By Justin Bundschuh | firstname.lastname@example.org | Kauai Christian Fellowship | Koloa, Hawaii
KCF’s middle school ministry is well known on the island of Kauai for providing unique outreach events for young people in the area. He pulls off events that might get you fired at your church. Toilet Night. Sticky Night. Pig Night. Glow-In-The-Dark Night. You get the idea. (Good thing his dad is a seasoned and respected youth minister as well as the Pastor there.) So, we asked Justin for his thoughts on evangelism. Read on!
You have your evangelistic event all figured out. You know the youth in your town will have their lives changed. You gave it a cool name; something like “2016 Jammin’ For Jesus.” You have a slogan that you feel will build interest such as, “2,016 kids! 2,016 hotdogs! 2,016 ways to have fun!” You’ve transformed your church building into a “youth zone” with decorations that can be pulled down before the grayhairs see them on Sunday morning. You have thought of every little detail—the hip Christian band, the crazy activities, the ex-almost-pro sports figure willing to give his testimony, and the altar call.
It is the night of the event. The flood of kids you had imagined is more like a trickle. One of your helpful volunteers makes the famed comment, “Even if just one kid meets Jesus, it will all be worth it.” You hold on to that thought as the speaker goes into the altar call. You watch as a handful of kids stand. What you know, and the speaker does not, is that those kids stand for every altar call at every event. To make matters worse, you have 1,986 hot dogs going bad.
What went wrong?
Let’s start with what went RIGHT: your desire to share with kids the saving message of Jesus. After that – well, it pretty much went wrong. Youth ministry is full of well-meaning people who get the whole concept of an evangelistic event the wrong way ’round. Their thinking goes something like this: “If I can just get the lost kids here, I can get to know them and tell them about Christ.” Let me help flip you over and put you on your feet. If you get to know the lost kids, they will come. Your life will tell them more about Christ while you walk beside them. When you do have an event, all the youth you have invested in will follow you to that event.
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The ability you have to speak into the life of a young person is directly related to the investment you have in that kid’s life. You earn the right to be heard.
Long before you even consider an event, plan on doing the tough time outside the church to BE with kids. Be where they are, not invite them to be where you are. Where are wild kids? Here in Hawaii most of them are at the beach. For you it may be football games, soccer games, or hoops down the road. It might be at a skatepark or popular diner. If you can be on school campus…