It may seem that the average Christian student doesn’t make a difference in their school to influence others for Christ. I have often wondered that perhaps the reason it seems that way is because most students aren’t challenged to make a difference in their schools. Over the past 5 years I have started growing in my vision of what the Lord can do through a true student lead movement in the realm of schools, church, and local communities.
Something Needed to Change!
Last year (2014) I saw the Lord begin doing a work in my own heart in challenging the teens of our church to be a godly witness in their schools and with their friends. Most of the teens I teach are in public school, a few are taught in Christian School and home schooled. I put away the Sunday School curriculum, put away the student booklets, and decided instead of giving them a pre-made template of “Biblical advice”, that I needed to have a more personal and engaging time of teaching with them. I am not saying there is anything wrong with these books, in fact I think that much of the material is great, but a light bulb went off in my head when I saw that my students weren’t interacting, weren’t engaged, and after a few weeks of expounding on the same subject matter weren’t interested. You can only teach “How to find the will of God” for so many weeks before you lose a teenager’s interest. Something needed to change!
The Challenge Accepted
After much prayer and meditation on what could be changed I accepted the challenge that I as a youth pastor must do something to not only get engaged in reaching further into our teens lives, but that I must also get them engaged with their friends! Through my time of seeking direction the Lord brought me across a ministry called Dare2Share, a ministry that focuses on getting students engaged in reaching their fellow students for Christ. I began to study their material and adapt their strategies for our youth group.
Something Amazing Happened
A few weeks into really getting into our lessons, our youth began to really interact in the classroom, they were asking questions, giving answers, and just participating, rather than sitting in a chair just occupying space. Then something amazing happened, one of our teens spoke up after we had talked about engaging their friends for Christ, he said “Bro. Aaron, you know how in the kids classes we used to do crafts or coloring pages? I miss getting to do things like that”. I knew he wasn’t wanting to do crafts or color pictures in the class, but I wasn’t sure where his thoughts were going, so I asked “What do you have in mind?” He then said, “I think we should design a Gospel Tract that we could hand out in our schools!” (A Gospel Tract is a small pamphlet that gives the salvation plan in a short format as pictured above) I was so proud of our youth and their desire to share the Gospel with their friends. “Yes we can absolutely do something like that, but I want you as a group to come up with the entire wording”.
Pulling the Pieces Together
I asked the teens to think over the next week how they wanted to approach sharing Christ with their friends. The next week we came up with a thought board and began to discuss the positives and negatives of each ideal. In the end we had narrowed down our thoughts to two options 1) A Video Game theme or 2) A Sports theme. After taking a vote, half the class wanted one and half the class wanted the other, so I consulted with a lady in our church who had no ties to the youth group, but was working in a school setting. We decided that we would start with the “Video Game” theme and spent about a month working on our tract. After a month of working the “Life is not a game” Gospel tract was born.
Teens Making a Difference
We finished designing and proofing the tract and sent them to the printer. They arrived just before Christmas break and the youth group was so excited about getting them (I don’t think any of them were wishing that break would be shorter though). I challenged our teens on the first Sunday before school started back to take 5 tracts that week and find friends to share them with, all of them accepted the challenge and some of them even came back on Wednesday and asked if they could take more, because they had already given out all 5 of them! While we haven’t seen any physical fruit come to our church from their labors, this past summer several of the teens had used their Gospel tract to share and lead children to Christ at camp!
During the end of last school year (2015) and summer we began putting together our second tract “When Time Runs Out” a sports theme tract. They were ordered and arrived in October. We are praying that God will continue to use these tracts to reach others for him. This is just one of the many positive results I have seen since taking the challenge to engage my youth more and making them a part of the ministry of the church. We are planning a third tract design for the second half of this school year and have already began praying that God will use it to be a witness to students both far and near.
If you would be interested in purchasing some of these tracts for yourself they have been made available at www.radiancepublications.us or if you are interested in having your own ideals put into a great design please contact me and I can give you a price quote!
How have you seen Christian students making a difference in your church, schools, and community?