Evangelism?


#1

I have been asked to give an evangelistic message to a group of middle schoolers for a couple of weeks at the end of this month. I have caught myself thinking of ways that I could get them to the alter, get them saved. I am so engrained with the way church has always been done that this automatically comes to mind. I feel like it is a priviledge to speak to these kids and I feel like I have some things to share. My question for you fine folks is: What should the goal of my message be. I feel like I need to tell them first and foremost that God loves them and I don’t believe that I should fear in any way. I guess bottom line is:How does a person who believes in UR give an evangelistic message?

Thanks

Mike


#2

Tell about the goodness of God. The goodness of God is like a magnet drawing the masses to repentance.

  • Byron

#3

I agree - just tell them the Good News and see what happens - are they a mixture of believers non-believers? Also as someone who was traumatised by hellfire in my formative years I’m not a big fan of heavy evangelization of youngsters.


#4

I agree on the points already mentioned by Jeff and FB:

1.) the absolute necessity of stressing that God loves them and will never stop loving them. If you’re a trinitarian (and you should be :wink: ), be sure to stress that God gives Himself for all our sakes on the cross. (Not only on the cross, but the cross is emblematic of the extent God gives Himself for our sake.)

2.) the maximum-hyperbolic language of punishment should be downplayed for children; much like the violence and sex in the Bible. (Frankly, I prefer not to bring that up for non-believers anyway. The extreme language is typically directed in the NT toward those of us who are already believers. :slight_smile: )

However I would also add:

3.) some notion of sin has to be given as well, insofar as you believe children can be sinners (and I certainly do.) Stress that just as God will always act in love even to sinners, He will also always be acting to lead them to love and be fair to one another. That may in fact involve punishment, as much or as little as God sees to be necessary. But God isn’t only dictating that punishment from on high. He shares the punishment with us, so that we can learn to trust Him–and simply because He loves us.

4.) I would also add that the reason we even can sin, is because God allows us to be real boys and girls and not just puppets. Whenever we do something wrong, we are always abusing the grace of God, as well as (usually) abusing other people like ourselves. Bad things happen because God loves sinners, too; even though He does not and cannot love the bad things we do. (The cross is strongly connected to this as well.)

While you don’t have to go into details, I recommend focusing on how these elements apply to you yourself in your own life: in your trust of God’s love; and in your acknowledgment and repentance for your sins, not only against God but against other people; and in your cooperation with God toward doing justice for those you’ve wronged, and in loving your enemies (even if they are the ones who have sinned against you).

And if you aren’t doing so well at the moment on one or more of those points…? :wink: Well, be honest about that, and let them know you see this as an opportunity for you yourself to begin doing better.

If some of them don’t believe in God?–I wouldn’t press the issue on that. Apologetics is part of evangelism, not vice versa. You’re giving a testimony about what you believe. If they can believe it along with you, then good. If not, then just ask them to believe as much of what you’re saying as they can believe, as much as they themselves see right to believe, however much that is. God accepts all of whatever little we can give in good faith.


#5

Middle school – that’s like 7th and 8th grade right? Sacred privilege this teaching thing. So blessings on you in advance.

I think that one of the most important things that needs to happen in this age group is the transition from religion as spectator activity to something to be wrestled with personally. Not only do kids need to learn to grapple with these important aspects of God and the bible, they need to learn how. Many of them may not know it’s OK to ask questions and formulate their own perspectives. Help show them how.

Thus a lecture style “just-the-facts” (go ahead and memorize them; then regurgitate them at the pearly gates) approach fades into a more interactive style where questions and participation is encouraged. You thereby put them into the story. And what better vehicle than the very stories Jesus told when He was here; the parables.

The context can be the 1st chapter of John where Christ is likened to the Light. This implies a problem – which is called darkness – that Jesus comes to solve. Darkness also describes the incorrect knowledge of God, or maybe more the gross misperceptions about not only God, but what He wants from us. This light/darkness idea allows you to set up the idea that there is a problem as well as introduce the notion that the solution is more relational and restorative rather than just penal substitution.

It’s risky opening up an important talk by letting kids take a topic where they will, but if they take it there, perhaps they will own it better. Then they’ll be invested in their answers. And of course you can pay special attention to the fabulous Luke 15 stories; there’s a Universalists chapter if ever there was one! (OK, Romans 9&11 and 1 Cor 15 are pretty good too!!)

Emphasis all the way on God’s Love – which causes Him to initiate our salvation (ie rescue operation) as well as His promise to see it through. And of course with the telling of parables there is the dimension of drawing the hearer in to participate. And don’t forget the idea of John 15 where Jesus tells His disciples He wants them not to be mere servants, but friends; for a friend knows why the master does what He is doing…

Just an idea…

GOOD LUCK!!

TotalVictory
Bobx3


#6

And a good one too.

You have all been helpful. I had a friend tell me one time that he always prayed and asked God what He would tell people if He had 30 minutes. I know that the Spirit will have to control the whole thing if any good will come out of it.

I like the idea of a discussion, getting them into the story. I also teach 8th grade Georgia History so I am fully aware of the middle school animal. I see it on their faces every day. They just want to be loved and accepted.


#7

Don’t we all :smiley: