Bryant Westbrook
January 20th, 2020

Anytime you hear someone sharing their story about Jesus changing them it’s awesome. But when you hear a student doing it, it’s captivating! Seeing Jesus work in the lives of students is amazing and they have amazing stories to share with the world. These awesome stories just need someone to either help them share it or give them a platform to share it. Student testimonies will create a fire and passion within your ministry unlike anything else.

1.Testify Series

We recently did a series called “Testify” where we spent five weeks talking about the importance of sharing your story. We unpacked what testifying was and how to share your story. We took the intimidation out of sharing your story by explaining testifying is simply talking about with others what Jesus is doing or has done inside of you. By doing this series, students saw the importance of sharing their stories with others and the impact their story can have.

Each week a different student came upfront and shared with the rest of the group how Jesus was working in their life. We had students who shared how they’d seen Jesus on mission trips, how Jesus was using them to reach their school through FCA, and how several students wouldn’t be where they are today if not for their friends inviting them to church.

 The main thing I took away from this series was that students got to see their peers be bold with their stories which helped other students understand that Jesus was working in them as well. This series wasn’t an open mic session for five weeks. I handpicked four students that I could clearly see God working in and asked them to share. The very last week was open mic. Any student who felt a prompting to share could share. Picking students ahead of time really helped us keep the message clear.

2.Social Media

Recently one of my middle school students approached me and asked for permission to share what was going on at youth group on their personal Tik Tok and Instagram pages. I told the student yes you can! That was one of the best “yes’s” I’ve ever given! This student started posting on her Tik Tok page videos of her recapping the services and what she thinks Jesus is doing. 

Other students have watched her videos and are engaging in sharing how they feel on social media as well. We are going to continue to utilize Instagram and Tik Tok to share stories of how Jesus is working in our ministry because it’s given students a new way to share. Instagram and Tik Tok are not going away anytime soon; so we might as well not be the enemy of these things, but rather figure out how to use it for the Kingdom.

3.Testifying On Sundays

Sometimes it can be difficult to get the entire church to see and understand what God is doing in the student ministry. I wanted the congregation to know more of what was happening in our youth ministry. So, I came up with the idea to do a video testimony featuring one of our high school students.

After I got permission to show this on a Sunday, I approached a student and asked her if she would be willing to share her story with the congregation. Once she was on board, we illustrated her story and helped her words so that the testimony would be super clear.

I wish you could have been there. When her video started playing in front of the congregation, everyone was speechless. The student shared for about four minutes. She shared how she had went on the previous mission trip with our church and on the trip began to understand Jesus’ unconditional love for her. She also spoke of how she found her purpose in life, which is serving the homeless and families in need. She shared that Jesus broke her heart for the homeless and upon returning from the trip, immediately got involved at a local non-profit where she still works today.

At the end of her video everyone was emotional because they had seen how Jesus really was working in the life of this student. Her last line of the video was “because you give to the student ministry I was able to go on the trip, hear from Jesus, and find my purpose in life.” 

Student testimonies shown on Sundays are super powerful. Not only is the student testifying to the congregation but the congregation can now connect their giving to students lives’ being changed by Jesus. Jesus is working within our students and he’s giving them a message to share. It’s on us to give them a platform and empower them to share what Jesus is doing inside of them.

Bryant Westbrook

Bryant Westbrook is the youth director at First United Methodist Church is Valley Center, KS. Bryant has served as a missionary in Alaska, program staff for YouthWorks, treatment counselor for teens and has a passion for student leadership. Bryant's contact is bryant@fumcvc.com and he blogs at bryantwestbrook.wordpress.com.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.