Colossians 4: 5-6
I'd like to carry on from where we left off with our last little chinwag back in September. Remember Festival Manchester and the E word - Evangelism (see archive)
I hope that by now more people know that you are a Christian as it is just a natural part of your conversation, to explain that you can't make it on Sunday because erm, I'm erh, because I er do something on Sunday mornings. (just kiddin)
It seems the most effective form of evangelism for young people (in my opinion) is bringing a mate to your youth Group etc. But what is that we do that makes them wanna come to our groups. It seems there are a few approaches that you can take to bring your mates along and I will look at a couple of them.
1) Exciting approach - 'It's great. We have a right laugh, It's something to do on ___day night, we have really great youth leaders (that'd be me then. hmm.), there's loads of girls, we play pool, we bla bla bla etc etc.'
True - it's all true, and you may actually get some to come along by enticing them with excitement or all the cool stuff you do. However there is a floor in this tried and tested routine.
Evangelism is not about growing the youth group. It's about getting people to connect to Jesus. Now I know that when they get to youth group we will make a couple of nervous apologies about the Christian stuff and secretly hope that they like it, and often they are touched by God, but are we getting them there under false pretences? Dare you be more honest with them?
2) Honest Approach - sorry no formula.
This one's a little different. This one doesn't rely on the night at youth group being 'a good one'. This one could bring them to Jesus and not just to youth Group.
So how does it work? Well, it requires you to be vulnerable, to be a great friend who will be honest about your struggles, your fears, your hopes and dreams. If you are a trusted friend then you will earn a hearing when it comes to God.
Then - "tell them they are a sinner who needs to repent and turn from their evil wicked ways, that they need to die to sin, be baptised and filled with the spirit and speak in tongues. Go get em!!!!! AAAHHHGGG
I think you probably get my point. That would be destructive, they may never speak to you again. No, don't change the way you speak. The best approach is natural and simple. If they are in trouble and you are a friend who is vulnerable with them about your life then they may dare to tell you things that hopefully you will be able to help them with.
Let me give you an example. You have a friend who you were once honest and open with about your parents arguing sometimes. That friend might one day come to you with a relationship problem. At this point they need you to be an ear to listen, a true friend. This is your chance to tell them how you cope 'as a Christian' with tricky situations, what God means to you. Now this won't 'convert' them but you are sowing valuable seeds. One day in God's timing they may be receptive to that invitation to that Christian event or concert.
Now if you have been honest about your faith and how Jesus helps you then they will not need for you to apologies about the Christian part of the meeting. They will be expecting it.
The only danger - being vulnerable. You may get abused or your life broadcast but take heart. It's worth it. Be simple honest and open about your struggles. You don't have to be a perfect Christian. Just having a desire to change is enough. Your non Christian friends will probably understand your struggle with faith. It will help them to have a realistic picture of what being a Christian is all about.
Now I know that I have given you a very brief idea of how I think friends could speak to each other about Jesus but I hope that you have got a sense of how simple it really is.
May I recommend some reading to you. 'The art of connecting' by Roy Crown and Bill Muir ISBN 1-86024-295-2. A brilliant little book that will change your whole perspective on being a Christian friend and will help you connect them to Jesus. 'Remember no one is looking for an evangelist, but most people are looking for a friend.'
Colossians 4: 5-6 says:
'Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone'
View all Life Files by John Dixon