and lead per the norm.

However, if music was a big part of your mission trip outreach, then by all means, allow the church to participate in what you have worked so hard to prepare and present on the field.  Even if it is children-centered music, so what!  Sing praises to the Lord!

I’ve done it both ways and they both are effective.  Again, it just depends on your circumstances.

Service Responsibilities:

This is an opportunity to teach your teens responsibility and also provide ministry training.  So, go all out and allow the teens to be ushers, door holders, sound technicians (supervised, if needed), lead the opening prayer, give announcements…and the list goes on.  Take advantage of being able to put teens in places during the main service, and hope that it sticks on a regular basis.  I’ve seen teens continue in the sound booth or do announcements periodically as a result of this opportunity.

Trip Recap:

It’s tough to pack in all the details into one sitting, but do your best.  Separate the trip training, the responsibilities and the trip days into smaller chunks.  Allow several of your students to explain each aspect of the trip, both preparation and the trip itself.

Testimonies/Message:

Typically, I say something to the effect of “this was a student mission trip, so you don’t want to hear from me, you want to hear from the students”.  And you know what, it’s true!  So get the students on stage and allow them to give their testimony.  Typically I ask for volunteers, but this year, each of them got on stage and said the following:  Name, Grade, # Mission Trip, Responsibilities on the trip, & lesson God taught them.  The impact this had on the church was astounding!  I’m still hearing great things from this!  Sure, many of the teens will be extremely nervous.  Sure, you may need to help them with their speech.  Sure, you may need to hand out paper bags for them to breathe into…but it’s worth it, and the parents will be thrilled.  If possible include leaders in this testimony time.  (Disclaimer:  I realize if your group is large, this is near impossible, so maybe have them each write/type it out and put in book form & have the older students or those that experience life change give testimony)

As for the message, if you have a student mature enough to present the message, then by all means.  Again, anything you can hand off to the students, then do so.  With this, please spend weeks up to the message helping prepare and craft the message with the teen.  Don’t leave them hanging to prepare for a message.  If a message is too big to handle for your students, then allow some to give short devotionals from the Scripture you studied in training or on the trip.

Video:mission-trip-Video1

Everybody likes a video.  Put some music to it.  And if you’re like me, you probably have students that could do this way better than you, so give them the pictures and video and let them have at it.

Other ideas: Include other summer activities within the time of testimony for those that worked at camps or those that were impacted by camp or summer conference.

There ya have it.  If you have more ideas, I’d love to hear from you.

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Power in a Testimony

I recently attended a small youth leader network meeting (that’s a whole other topic, but add those meeting to your calendar if you seek longevity)…and in that meeting a youth pastor shared about an opportunity he gave his students to share a testimony about Jesus.  He opened the stage, and…crickets.  But then a girl came up and shared how she used to be a cutter, but now she has Jesus…then an hour later with many tears and many testimonies later, each story was heard.

Also, during that meeting we each shared our testimony, our story with each other.  God had taken us through different journeys to call us into ministry, to strip us of our pride, to bring us to the cross…what a blessing that was to hear.

Why do I say all of this…because there is power in a testimony.  Believers we have something special.  Something you will hear me say often is that everyone has a story.  But here is the difference we have – our story is about Jesus, and there is POWER in that story.

So use it!  Somehow allow testimonies to be part of your services, your program, your ministry.  Because when you hear what Jesus has done.  Not sure how?  Here are some examples:

Others:

Norm

I am Second

Nick Vujicic

How do you use testimonies in your church?  Are there other videos that you have used as examples?  And most importantly, what is your Jesus story?  Do you have one?  Maybe these stories will inspire you to have one of your own.

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