THE HIGH SCHOOL MINISTRY OF CRU

Taking the Initiative

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Jesus was never satisfied with just news-weather-sports type relationships. His commitment to people was much deeper. He was always aware of needs – eternal needs. And as God’s Spirit works in each of our lives, these are the issues that will concern us also. Are we willing to take the initiative to meet these needs?

SPIRITUAL SHYNESS

Have you ever had an experience something like this? While you are talking with a friend, the subject of his personal needs comes up (or something else is said that could lead to an opportunity to talk about Christ), and you just stand there with your tongue tied in one big knot. You don’t know what to say. And isn’t this especially true with people you have known for a long time? You can talk about anything except …

BEING CASUAL BUT DEFINITE

In John 4 we have a vivid picture of how to take the initiative when sharing our faith. Jesus became a friend and He casually but definitely turned the attention of the Samaritan woman to her spiritual needs. At the same time Jesus was not heavy and preachy. We certainly do not need to be preachy with our friends either. We can relax. The Holy Spirit is at work in the lives of our friends and we are only His mouthpiece-His communicator. We are God’s messenger boy or girl, and as we witness in the power of the Spirit we can leave the results to God. When Jesus shared, He was casual but definite. He was relaxed and friendly, yet He had a purpose in His conversations . . . to help people know His Heavenly Father.

DUMP THE LINGO

Not only should we be casual but definite in our witness, we should also be clear in our communication. Do you use Christian lingo or God talk when you share? I have heard Christians enthusiastically try to explain spiritual truth to non-Christians by using terms and cliches such as, praise the Lord, saved, born again, God blesses you and a host of others that the non-Christian did not understand. These terms are meaningful to Christians, but are unclear to unbelievers. As good communicators we need to be fresh and creative in explaining spiritual truth. We can explain what it means to have a relationship with Christ. Then we can explain that this is what is meant by being born again. We need to translate Christian terms.

How would you freshly and creatively explain each of these terms to a non-Christian?

  • born again
  • God Blesses you
  • saved
  • sin
  • grace
  • inviting Christ into your life
  • receive Christ
  • the abundant life
  • fellowship

Talk about these and other terms with your friends.

REACTING OR RESPONDING

Relaxing and clearly communicating are important in our communication with others. But what happens if someone does not relax with us, and in fact reacts when we try to share our faith? Let’s look at our story in John 4. In verses 10-14, Jesus turns his conversation with the Samaritan woman from a request for water to an offer for living water-real satisfaction. He turned the conversation to spiritual issues. At first, the woman wanted to challenge Christ’s claim to have the answers to life (vv. 11, 12): “How can you know the truth? No one knows for sure.” This is not unusual. Some people may respond this way, even after we have established a friendship.

Has anyone ever said this to you? How would you answer in a way that would help someone rather than argue? There are three ways we could respond to someone who questions us as the Samaritan woman questioned Jesus.

  1. We could back off, retreat, and give up.
  2. We could react or argue, trying to impress people with what we know.
  3. We can respond positively.

Why do you think it is important not to argue with people when we share Christ? What do these Scripture verses tell us about attitudes as we witness? 2 Timothy 2:23-26; Galatians 5:25,26. Some people are unhappy and dissatisfied with life and they can be a little argumentative, as was the Samaritan woman. But it appears that she did not want Jesus to back off and leave her alone. People who challenge us seldom do. In fact, they are disappointed if we do retreat. “Well, I guess he’s not that convinced himself.” Jesus kept His focus on her real need, not her reactions, and it helped her trust Him.

ATTITUDES FOR TAKING THE INITIATIVE

As we wrap up, here are some suggestions that will help you take the initiative:

  1. Pray specifically for opportunities to share Christ. One of the biggest reasons we don’t share our faith is because we are not spiritually or mentally prepared. We are not really thinking about or praying for our friends.
  2. Look for opportunities. If you have asked God for an opportunity to share then expect it. Your friend may ask a question, express a personal need, or give an opinion, hoping you will respond. Be on the alert. When your opportunity comes be casual but definite. In other words, relax. God is in control. But take the initiative. Take a step of faith. Care about your friend.
  3. Create opportunities. When people were not coming to Jesus, He went to them. This is the most important and exciting part of your ministry. Create opportunities by setting up a special time to eat. Or, invite a person to a meeting or Bible study where Christ will be discussed. Have your friend over for dinner. When creating opportunities, always be very honest as to why you would like to get together. Explain that you have discovered something that has really helped the spiritual dimension of your life and you think it would interest them also.
  4. Consider the immense importance of someone knowing Christ. Don’t take other people’s salvation lightly. God doesn’t. He made the greatest sacrifice of all time-on the cross. Ask God to give you a heart of compassion. Focus your attention on what really matters-eternal values. These Scripture verses will help: Matthew 9:36-39; Romans 10:13-15; 1 Timothy 2:1-4,2 Corinthians 4:16 – 5:10.
  5. Don’t be afraid of failure. It has been said, “He who never fails never does anything.”
  6. Teamwork. Try pairing up with a Christian friend to pray together for those with whom you want to share (Matthew 18:19). Create opportunities together-team evangelism (Luke 10:1).

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

We have discovered that as we share our faith we should:

  • Take the initiative.
  • Be casual but definite.
  • Relax in the Spirit.
  • Be clear when we use biblical and Christian terms.
  • Do not argue.

MY ACTION

For sharing to become a way of life we need to be thinking and planning ahead, focusing our attention and concern on those around us who don’t know our Lord. The more we concern ourselves with the needs of others, the more natural it will be to share Christ.

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PLEASE NOTE

  • If you are a student, do yourself a favor and get an adult to take on this responsibility! In most cases, they will enjoy it and have more success. But even if you are able to delegate this aspect of your ministry you need to read this and understand how valuable adults are to reaching your school.
  • If you are an adult, prayerfully proceed!

PARENTS

It is important to understand that in every community a group of adults exists who care enough about their young people to get involved in the solutions to their greatest needs. In most communities, parents are your greatest allies and potential resources. For just a moment, imagine what parents are facing when their sons and daughters are approaching adulthood. They are doing the best they can in raising their children. They are looking for significant others to take an interest in their kids. Most parents of students today feel disconnected with how their son or daughter is really doing. When meeting parents you need to let them know, without apology, what you and your ministry are all about. The most important principle in working with parents is being confident. Remember names of other involved parents and community people as you meet new parents. One name dropped at the right time is worth a thousand attempts at describing what you do. When a parent has shown an interest in getting involved, give them something to do as soon as possible. And remember to pray for the parents!

TEACHERS AND OTHER FACULTY

Christian teachers, coaches and administrators can be a tremendous resource in trying to reach a campus with the gospel,especially if they are well liked and respected among the students and faculty. Many entered the field of teaching because they wanted to make an impact on the lives of young people. So, with the “perceived”legal limitations, what can they do?

  • They can be involved in prayer,individual and
  • They can be “salt and light” in the classroom. They are within their legal rights by having and defending a biblical worldview. They can be an official advisor for your outreach if you decide to make it an officially recognized school club. They can open their classroom up for students to have prayer meetings.

Here are some ideas for mobilizing teachers to be part of ministry to teenagers.

  • Participate In Education Sunday

    This commissioning service for students and school staff would be a great way to help the teachers and students see that they are Christ’s ambassadors to their campus, to help them realize they are on the same team, and to help the church to see how critical the public schools are in God’s plan.

  • School Staff Prayer Breakfasts

    Organizing prayer breakfasts for school staff is another way to encourage the churches, students, and mom’s prayer groups to support the teachers in the school and to also encourage them to become involved in helping to reach the school for Christ.

  • See You At The Pole

    Encourage them to take part in it. It typically happens the third Wednesday in September.

  • Encourage Christian Faculty To Join CEAI

    Christian Educators Association International (CEAI) is an organization which provides a subscription to Teachers In Focus magazine, encouraging literature on being a witness in your school, and insurance comparable to NEA, with a philosophy that supports their Christian stand. (www.ceai.org; phone 1-888-798-1124)

  • Utilize Key Times for Students To Encourage Teachers

    Great opportunities for showing appreciation to teachers include:

    • Thanksgiving
    • Christmas
    • Valentine’s Day
    • Easter
    • National Teacher Day (usually about May 7)Graduation (invite teachers to Baccalaureate)
  • Encourage Seniors to Witness To Their Teachers Before They Graduate

    The greatest need among educators is for appreciation, so encouraging cards sent to teachers (Christian and non-Christian) will go a long way in opening them up to Christ.

  • Help Inform Teachers and School Staff of Their Legal Rights

    Many school faculty have been intimidated into believing that they have no rights at all as Christians. Let them know that they do NOT have to check their faith at the schoolhouse door. A good resource for them is “Bible Clubs and Student Religious Meetings in Public Schools,” available in the Resource section of the 1x1x56k magazine.