This guest post was written by Chad Miller.
So how do you reach tweens with the Gospel? We ended our last time together with this premise:
If students reach students the best, sounds like at least one aspect of our evangelistic efforts should include equipping our Christian tweens to reach their friends with the Gospel.
So how do we make that happen?
What practical ways are there to equip young people to wield their tremendous gift of influence?
First, let me pose this question: what do you think of when you think of evangelism training?
Both anecdotal and statistical evidence suggests that most churches’ evangelism/outreach training sessions deal almost entirely with a presentation method.
Though from our pulpits we challenge folks with a relational gospel, we are equipping them with a formulaic presentation for engaging their friends.
It’s as though we’re encouraging people to sell a “thing” rather than point others to a risen Lord.
1 Peter 3:15 (NIV) 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 respect.”
The first part of this verse suggests that there is a Lordship issue.
If Christ isn’t Lord of someone’s life, it will be a “what” presented and not a “who” shared.
This is one of the first aspects of any of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s evangelism training sessions (i.e. Christian Life & Witness Class, FM4:19, Dare to Be a Daniel , etc.)
The good news is the discipleship training or three to five-year scope and sequence that you’re on now with your students for training that deals with character development and basic Biblical theology is key and quite fundamental to evangelism.
The late great revival preacher Leonard Ravenhill was known for asking folks, “Do you have a living relationship with Jesus?” instead of “Have you been saved?”
I love the implication of that statement: are you walking and talking with Jesus? Are you dying daily to self? Is Christ in you?
Then we should see evidence of “the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).
On that note, you would be amazed at how many people commit their lives to Christ in our Evangelism Training sessions.
After we wrestle the Lordship aspect of 1 Peter 3:15, we must move on to the proclamation part – “… always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you.”
Here are some key aspects that we discovered will resonate well with tweens (and folks of all ages for that matter):
Bible Study Time
Whether you are using a tween evangelism training resource or not, you can still be conscious of what I call the “1P315” Factor.
Study 1 Peter 3:15 and then simply ask the question of the text figuratively and of your students literally, “How does this lesson equip you to either share the gospel directly with someone or live a life that would cause someone to ask you about the hope that you have?”
Give a few minutes at the end of class to allow for one or two students to answer that question.
Invite your students to ask that of you at the end of each lesson in case you forget.
I know it’s “old-school” but it’s dead on! Take your favorite Gospel-sharing tool (e.g. BGEA’s “Steps to Peace” with God tract).
Challenge your students to memorize all of the Scriptures associated with that tract.
Then give them the tract.
Let them see how Scriptures can tell God’s Story.
You accomplish two major things when you use memorization for Gospel sharing.
First, familiarity with the Gospel story helps keep them on track when sharing.
Second, memorization helps them acquire the ability to share whether or not they have something in their hand.
Dare to Be a Daniel encourages kids to memorize the Scriptures to communicate four essential truths of coming to Christ:
1. God loves you (John 3:16, John 10:10)
2. Sin separates you from God (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23)
3. Jesus is the way (Romans 5:8, John 14:6, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
4. Our response is to trust Jesus (Romans 10:9, John 1:12)
You can use these Scriptures or others, but the important thing is urging your kids to study and memorize the Word of God.
For we know from the Word itself that “all Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV).
So, I’m fully aware that I’ve just added things to your plate to do during your class time.
I’m also aware that you don’t have a lot of time available for other things in those 30 or 40 minutes.
Here’s where you can leverage huge time-savings, and teach kids God’s heart at the same time.
Repurpose your prayer time for “evangelistic praying.”
Let me suggest a script to frame that time.
“OK Class, when I say ‘go’, I want you to break up into groups of two or three people per group. I want you to share the names of the people in your life that you know need Jesus – they don’t know Him and you want to see that change. So, when I say “go”, you’ll share just the names of those people; not their stories, just their names. Then the first person that shares will start praying for somebody else’s name. You’ll go around the group praying for these names until everyone has been prayed for. You might pray something like, ‘God, I know you’re big enough to save so-and-so; please work in their heart and bring them to You.’ I’ll close our time of prayer in 2 minutes and 37 seconds. READY – GO!”
You’ve taught your kids the importance of lifting up lost loved ones to God as a priority in prayer.
You’ve reclaimed precious time for teaching and sharing.
You’ve also brought them a little closer to realizing God’s heart for our lives – that others might know Him intimately and bring Him the glory He so rightfully deserves.
Finally, let them go.
Equip your kids, resource them appropriately, pray for them faithfully, then let them go and live a life that matters!
Show them, by your own life, what it means to live so that others might be drawn to ask you about the hope that is in you.
I know that you care about reaching young people for Christ. What we’re finding at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association through Dare to Be a Daniel is that your students may be the best means to do that – reaching their friends with the hope of the Gospel.
Are they ready? Are you ready?
Chad and his wife Ashlie live in Kannapolis, NC with their 2 sons. At the time this article was written, he was ordained in 2000 as a non-denominational preacher, Chad was serving as Director of Dare to be a Daniel, a Youth Evangelism Training Project of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
© 2009 BGEA, used by permission