by Chad Miller
I find myself inundated with conflicting messages on how to “do” ministry. Do you? There seem to be a myriad of voices calling for a strategic shift away from a curriculum-based instruction model into a more “experiential” model of teaching. Concurrently, there is a mounting movement to make sure that our students in ministry are receiving structure in a world with an increasing scarcity of structure and pattern. In this dialogue of methodology, I do not envy the new or seeking youth/children’s leader.
I am hopeful that at the core of each position, there is a sincere desire to obey the Lord’s command in Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” We know that at the end of the day, it’s not the container or the frame that brings about an eternal change in the hearts of boys and girls (or men and women); it’s the MESSAGE! My, how passionate we get about our ways of doing things… yet Jesus seems to be pleading with a simple command: “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).
There are two core themes that are of Biblical proportions for measuring effective ministry or methodology. First, does it enable “making disciples of all nations”? Second, does it breed followers of Jesus who are “fishers of men”?
These two presuppositions are the driving force behind the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Dare To Be a Daniel, a youth evangelism training curriculum. Dare To Be A Daniel at its core is about equipping young teens and tweens on how to effectively share Jesus with their friends. It’s not just about a Gospel presentation technique; nor is it another attempt at “lifestyle evangelism.” It’s a real encompassing of 1 Peter 3:15, which reads, “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respectâ€¦” (NIV). Do you see the two clear themes there? The first is a life surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The second is a constant readiness to clearly communicate the Gospel. Do you see a methodology constraint there? I don’t.
Dare To Be a Daniel tackles these two mountains of truth. We use Daniel, the Old Testament prophet, as a clear example of a life surrendered to the Lord and beautifully disciplined in the ways of God. So, we highlight the pillars of Daniel’s life that are easily identified in a way that is both practical and – Âat its core – Â relational to both God and men. Each lesson drives home the points that this is a life kids can live; this is a Gospel they can share; and that they can do it as they surrender to Him. This is the “but in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord…” part from 1 Peter 3:15.
Secondly, we tackle the “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone…” passage using Billy Graham’s “Steps To Peace With God,” which clearly and concisely communicates God’s rescue mission and plan for mankind. While it’s so simple it confounds the wise, it’s also incredibly effective. The verses attached to each of the four steps (God loves you; sin separates you from God; God’s solution is Jesus Christ; trust Jesus) are laid into the curriculum as memory verses. You cannot give what you don’t have. If our students are going to communicate the Gospel to anyone at any time, they’ve got to “hide God’s Word in their hearts” (Psalm 119:11).
Scripture memory enables the student to be able to clearly present the Gospel conversationally when the opportunity arises. We know it works; we’ve witnessed it for more than 50 years now at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and I’m not speaking about our Crusades. As Christians have been equipped and released by our training teams, they’ve become quite effective fishers of men.
More than curriculum, Dare To Be A Daniel is an experience for the student. The student website, DareToBeaDaniel.com, is designed to further hone their walk and talk as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are free resources available to the students, both electronically and in print, that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association makes available to graduates of Dare To Be a Daniel training.
So here’s the challenge to you:
- Will you personally pray and ask God to reignite your commitment to “making disciples of all nations”?
- Will you personally commit to make disciples who are following Jesus and fishing for the souls of men?
- Check out Dare to Be a Daniel and see if it’s a fit for your ministry as you continue down this path.
Some notes about Dare To Be a Daniel:
- a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (not just a resource);
- has training available as a 13-Session group curriculum (ideal for Sunday school);
- has training available as a 5-Session group curriculum (ideal for Sunday school, camps or other week-long settings, weekend lock-ins, other weekend training formats);
- committed to the equipping of the next generation of evangelists.
It is not…
- designed to be a holistic youth ministry. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is committed to proclaiming the Gospel and equipping others to proclaim the Gospel. All the content on the student site will point back to these two elements.
Find out more at billygraham.org/d2bd. Make sure to check out sample lessons, too.
Chad and his wife Ashlie live in Kannapolis, NC with their 2 sons. Ordained in 2000 as a non-denominational preacher, Chad is serving as Director of Dare to be a Daniel, a Youth Evangelism Training Project of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (www.billygraham.org). You can reach him at [email protected]