Youth for Christ use the ‘4D’ approach to evangelism; Demonstrate, Declare, Decide and Disciple. In Taunton we do our best to adopt this throughout our work and join the dots. However, we are mindful that we are not a church so we transition the relationship from us to the local church, as we believe discipleship is best done within the body of Christ. That means young people being discipled with a church family around them.
One example of this is the transition some young people have taken from breakfast club to church. We demonstrated the love of God through feeding and exploring life skills, plus listening to the young people. They then asked if we did anything else. When we told them about the various activities we do in and around Taunton, several realised they already knew people at CU.
So, they chose to try out CU for themselves. These young people stayed and are now weekly regulars. We recently ran Youth Alpha so that everyone is on the same page with what a Christian is. It was also important for those who are not Christians to hear and know what their friends believe.
Young people were amazed to see their friends hear the good news about Jesus. During Alpha, we used the analogy of a swimming pool to highlight where people were at in their relationship with God and many had developed a deeper relationship. It was also a privilege to hear that 2 had started a journey with God and now attend church youth clubs with friends.
Joining the Dots
It’s important to have pathways that join the dots. This is because young people may want to find out more, go deeper or make a declaration. Our Breakfast Club is a great place to build relationships. It’s what youth work is all about. Everything is voluntary, so young people are free to leave or try out a different club at any time.
The power of friendship has been vital. We have found that the relationships we build as youth workers are great but, sometimes, only up to a point. Relationships in which friends can be vulnerable together have been where we have seen “friendship evangelism” work best. This means Christians being vulnerable by inviting a friend and the friend being vulnerable by asking to find out more or enter into a new place.
By Anthony Stevens