Encouraging Students to Know and Share Their Personal Faith Story
We are thankful to have been introduced to so many incredible youth workers that lead students to find and follow Jesus. The post below is by one of those youth workers, Joe Garrison.
We are grateful for the original pic from Alexandre Dulaunoy.
Often people wonder, and even stress over, the question of, “How do I make disciples of Jesus Christ?” It can be a daunting question for many believers and can often be paralyzing to a teenager charged with the task of making disciples in his or her school. The good news (ha, Jesus joke) is that it is NOT THAT HARD. All you have to do is simply know your Personal Faith Story.
Everyone has a personal faith story. At one point you didn’t know Jesus, something happened that introduced you to Jesus, then you were different. It’s really that simple. For some people the story is, “I was driving my car 100 miles per hour, wrecked, flipped it 10 times, my life went in to a downward spiral, I got addicted to ‘skittles’ and met Jesus when I OD’d and walked toward the white light.” For others of us the story is, “I grew up in church, met Jesus early on and have been trying to live for him ever since.”
Both stories are important and effective.
Over the last couple of years a friend introduced Steph (our Director of Student Ministries) and me to the T4T (training for trainers) disciple making process. While we don’t use the full process we do use three simple questions it provides to assist and encourage students to know, and share, their personal faith story. Although, sometimes it can be difficult for us to verbalize our story in a concise and effective way. We encourage students to be able to share their personal faith story in 2-4 minutes when the opportunity presents itself. We do this by asking students to be able to answer these three questions…
1. What was your life like before you trusted in Jesus?
2. What happened that led you to trust in Jesus?
3. How is your life different now that you have placed your trust in Jesus?
The idea is that students would be authentic and sincere in answering these questions as well as be able to talk about them passionately. If your life wasn’t a train wreck before you knew Jesus, don’t act like it was to impress someone. On the other end, don’t act like your life is perfect now that you know Jesus, it’s not.
Peter tells us to “always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in YOU” (1 Peter 3:15-16). Peter isn’t telling you to give a reason SOMEONE ELSE should believe in Jesus. He is telling you to give a reason why YOU believe in Jesus. If Jesus has truly changed your life then that will be enough for Him to use to change someone else’s life.
Help students to know their personal faith stories. Help them be able to share it briefly, concisely, and passionately. The Holy Spirit will do the rest and they will be sharing their stories with their friends and peers within their schools before you know it!
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.