Evangelism Series: Toppling the Idol of Evangelism

Youth Specialties
March 11th, 2015

We’re excited to share this Evangelism Series on the YS Blog! Over the next few weeks, Maina Mwaura and Sabrena Klausman will dig into how youth ministries approach evangelism and start some great conversations. Enjoy this first post and chime in with your thoughts in the comments below.

During seminary, my husband was required to memorize a two-page evangelism script, after which he embarked into the community, visiting strangers in their homes. In one particular home, he connected immediately with the man, bonding over shared interests. In the man’s garage my husband introduced him to Jesus. As the class left the neighborhood they informed him that he’d gotten it all wrong. Script first, Holy Spirit second. It would seem that venturing off the script could cause world-altering chaos to ensue.

The Sky is Falling

The only thing worse than the sky falling is to be beneath it when it collapses. Winter is devastatingly beautiful. The tiers of translucent ice glaze the fragile branches of the trees, and a silencing blanket of God’s control smacks the face of our utter lack of control. Snow collects on the canopy of trees, creating what agriculturalists coin as widow-makers. As the season advances, the sap is unable to reach the end of the branches and the limb, cut off from the source, slowly dies. The trees morph from peaceful sculptures to kamikaze pilots. You never know when a limb will come crashing to the ground, taking out everything in its wake.

The Script

Winter in ministry will also come, times when the surrounding culture is frigid, and resistant to change. During these times, we take comfort in the way things have always been. Gazing upon our tree of evangelism, we become mesmerized by the haunting beauty and ignore the danger. Brushing the snow off our Roman’s road script, we passionately preach one evangelistic script from the stage. We encourage students to hide these verses in their hearts, so they will always be prepared to reach out to every stranger they meet (all good things). But we ignore the peril of propping up man’s tradition as an idol. In doing so, we block the sap of the Holy Spirit from giving life to our efforts. 

Trade the Script for Sap

As weight of winter settles, the cracks in our one-size-fits all evangelism script begin to appear. As the seasons change, so does our culture. What once thrived has been cut off from the life of the tree, the Holy Spirit. The vitality of the system is compromised and the method dies. If we leave it there, just to honor our tradition, we risk destroying our influence. 

“Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way; walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the left or the right. And you will defile your graven images… and he will give you rain for the seed.”

Isaiah 30:21-23a

Don’t get me wrong. Within itself, there is nothing wrong with the script; yet, because the Holy Spirit lives within us, we have a mighty reconciliation power at our disposal. Our tendency to worship systems trips us up every time. It is time to move beyond the script and grab the chainsaw. The sky is about to fall.

Tune in next week, when we discuss how to embrace authentic evangelism. In the meantime, how are we getting evangelism right in our student ministries? How are we getting it wrong? Share your thoughts in the comments section.


maina_squareMaina Mwaura loves to provoke thought to student leaders minds. He is the husband of one wife and the has a two year old daughter name Zyan. Maina, lives in Huntsville, Al. He can be reached at mainaspeaks.com


sabrena_squareSabrena Klausman is the author of Zombie Christian, the sacred undead, and has served more than sixteen years as a pastor’s wife, church planter, and curriculum-writer.

Youth Specialties

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.