How to Run an Evangelism Café

  • by Barry Warren

What is an Evangelism Café?

A café is a great place to experience a broad range of senses and experiences -  the smell of fresh bread, the taste of coffee, the sight of art on the walls, the feel of hot liquid down your throat, the sounds of a friend or of cool jazz.  An Evangelism Café is a creative and interactive experience designed to help believers: 1) understand different aspects of evangelism, 2) explore their experiences and attitudes toward evangelism, 3) learn about some of the best principles and effective practices in evangelism, and 4) generate engaging and effective evangelism ideas as a community.

Why run an Evangelism Café?

We have no lack of information about evangelism and practical evangelism resources, but creative and engaging ways to use your senses and ignite the right side of the brane, in the context of community, is hard to find.  Participants who have gone through this have said things like: “I feel valued, because my thoughts and ideas where listened to.”  “This helped me understand evangelism better.”  “This was creative and refreshing, not another lecture or talk.”  “I feel encouraged to share my faith.”

What’s needed to run an Evangelism Café?

This can be adapted in many ways, but here is what I recommend:

 
The Evangelism Café  PreSurvey .
 
A few devices that can play video or mp3.

Two videos and an MP3 file.

 
A deck of Soularium cards.

  • A variety of distinctly different feeling objects like:

    • Sandpaper or sandpaper blocks

    • Something sticky like wall tack used to hang posters

    • Wooden blocks or rocks

    • Soft fabric, or Koosh balls

    • Metal pot scrubbers or steel wool

    • Bean bags

  • Three sheets of paper or more creative ways to capture responses to 1 to 5 scales.

  • Someone to lead the orientation and debrief.

  • One to six people to facilitate (serve as guides at) six stations.

 

How do I run an Evangelism Café?

Big Picture - There are essentially four elements that make up the Evangelism Café experience:

  1. Orientation - Take a few minutes to introduce the three aspects of evangelism and explain what the  Evangelism Café is and how it will basically work and flow.  There doesn’t need to be any surprises or “just wait you’ll see” to make the experience effective.

  2. Sharing Your Experiences - At the core of the Evangelism Café are six stations.  Time at each station can range from 8 to 12 minutes.  All three aspects of evangelism each has two stations.  This first station of a mode is designed to help participants express their experience and attitudes toward that aspect of evangelism and evaluate how confident they feel to lead a movement in that kind of evangelism or how capable they are to engage in that kind of evangelism.

  3. Processing Effective Evangelism - The second station of a mode is designed to give participants a taste of principles and practices that are leading to effective evangelism in that mode.  They then have time to process what they’ve hear and read, share with their group and think about new and effective ways to implement a new resource, training, strategy, outreach, etc.

  4. Debriefing - This is a time for participants to process what they’ve learned or enjoyed from the Evangelism Café.  This can be done as a whole group or in the same teams they went throught the stations with.

 

The Step by Step - The following will give you a list.  You can personalize it to fix your context.

Before You Begin

Set up your space with all your materials and media.  Split participants into six teams. It’s nice to have four to eight people per team.  If you only have one or two teams, it’s ok. The max you will have is six teams.

Upon arrival, have participants complete the PreSurvey (link above).

 

Briefing (5 Minutes)

Introduce the idea of the modes of evangelism, the Evangelism Café, how it works and cast some vision.  Have each team start at an appropriate station.  The following might help you think through your briefing:

 

Before we get started, a little research:

■    Who had the privilege of coming to Christ through the nurture of a Christian family and a Christian Church? (In other words, you were raised to be a Christian.)

■    Body: Who “belonged” on the way to “believing”?  How many became involved in Cru on your journey to Christ?

■    Natural:  Who was introduced to Christ by someone you know - a friend, family member, or acquaintance?"  For how many was it someone involved in Cru?

■    Ministry: Who was introduced to Christ by someone doing an evangelistic outreach of some kind?  Was it a Cru outreach?

 

Evangelism in the body mode occurs when the body of Christ is gathered.  This may occur in large groups and small.  It may occur in planned meetings or informal social gatherings.  We should be intentional about increasing the visibility of the movement to outsiders, involving unbelievers in our community and adapting the culture of the movement to welcome outsiders.

Evangelism in the natural mode occurs when we share with someone because of our relationship or natural connection. We must be aware of our personal spheres of influence, intentional about building relationships with unbelievers, and increasingly sensitive to the spiritual process.

Evangelism in the ministry mode occurs when we intentionally reach out to another person with the purpose of witnessing to them (in contrast to the natural mode, in which we share with someone because of our relationship or natural connection).  But ministry evangelism doesn’t all look the same. There are countless examples of creative approaches, both to engage an audience and to communicate relevantly to them. The examples that follow will give you a taste of the creativity being used today.

If you have three or less teams, have each one start at a station A.  If you have six, have number each team start at a different station.  Instruct that they will move to the next station after a timer sounds every eight minutes.

 

Station 1 - Body Mode: Station A (8 minutes) This is the tactile experience.

Each Team will see table with six sets of objects on a table and rating scale

 

The guide greets the team and introduces the mode by reading the following story:

My name is Patrick.  I blamed God for my family falling apart. My feelings of anger and bitterness shaped my relationship with my parents and even my friendships at school.Thankfully everything changed once I began my freshman year at Ohio University. It’s ironic because even though I swore I would have nothing to do with God or Christianity, God still pursued me.

The first week of classes I was invited by my first friend David, a junior, to Cru’s first weekly meeting of the school year.  At the meeting I was so surprised by what I saw.  As the band began playing worship music and I saw people worshipping the Lord. I thought I was in a cult.  As I tried to look for the exit the MC asked us to greet each other. I was struck by the care and love these Christian’s showed, not just to each other but also to strangers like me.  I was so impacted by this meeting I wanted to learn more about Jesus.

David then introduced me to Brian who was leading a bible study in my dorm. As the months progressed I continued to attend bible study and events Cru hosted. At the end of fall quarter I decided to attend Cru’s Christmas conference. Then one evening it struck me: "I can’t earn God’s forgiveness on my own. I need Jesus." It was there I accepted Christ into my life as my Lord and Savior.

My story is just one of countless examples of God using the body mode of witness, when students and faculty belong on the way to believing.

 

  • Have them pick up and feel each object. Then ask them to “Choose the object that best expresses your thoughts and attitudes toward body mode evangelism and tell us how or why it does that.”

  • Take notes on what images are chosen and record a simple summary statement as to why. Note especially common themes.

  • At the seven minute mark, ask each team member to place a ball in the cup on the scale to: On a scale from 1-5 rate how adequate (i.e., confident & equipped) you feel to share your faith well in this mode. As the guide, record the numbers for each member of the team (so that we will have a cumulative total and average). As the group moves on, reset the rating scale for the next group.

Station 2 - Body Mode: Station B (8 minutes)

Team sees wall of Principles, Practices and Possibilities, to stimulate their thinking and conversations.

  • Guide greets them and plays for them the 2 minute video from Pat Macleod. “Listen to this 2 minute video of Pat Macleod sharing from his doctoral research he did on two of Cru’s very effective evangelistic movements.”

  • Have them take a moment and read through the principles, practices and possibilities.

 

Principles 

  • Non-believers often experience belonging to a Christian community before believing.

  • When you foster authenticity, love, and service in the movement, you provide outsiders an environment for healthy spiritual processing.

  • When students see the love of the gospel, it helps them understand the message of the gospel.

 

Practices

  • Train students in the practical skills of inviting, welcoming, and including outsiders.

  • Involve non-Cru students and faculty in Gospel in Action initiatives that address social injustice.

  • Track “involved unbelievers” in the movement.

  • Sponsor intramural athletic teams with a mission to demonstrate Christ-like sportsmanship.

 

Possibilities

  • Ask the Lord to give you an exciting vision for body mode evangelism on your campus.

  • How can you give Cru students practical training to help new students feel welcomed and loved: to feel like they belong, even though they don’t yet believe?

  • What human justice cause has God put on the hearts of the students on your campus and in your movement?

 

  • Then ask:

    • What strikes you most?

    • What thoughts or questions do they spur?

    • When it comes to Body Witness, what’s worked well in the past?”

 

  • Have them write down on sticky notes (one idea/note) plans they have for this mode or ideas they want to try or even new brainstorms for body witness.  Have them share the plan or idea and stick the note on the whiteboard.

 

  • For more ideas: direct them to crupressgreen.com/cafe

 

Station 3 - Natural Mode: Station A (8 minutes) This is the visual experience.

Each Team will see a wall with a number of large images and a rating scale.  For simplicity, you can also hand out a dozen Soularium cards.

 

  • The guide greets the Team and introduces the mode by reading the following:

My name is Tara.  I entered college at Roger State University as a pretty vocal atheist. The anger I felt was from abuse I experienced in my early years.  God was nowhere to be found.  But something inside me began to change when I met Shanell.  As Freshmen, we had the same major and instantly connected.  Even though we were complete opposites, we hung out every day for 3 years.

Something pulled me towards Shanell.  The more I got to know her the more her faith came out.  The more her faith came out the more I hated it. I gave Shanell, my sweet friend, such a hard time (about her faith).  But she never lashed out and she always listened, making every effort to relate with me.  She never shoved God in my face and she never ever told me I was a bad person for the way I felt.  Shanell showed me what a life with God looked liked.  She always responded in love and understanding.

By my senior year, I started to have questions, and that's when I reached out to my friend Shanell.  That night I was home alone and I called Shanell.  I asked Shanell why there was still a hole in my heart.  Why was I still incomplete?  I poured my heart out to her. Shanell directed me to Cru.org and over the phone we went thru what I now know as the KGP, and I accepted Christ that night.

My story is just one of countless examples of God using the natural mode of witness, when believers share Christ with family, friends, and acquaintances.

 

  • Have them look at all the images. Then ask them to “Choose the image that best expresses your thoughts and attitudes toward body mode evangelism and tell us how or why it does that.”

  • Take notes on what images are chosen and record a simple summary statement as to why. Note especially common themes.

  • At the seven minute mark, ask each team member to place a push pin into the scale to: On a scale from 1-5 rate how adequate (i.e., confident & equipped) you feel to share your faith well in this mode. As the guide, record the numbers for each member of Team (so that we will have a cumulative total and average). As the group moves on, reset the rating scale for the next group.

 

Station 4 - Natural Mode: Station B (8 minutes)

Team sees wall of Principles, Practices and Possibilities, to stimulate their thinking and conversations.

 

  • Guide greets the group and shares these statistics:

    • According to the UCLA studies of Spirituality in Higher Education

    • 80% have an interest in spirituality (and only 1 in 7 indicate they are not interested); 75% have discussions about the meaning of life with friends

    • The USA has over 20 million students. These stats suggest that 16 million have an interest in spirituality and 15 million are talking about it with their friends.

    • Our SomeTime initiative and feedback has confirmed UCLA’s stats. (See Crupressgreen.com/sometime/)

    • About 80% of those who ask a “Sometime” question are able to set-up a time to get together with their acquaintance for a spiritual conversation.

    • About 70% of these "exploring" conversations became gospel conversations.

    • Between 12-15% of the meetings resulted in a student indicating a decision to become a follower of Christ.

    • So, if our 75,000 involved students and faculty each asked 5 friends to get together sometime to talk about their spiritual story, and 4 of them said “yes” we could expect...

      • 300,000 spiritual conversations with friends and acquaintances

      • 210,000 gospel conversations

      • Over 25,000 students indicating decisions to receive Christ

    • Mentally translate these numbers in light of your movement’s # of involved students.

 

  • Have them take a moment and read through the principles, practices and possibilities.

 

Principles

  • Students are interested and open to talking about spiritual matters in relationally safe environments.

  • Helping students overcome their fear of initiating spiritual conversations with friends is essential to seeing the gospel spread broadly on campus.

  • The best evangelism skills to develop are asking good questions and listening well.

Practices

  • Implement the SomeTime strategy as part of your small groups.

  • Use the Explorer role of CoJourners to teach students to ask good questions, exploring the background, experience, and spiritual interest of others.

  • Help your students develop plans to engage relationally with others, getting out of their “Christian bubble.”

  • Encourage and equip Christian faculty to utilize their expertise and influence to impact students and the world.

Possibilities

  • Ask the Lord to give you an exciting vision for natural mode evangelism on your campus.

  • How can you equip and motivate students to develop friendships, overcome fear, pray for opportunities, and initiate spiritual conversations with their friends?

  • What areas of campus (that are strategic or in great need of the gospel) can you encourage students to be become relationally involved in?

 

  • Then ask:

    • What strikes you most?

    • What thoughts or questions do they spur?

    • When it comes to Body Witness, what’s worked well in the past?”

 

  • Have them write down on sticky notes (one idea/note) plans they have for this mode or ideas they want to try or even new brainstorms for natural evangelism.  Have them share the plan or idea and stick the note on the whiteboard.

 

  • For more ideas: direct them to crupressgreen.com/cafe

 

Station 5 - Ministry Mode: Station A (8 minutes) This is an auditory experience.

Each Team will see table with a mp3 player/tablet/computer and speaker and rating scale.

 

  • The guide greets the team and introduces the mode by reading the following:

My name is Katie and I’m on staff at Morehead.  I’ve been to a lot of outreaches in my time on campus, and Marian Jordan gave the clearest presentation of the gospel and opportunity to respond I have ever seen at our “Girl’s Night Out” event.  Are you familiar with Marian Jordan & “Girls Night Out?” Marian Jordan is one of our approved speakers for the Speaker’s Forum and last year over 30 campuses hosted a “Girls Night Out” women’s event. Marian uncovers the lies women believe about themselves.  Using media clips mixed with her personal story, she discusses the many things girls use to fill the “God-shaped holes in their souls.”

In our event we had over 76 women attend and 7 sorority girls accepted Christ that night.  Now the Kappa Delta’s are seeing exciting things happen in their sorority as a result.  Around 24 women from this chapter attended.  The first girl I spoke with is a sophomore named Kourtney.  After my first question, “What did you think of Marian Jordan?”  She responded, “Great!  I got saved and so did some of my friends.  Our sorority is turning upside down.”

This story is just one of countless examples of God using the ministry mode of evangelism, when we take the initiative to share Christ with the students and faculty on campus.

 

  • Tell them they can close their eyes and listen to seven sounds.   Then say, “Choose the sound that best expresses your thoughts and attitudes toward ministry mode evangelism and tell us how or why it does that.” Then play the sounds and repeat the question.

  • Take notes on what images are chosen and record a simple summary statement as to why. Note especially common themes.

  • After seven minutes, ask each member of team to:  Ring the chime, on the scale 1-5, to rate how adequate (confident & equipped) you feel to share your faith well in this mode.

  • As the guide, record the numbers for each member of Team (so that we will have a cumulative total).

Station 6 - Ministry Mode: Station B (8 minutes)

Team sees wall of Principles, Practices and Possibilities, to stimulate their thinking and conversations.

 

  • The guide greets them and says: “This video was made by a movement that motivated christians on campus to make God, the purpose of life, human nature, and the identity of Jesus big issues on campus through use of a resource called Perspective Cards.”  Play for them the 3-minute video of a Perspective Week at Appalachian State.

 

  • Have them take a moment and read through the principles, practices and possibilities.

 

Principles

  • Strategically reaching out to a target audience (especially freshmen)often produces better results than random campus evangelism.

  • Listening to and learning people’s worldviews and experiences allows us to identify and more effectively address barriers to faith.

  • Using large group events and campus-wide campaigns creates significant evangelistic momentum.

 

Practices

  • Capture the momentum of retreats and conferences with a Perspective Week Campaign, Justice Week, or 30 Days on Mission.

  • Use Soularium, Perspective Cards, or a GIA emphasis to create spiritual conversations in high traffic areas of campus.

  • Take advantage of national (or regional) grants to help finance ministry outreaches, like the Speakers Forum or FSKs.

 

Possibilities

  • Ask the Lord to give you an exciting vision for successful ministry mode evangelism on your campus.

  • How could you use everystudent.com or social media to help students on your campus hear about Jesus?

  • How can you make Jesus and worldview a main topic of discussion and interest on your campus?

  • How can your movement initiate 1000 thoughtful and respectful spiritual conversations in one week?

 

  • Then ask:

    • What strikes you most?

    • What thoughts or questions do they spur?

    • When it comes to Body Witness, what’s worked well in the past?”

 

  • Have them write down on sticky notes (one idea/note/name) plans they have for this mode or ideas they want to try or even new brainstorms for ministry witness.  Have them share the plan or idea and stick the note on the whiteboard.

 

  • For more ideas: direct them to crupressgreen.com/cafe

 

Debrief - (6 minutes)

To close ask the teams:

○    “Which mode experience did you most enjoy and why?”

○    “Which mode experience did you least enjoy and why?”

○    “Which mode to you most want to explore more and why?

●    Participants are encouraged to talk more with people they noticed were strong in modes they feel weak in.

●    After the scales are tallied, share with the group.  Making note of which modes people feel confident in and not.  Also making note of which modes people in the group tend to value and devalue.

●    Participants are encouraged to replicate a similar experience with their staff teams and students in order to teach and understand better where they need more training and attention.

●    Participants are encouraged to come back to the station B of each mode: through the next week, take time to process through ideas, dreams, and continue talking with others.  They can write their ideas at the stations Bs to share with others adding their name so others can find them and talk more about their ideas.

Feedback!

Please email your thoughts and ideas of how to improve the Evangelism Café to randd@cru.org or go to www.crupressgreen.com/cafe and click on the survey monkey link.