How do we turn young people on to the power of church?
There was an interesting article in the paper where churches here in Denver were talking about evangelism and how this age group of 18 to 30 are turned off by present day church. One of the quotes that they used is, “You’re so concerned about being right, but they’re more concerned about doing right.”
These people that we are evangelizing want to see us doing Christianity.
Your behavior is a much louder evangelistic message than what you’re saying.
They want to see you doing things in the community, helping people, and making a difference where they live.
It should be what we’re about in the first place. If we’re to be Jesus’ hands and feet in the world as well as his eyes and ears, then the first step should be who are you helping? Do you ever go to the hospital and volunteer? Do you stand on the soup line and feed folks?
People can see that and know what you’re saying is lining up with what you’re doing.
We have to take it to the street. We have to go where people are. Go to a park and start handing out tracts and talking to everybody.
If you think about it, when people are running for offices they go where the people are and give them all types of materials.
Some of the people that come to church don’t feel that comfortable in a setting of church because they feel that they’re going to be judged or criticized. They’d rather be in a place where they feel comfortable.
So, we have to get out of our comfort zone and go where they are and be on their territory. You can still tell them about God, His Word, how much He loves them, and that they can live eternally with Him if they invite Him into their heart.
So you’re really trying to find out what people need and you’re meeting people where there’s a need. Just like Jesus said, everybody’s thirsty for something. It’s just tapping into whatever that need is, beginning to develop a relationship with that person, and telling them who can meet that need for a drink of water.
When we are out in the marketplace and we see the emos with the hair, tattoos, etc., that’s an opportunity for us to evangelize. They really are empty and have that void that needs to be filled; and I find that we don’t do that.
Part of it, I think, is because we, and many people, are turned of by their appearance. We have to retrain ourselves to say if you’re turned off by appearance you’re never going to get the message through. You’ve got to say to yourself—or the church has to tell all of their potential evangelists—that you’re going to encounter folks with pants below their rear end, various piercings, and tattoos. If that repulses you, you cannot be God’s messenger.
We were raised with the fact that anybody who went to prison was a bad person. As we grew in that ministry, we learned differently. Everybody’s human. Everybody has a heart. God created all of us, and everybody in prison has a need.
In our inner cities, we run across everybody and everything. Some people would never imagine, and you can see the boldness of the Holy Spirit rising up in you to meet the need of that person. If it’s a few dollars or the crack addict that’s in your space, you can minister Jesus. “Jesus loves you.” They’re going to remember that. Take that to heart.
I also think that God gives each one of us something that we need to do. I think sometimes the church is just overwhelmed because the need is so great, but you’ve got to start wherever God wants you to start.
You might not be able to minister to every single person in the community and meet every single need there is, but you can start somewhere. There’s no excuse for not doing anything at all.
There’s someone out there that’s hungry, someone that needs shelter, or clothing.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
As a person who knows the Lord, you have to be in a relationship with Him and you’ve really got to know God’s word. I’m not saying that you have to be a scholar, but you need to know the message.
As a church community, one thing that I picked up from all of us is that you need to do your homework in the community. You’ve got to figure out where people are, what is needed in the community, and then begin to tap into that. Then, we have to be creative about what we do and how we reach people.
Maybe in some neighborhoods, there are some deep needs and we need to have a community event where you do a clothing give away. Maybe it’s something that’s just that simple.
Maybe in another community or situation you might want to tap into technology and have an event to follow-up. Creativity is critical. We certainly serve a God who is extremely creative. And I know if we ask Him for the wisdom to be creative in how we need to evangelize, He will give it.
Another thing is a lot of people say, “I don’t know what to say or know the scripture,” or “I’m not a talker.” I’ve known that the best evangelism tool is our personal story. What did Christ do in my life?
Whether you recognize it or not, as a Believer people are watching your behavior wherever you are. What do people see when they see you? Do they see a cheerful person who has integrity? If they do, then, they’re much more likely to be drawn to whatever you say.
You have to remember that it’s God doing it. It’s the Holy Spirit doing it. It’s not us. We don’t save anybody. It’s the Holy Spirit moving and going out in prayer.
He said, “Go ye into all the world.” I think technology takes us into all the world.