More than games
Sooner or later it was always going to dawn on me. There was only so many games of ‘Days of the Week’ that could be played, only so much loud music that could be blasted and so many cans of soft drink that could be skulled before it would occur to me: This is no way to make disciples. I am not suggesting that your youth groups shouldn’t be entertaining. I’m suggesting that entertaining our young people is exactly the way to not make disciples. If our young people only get entertainment they will miss what the Christian faith is all about. If they are never challenged to take action to be a follower of Jesus then we can say goodbye to another generation of young people sometime during their high school years.
Ready to talk?
I announced to our young people recently that if we are going to be serious about our faith, we have got to be willing to talk about our faith with others. Even to people who are complete strangers. I then held up a simple survey of 5 questions asking things like:
- Do you believe there’s a God?
- What do you think the purpose of living is?
- Do you think it’s possible to know God personally?
- Can I share with you how to know God personally?
I told our young people that in the next holidays we were going to hit the streets of nearby towns and ask complete strangers if they would be willing to take our survey. I called it ‘Operation Fearless’.
I had come to believe that street evangelism was essentially rude and irrelevant. People would not like being stopped and would not have any time for over-zealous Christians. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As we wandered the streets we found that the majority of people were not only willing to talk but many were willing to share deeply from their own lives. We talked with people who had lapsed in their faith. We talked with a lady who had just been separated from her children and had never known that God could forgive her. We talked with those who were struggling in life. We also talked with people of the Muslim, Buddhists and Bahia faith. When it came to the purpose of living, it seemed no one had any concrete idea as to why they were alive. People said it was to prolong the species, some said it was to have fun and most said that it was too difficult to answer.
You can do it too!
Operation Fearless had a monumental impact on the youth of my Church. After each town we stopped to debrief and share stories of what God did in that town. As the towns went by, our youth grew in confidence and bravery. Harry, a 13 year old in our youth group, began to interview even more people than I did in a 90 minute session. Over the three days I personally spoke with over a hundred people about my faith in Jesus. I wonder if I have ever shared with so many people in three days before. Who knows how many people were impacted in the 3 days of ‘Operation Fearless’, but I think it was our youth who were impacted by the experience most.
Now for the big question - is 'Operation Fearless' something your youth group could do? Leave your questions or comments below.