ORGANIZING A YOUTH EVANGELISM PROGRAM
By: Greg Bixby
We need to begin to challenge our youth as never before. Perhaps they have not become what we desired because we have not sufficiently challenged them to the limit of their abilities. Let’s consider Sue,
16 years old, who felt a burden to reach out to an apartment complex of “latch-key” kids. These children were left unsupervised by parents either before school or after school or both. The youth leader secured
an apartment to use for the ministry while Sue began to build rapport with the kids every day.
Their goal was to start a three day a week ministry of Bible stories, games, songs, crafts, and scripture memory. The response was good and they soon expanded to a five day ministry. Sue trained, organized, and scheduled the 60 teenagers that were her staff. She divided them into teams so that each day had its own staff and each staff had each staff had its own director. The ministry was a success. John became Sue’s
successor. One day, John was asked why he gave up his afternoons to work in the program. His reply, “I do this because this is what God has called me to do. I want Jesus Christ to be first in my life, and I want people to know that.”
The Sidewalk Sunday School outreach incorporates many of the goals that we could set for Teen Outreach. Goals like fulfilling the command of Christ to evangelize, direct exposure to the needs of lost and hurting humanity, and hands on experience through involvement in meaningful ministry. Outreach can be a powerful through involvement in meaningful ministry. Outreach can be a powerful tool to create a desire in our teens for full time Christian service.
Wouldn’t it be great if each of our groups could rush out tomorrow and begin a tremendous outreach? Many of our youth groups do not even contain 60 teens. Don’t despair! Begin with a project that seems to
fit into your specific situation. Each youth group needs a basic outreach program to develop the confidence of your teens. Once they have gained some experience communicating the gospel with unsaved people, you can step into a more complex outreach program. Here are some ideas that you could use to start your outreach program.
BASIC OUTREACH IDEAS 2
Backyard Clubs are basically an outdoor Sunday School. This could be used to overcome the fear that teens have of talking to others about Christ. First get permission to use the backyard of one of the church members. Then have an advertising campaign in the neighborhood consisting of posters and flyers that you hand out door to door. This will inform the children (and parents) what is happening, when it starts, and where you will be meeting. This idea could be used for five days in one area and then moved to another area for five days. A simple schedule of events could be:
a.) Welcome, attendance, say memory verse 6:00 – 6:10 pm
b.) Songs & worship 6:10 – 6:20 pm
c.) Learn visualized memory verse 6:20 – 6:30 pm
d.) Picture to color, crossword puzzle, etc. 6:30 – 6:40 pm
e.) Take offering (Boys vs. Girls) 6:40 – 6:45 pm
f.) Tell Story (Bible, Missions) 6:45 – 7:10 pm
g.) Invitation and prayer 7:10 – 7:20 pm
h.) Give incentives, prizes, and awards 7:20 – 7:30 pm
Tract Blitz is another idea for an outreach. This could provide the teens with some excellent one-on-one witnessing opportunities. One place to start would be at the local youth hang-out. This puts them in
contact with their generation. Plazas and malls are also good places to get the Gospel into the hands of many people. Obtain permission, written if necessary, to hand out literature in these areas. Teen
enthusiasm will be hurt if they are stopped because of lack of permission. Motivate your teens to the potential that tracts can have on lives. Share a couple testimonies of people saved through tracts. Plan the details one week in advance with your teens. Choose a place where there are many people. Choose a busy shopping time. Arrange transportation and have everyone meet at the church. This will give time for prayer. Discuss thoroughly how teens should approach people. Let them practice together on each other to gain confidence. Be generous with your tracts, but don’t force them on anyone. Set a definite time period for handing out the literature. Help your teens realize that they should never pass up an opportunity to witness by only giving out literature.
The Literature Blitz can be expanded to cover your whole city in a door to door campaign. Use it to distribute flyers about a revival or to raise community awareness of your church and its ministries. Get a
city map and begin dividing it into sections. Areas of 400 to 800 homes can be covered by a team of four walkers and one driver in about three hours. Each driver gets a map with their specific section highlighted. Enough literature is taken to cover that area. The walkers work in pairs. Each one takes one side of the street. The driver’s job is to keep the walkers supplied with materials and mark off the covered territory. You can leave the flyers in the door or ring the bell and extend a personal invitation. This mass distribution
is another “breaking in” type outreach to help our teens gain confidence. They will have opportunities to share Christ with those that answer the door or are working in their yards.
The Religious Survey has worked very well for our district youth outreach. If you design your own survey, keep it simple. One page of questions with room for the statistical information seems to work very well. You can also use pre-printed surveys and modify them to suit your needs. The survey puts you in contact with many people and it helps you discover the best prospects. This is a great outreach since it can open lots of opportunities to minister to people. Send your teens out in pairs. They will get to witness, pray for the sick, seriously discuss God’s Word, and set up Bible studies. The interested people can then be followed up because you have the information on your survey sheet.
The ideas for beginning an outreach for your teens are vast. A good resource for outreach ideas is produced by the Word of Life
It is called the Christian Service Manual. You can obtain a copy by writing to Word of Life Schroon Lake, NY 12870. They have printed procedure outlines to follow in starting many of these outreaches. The
opportunities are designed for teens to use in reaching other teens as well as adults. Here are some of the ideas that they propose.
Hospital Visitation Bus Ministry Ministry to Servicemen
Shut-in Visitation Jail Service Ministry to Migrants
Rest Home Service Fair Ministry Rescue Mission Service
General Visitation Roadside Stand Hospital Chapel Service
Absentee Visitation Street Meeting New Convert Follow-Up
Clown Ministry Tract Blitz Park Puppet Shows
Let’s talk about who to take to the streets and involve in the Outreach. There are certain ingredients that need to be in the life of every teen that ministers in outreach. These are the basic elements of Christian growth. These elements should be encouraged and even monitored as your outreach endeavors become more advanced.
1. Prayer should be part of the born again teen’s daily devotional life. The teens need an effective prayer life of at least 30 minutes daily. This is an attainable goal for both Junior and Senior high teens. Keeping a specific prayer diary of requests and answers could be incorporated into our qualifications. This reminds the teen that he is praying (when Satan attacks with condemnation) and also shows him that God is hearing and answering his prayers. If he’s not praying, it will show him he needs to “Get With It!”
2. Bible reading and study, or digesting, of the Word should be another part of the daily devotional life. Each teen should be involved in reading at least one chapter daily. Encourage your teens to take notes by answering these two questions; “What is the outstanding thought?” and “How does this apply to my life?” Try to provide a diary or have them get one for this.
3. Scripture memory is another ingredient for Christian growth. Each teen should memorize a minimum of one scripture each week. Memory can include a prescribed list of soulwinning verses from the youth leader,
Bible Quizzing Christian school passages or any other memory program. Soulwinning verses should be a definite benefit once teens get out on the streets.
4. Faithfulness in attendance to the local church services and youth meetings is part of being an effective soulwinner. Some involvement beyond attending should be encouraged. God saved them and gave them
the ministry of reconciliation, too! Let’s help them find their place in the body.
There are many other areas that could be considered. The ultimate goal is to produce Christian growth in your teens. Do not overwhelm them with things that even some adults are not faithfully doing. If they
consistently work on these areas, they could become spiritual giants before long. Once they have achieved a level of consistency, encourage and challenge them to increase the amount of time they spend in their
The next step is to get things started. Fear keeps many people from serving Christ. Whether it is the fear of not knowing what to do, or how to do it, or the fear of not knowing what to say. If your group has never witnessed before, may we suggest a good beginning. As a leader, plan to start your outreach ministry by setting a date. This obligates you to get started. I know you have untrained teens, try the following approach. This will be very encouraging to them and will get them started.
Plan four weeks as “Operation Love”, or “Operation Blast-Off”, or “Teen Reach-Out” or other titles. During these initial four weeks you will be attempting to do the following.
1. Excite teens about witnessing for Christ.
2. Introduce a method of witnessing that anyone can use.
3. Teach them how to use the method or approach.
4. Give them opportunity to use it (by taking them out).
5. Let them share with others how God used them.
The training techniques that you will teach your teens will depend on the type of outreach that you decide to use. It may be helpful to share with your teens about the importance of prayer or how to pray. That sounds very basic, but the “prayer clock” could be just what they need to implement a consistent prayer life. Corporate prayer at youth night is great, too!
Jesus commanded us to win people, baptize them, and to teach them. This concept of “WIN, BAPTIZE, TEACH” could be incorporated into your training sessions. Help your teens to realize the importance of
reaching and disciplining “OUR” world for Christ. Personal Evangelism is a must, not an option!
One of the most powerful tools a teen can use in effective evangelism is the Personal Testimony. Many people will argue the scriptures, but it is hard to dispute what has actually happened in a person’s life.
Help your teens to make their testimony positive. The Fishermen’s Workshop has some excellent material on the personal testimony. The Word of Life Christian Service Manual gives some good information,
Teach your teens how to lead a person to repentance. One of the simplest methods is the revised Roman Road. The Fishermen’s Workshop has this and several other good, easy to use presentations for soulwinning. Just reading a few scriptures and making the right commentary is all it takes to lead a person to repentance. God is willing that everyone comes to repentance, so share with your teens that it is easy. Build their confidence by letting them practice with each other.
Each teen should know also how to make a Presentation of the “New Birth” message. This can be done by using a chain reference of scriptures that they have marked in their Bible. Sharing the truth in love is very important. Help your teens find a good approach to sharing the keys to the kingdom of God with others.
Making friends and being able to converse is something that teens can learn to do. The Man in Demand course has good pointers on developing the art of carrying on a conversation. These are some of the important elements in training your teens so that they will be prepared to become a part of the Teen Outreach program of your church. You have equipped them with some simple methods of evangelism, allowed them to practice on each other, and given them opportunity to use this. Take them to the streets!
One final area of importance is your follow-up. Records should be kept so you can follow-up on those who have responded. This is a vital part of any outreach program. Your follow-up will be determined by the type
of ministry that you decide to use. Letters to individuals, phone calls or personal visits from the teens can be combined into an effective network of follow-up. This enables us to begin the discipleship process or to help those interested contacts find new life in Jesus Christ.
Now it’s time to begin your specific outreach. GO FOR IT! God’s desire is to help you fulfill the Great Co-Mission. He is working with us and will confirm the sharing of His Word with signs following. Start with
an easy outreach! Once the teens are fairly comfortable with evangelism, begin to advance your program. Every youth group can have a Teen Outreach. The size of your group will not stop you from evangelizing. The potential for our youth is unlimited!
ADVANCED YOUTH OUTREACH 6
Let’s expand our vision and see what we can do once our basic Teen Outreach is functioning smoothly. There is a host of names that could be attached to this type of outreach. Some groups call it “Scholarship”. We have used the term “Youth Corps”. This advanced Outreach program is one of the best incentives used to motivate teens. The Youth Corps is a missions tour for your youth group. This tour can be in your state, your region or another country.
In every youth group, you have a core of your “best” kids. These are the ones who really love the Lord, are faithful to everything, are soulwinners, but have never really committed their life fully to Christ for His service. These are the teens that we want to motivate to be consistent all year long. Our desire is to help them get off the spiritual roller coaster. Once they develop this consistency, then take them on a tour of concentrated missions exposure. This would be a great opportunity for God to speak to them about full time Christian service.
There are numerous ways to go about taking a missions tour. If your funds are limited, you could design a three year program that increased in reward each successive year. Here are two examples you could use.
YOUTH CORPS PACKAGE A
1st Year Weekend Tour (Thursday night thru Sunday night)
2nd Year Two Weekend Tours (Thursday night thru Sunday night)
3rd Year Week Tour (Monday afternoon thru Sunday night)
YOUTH CORPS PACKAGE B
1st Year Weekend Tour (Thursday night thru Sunday night)
2nd Year Week Tour (Monday thru Sunday night)
3rd Year Week Tour outside state (Monday thru Sunday night)
Once a tour plan is chosen, then you need to plan exactly what your goals and objectives are going to be for this Mission Tour. Each pastor that you work with on your Mission Tour may have a different idea of what he would like you to accomplish. You should have a set plan that you introduce to the pastor. You can always make adjustments for his local situation.
Most often, these tours are in conjunction with a revival meeting at night. This helps you keep your scheduling simple and gives the youth exposure to evangelistic one-on-one encounters. Here are several
objectives to consider in planning a weekend tour.
1. Cover entire city with Revival flyers.
2. Cover entire city with Church Brochures.
3. Survey specific segments of city for Bible study prospects.
4. Combine literature distribution with survey work.
Objective Four has been the most successful and productive plan. It accomplishes two important purposes. First, it is a means of exposing a large quantity of people to the revival. It also gives good quality contact, through the survey work. This also is good for your teens. They have an opportunity to witness more with the survey work.
The whole week mission tour could be broken into several segments. This would allow you to do distribution, survey, teach and help accomplish maintenance at the local church. Here is a sample idea for
a whole week.
Monday – Tuesday Distribution Blitz
Wednesday – Thursday Survey for Bible Studies
Friday – Saturday Teach Two-Day Bible Study
Sunday Encourage Bible Study people to visit
Some teens might not be involved in teaching. These could help in cleaning the church, painting the exterior, lawn care or other duties. These could be things that would really be a blessing to a smaller
work that didn’t have the man-power. Also a working pastor may not have enough time to do his personal evangelism and all the church maintenance.
One other important factor would be to plan some time of fun and relaxation for the “Action Team”. This could be done on the teaching days, since it won’t take all day to teach the Bible studies. Another
suggestion would be to not have a revival going on during this whole week tour. A couple nights meetings could be scheduled, but not a whole week. The teens would be completely exhausted from constantly
being on the move. Don’t be afraid to try any combination. You can always change it for the next year.
Let’s look at an easy to use schedule of events. Actual street time is about five hours per day when an evening service is being conducted. There are also a few minutes of free time for the teens to gather
their thoughts between supper and the evening service. This schedule has been used successfully.
Thursday 6:00 pm Arrive on location & settle into rooms
7:00 Pre-service prayer
7:30 Evangelistic service
10:00 Fellowship at restaurant
Friday 8:00 am Breakfast
9:30 Distribution areas assigned
10:00 Begin distribution of flyers
12:00 pm Take snack break (don’t stop for lunch)
3:30 Compile distribution results
7:00 Pre-service prayer
7:30 Evangelistic service
Saturday 8:00 am Breakfast
9:30 Survey areas assigned
10:30 Begin surveys
12:00 pm Take snack break
2:30 Compile survey results
3:00 Tour of points of interest or park
7:00 Pre-service prayer
7:00 Evangelistic service
Sunday 8:00 am Breakfast
10:00 Sunday School
12:30 pm Dinner
2:00 Free time or tour as a group (Nap Time)
7:00 Pre-service prayer
7:30 Evangelistic service
10:00 Fellowship & Victory supper after church
This may seem like there is not enough time on the streets. There are a couple factors to consider. The first is that the heat of the day may drain the teens energy quickly. The second factor is that the amount of steady walking and climbing porch stairs does take its toll on the teens.
This “On the street” schedule could be expanded into the evening for a full week campaign. You could add in a lunch break or afternoon rest time. Then there would be time in the later evening for doing jobs
around the church or pastor’s home.
This type of outreach program calls for a more detailed and inclusive format of qualifications. The most efficient and effective way to handle the disciplines or qualifications is through a Daily Devotional
Diary. This contains record sheets, reading lists, and memory lists. The General Youth Division has one called Spiritual Adventure Notebook. This is a very good, inclusive notebook. It will take some training to use. Don’t let your teens be overwhelmed by the various sections. Some of them you will probably not include in your qualifications.
The following requirements give you the essential ingredients leading to the program of faithfulness needed to earn the great mission tour you are planning. Faithfulness is not “hit-and-miss”. It is being
consistent in all areas of private and public life as a Christian teenager. Listed below are the areas recommended for keeping records on performance. This style of “accountability” is positive reinforcement in Christian disciplines. These qualifications could be used during the course of a school year.
1. Faithfulness to local Youth Night 30 weeks
2. Faithfulness to local Sunday Youth Class 34 weeks
3. Faithfulness to local Church Services 30 weeks
4. Faithfulness to Devotional Diary 30 weeks
5. Faithfulness to Scripture Memory 3/week
6. Faithfulness to Christian Reading 3/year
7. Faithfulness to Follow-up of New Converts (3) 4 visits
8. Faithfulness to Soulwinning (be involved) 1 soul/year
9. First time Visitors to Youth Night 5
10. First time Visitors to Sunday Youth Class 5
The Devotional Diary faithfulness consists of daily prayer time, a request and answer prayer log, Bible reading, and studying. It would be good also to include a place for sermon notes. All these items should have pages on which to be recorded in the diary. There are approximately 36 to 40 weeks during the school year. This specific plan requires 75-85% faithfulness.
The Christian reading section is for three (3) books to read from an assigned or approved list. The teens should make a report on the book when they are finished. You determine the books to be read.
The Follow-up of New Converts is four (4) visits using a prescribed plan of your choice. A sample for this is shot-an at the end of this outreach guide. This will give you additional contact with the teens since you will have to teach them the basics of personal follow-up.
The Soulwinning category includes the involvement in your regular Basic Teen Outreach program during the year. The ultimate goal would be for them to win one other teenager or adult to Christ. Your basic
outreach could be a follow-up network for teen visitors and prospects, too.
The Youth Corps outreach would involve some special training. One area would be getting your teens familiar with the use of the diary. This could be done during a retreat or several youth nights. The Two-Day
Home Bible Study would be an area they would need training. This study could be used in your basic outreach and the teens would already be acquainted with it. Teach the teens a method to get Home Bible
This would be useful knowledge during the distribution of literature when they find a hungry individual. The survey itself is also one way of getting a study. Other training would be necessary if the pastor
wanted to use the Enroll to Grow plan. You might also want to share various ways of scripture memory.
If you desire to have a special singing group as part of your outreach, then special practice or training time would be needed here also. One of the possibilities for your mission tour could even include puppet shows.
The financial aspect of a mission tour is another area for consideration. One recommendation is to lodge your teens in a comfortable motel with four per room. The motel approach adds a touch of class to the trip. This is part of the reward for being faithful. Mealtime can be handled nicely by giving each teenager a definite amount of money each day. We have found that $10 per day is adequate and teaches them some additional responsibility in stewardship. The amount of the food allowance depends on your budget and area of the country you are touring.
There are many ways to raise funds. We will not deal with that prospect but recommend a book instead. Ideas for Social Action by Anthony Campolo contains many fund-raising ideas. It has other ideas for mission projects and community service, too. The bigger the reward is, the better the response of your teenagers will be. Here are a couple final ideas on the trip or reward for their faithfulness. Perhaps you have a small youth group and only one or two would qualify. The rewards can be worked into some existing programs that are sponsored by the General Youth Division.
1. International Youth Corps trips for your teen could be sponsored by
your local church or youth group.
2. National Youth Corps trips for your teen could also be sponsored by
your local church or youth group.
3. District Youth Corps trips could be used to reward your teen.
A sample budget for your own Youth Corps or Mission Tour could look
Motel expense ($40 per room X 4 rooms X 4 nights) $640.00
Meal expense ($10 per teen X 10 teens X 3 days) 300.00
Fellowship meal Thursday night 50.00
Transportation expense (depends on distance traveled) 100.00
Total expense $1,150.00
There are various other expenses that you could incur. One partially hidden cost is the expense for the diaries. This could be included in the expense, or incurred by each individual youth. The youth group
might decide to pay for all the tracts, flyers or surveys. If the church is not big enough, you may want to help with the rental of a special hall. Your group may even have the capability to pay for the guest evangelist.
GO FOR IT! 13
An “Action Team” on a “Youth Corps” can be a reality for your youth. What an opportunity for God to call your teens into full time Christian service! The cost does not have to stop you! Requiring teens to faithfully fill in a diary does not have to stop you! Only having a hand full of teens does not have to stop you! In fact, not even HELL can stop you! GO FOR IT!
This expanded outreach can become the pathway to a new life of exciting ministry for Jesus Christ. Your enthusiasm will keep the kids involved. Your involvement with them in the program will keep them
excited. Just think….Growing together….Ministering together…. Anointed together!
The numbers beside the books indicate the section of material they best correspond with in this outreach guide. Campus Crusade should not be overlooked. They have many outreach tools and training materials.
Spiritual Adventure Notebook 3, 10, 15 The Master’s Plan 4
General Youth Division Church Growth
709 E. Colorado Blvd.
Christian Service Manual 2, 4, 5, 11 Pasadena, CA 91101
Word of Life Fellowship
Schroon lake, NY 12870
Ideas For Social Action 2,8,12
The Fishermen’s Workshop 4, 11
by Al Gossan
Create in Me a Youth Ministry
General Home Missions or Ridge Burns 1,2
Word Aflame Bookstore Victor Books
The Dynamics of Personal Follow-up Man in Demand 4
Gary Kuhne 5, 11, 15 Harvest Mouse Publishers
(The original source of the above material is unknown.)
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