How to encourage young people to share their faith

INTRODUCTION

Without a doubt the best people to tell young people about Jesus are young people.  Our job is to train, equip, resource, enable and empower young people to have a go.  If we teach our young people to share their faith this really can happen. The question is – are we ready for it?

“Imagine all of the UK in communities’ large and small, churches working together, bringing Jesus’ story alive through word and deed.  Imagine lives turned upside down and despair turned inside out.  Imagine lives changed and communities transformed for the sake of the Kingdom of God up and down our country. We need churches and youth groups who are committed to serving the last, the least and the lost.  We need churches and youth groups who think Kingdom and churches and youth groups who are prepared to commit to youth led mission as an integral part of their programme, not just an added extra.”

THEOLOGY

Matthew 28 vs 16-20

When Jesus told his followers to go and make disciples of all nations, it wasn’t just a great idea, a good suggestion, or something to do if you had nothing else to do.  What Jesus said on that mountain top 2000 years ago was to change history forever.  Far too often we forget that what Jesus said then applies to us today. As people working with young people we need to model sharing our faith with those around us and train and equip our young people to do the same.

Acts 1 vs 7-8

We are all called to be witnesses and we and our young people are no exception.  For our young people the world is there at the click, tap, or swipe off a screen, so the idea that they can reach the world with the good news of Jesus is probably easier for them to get than it is for us.  But whether they see it as a piece of cake or an almost impossible task the key is to make sure that we are filed with the Holy Spirit otherwise our words will just been hot air and our deeds will be just good works.

2 Kings 7 vs 3-11

For me this passage sums up why we should do evangelism and why we should help our young people to share their faith.  I love what the Lepers say in vs 9,

“We are not doing right.  This is a day of good news and we are keeping it to ourselves……..…Let us go at once and report it to the Royal Palace.”

This should be our attitude both for ourselves and for our young people.

Practicalities

We need to start at the very beginning and be prepared for this to take a while.  Helping your young people to share their faith isn’t simply about doing a youth group session every now and then, it’s about developing a lifestyle where we do what we say and say what we do.  We need to help our young people develop their confidence to share what they believe with their friends.  It may take some time, but there are some stepping stones that we can use to help them along the way:

  • Make sure that our young people are in a genuine and growing relationship with Jesus.
  • Teach them what evangelism is and why it is so important.
  • Teach them the tools of the trade.
  • Give young people structured opportunities to share their faith.
  • Involve young people in the follow up.

Be there to pick up the pieces and learn from them if things go wrong.

REFLECTION & LEARNING

A few questions to ask:

  • How do you define evangelism?
  • How are you doing in sharing your faith?
  • How are your young people doing in sharing their faith?
  • How can you get mission into the DNA of your young people?
  • What do you need to do next to make this happen?

How can you keep this at the top of your group’s agenda?

DEVELOPING PRACTICE

As has already been mentioned teaching our young people to share their faith is an ongoing process and needs to become part of our DNA. It needs to become a natural part of our youth work.  We need to celebrate success but also give space to talk about disappointments and frustrations and encouraging people to keep having a go.

Get each member of the youth group, including you, to commit to praying for 3 of their non-Christian friends every day for a year and for opportunities to share their faith with them. Be mutually accountable, keep the names, and periodically share how we are doing with our 3s and pray for each other.

Get each member of the youth group, including you, to commit to praying for 3 of their non Christian friends everyday for a year and for opportunities  to share their faith with them. Be mutually accountable, keep the names and periodically share how we are doing with our 3s and pray for each other.

FURTHER INFORMATION

During 2018 Reality Youth Project are going to bring together all our learning over 16 years of doing youth led mission to develop an easy to use “How To” guide that people can buy “off the shelf” to be inspired and equipped to do Youth-led mission in their village, town, or city. In the same way that we continue to see lives changed and communities transformed through ncounter in Leicester, we want to see that replicated and multiplied across the UK. We want to build a movement of Youth Led Mission and we see this as a catalyst to see that vision fulfilled.

I am really keen to connect with an ever decreasing number of people involved in youth-led mission.  Let’s start the conversation and stop the decline in its tracks.  To get in touch or to register your interest in our “How To” manual (due out late 2018) email hello@myyouthworklife.org

https://www.realityyouthproject.co.uk/

Matt Brown

Matt is married with 3 awesome children and is founder and director of Reality Youth Project in Leicester. One of his passions is seeing young people trained and equipped in evangelism and mission. In January 2018 he is taking on the role of National Director as Reality goes nationwide

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