Our youth group just got back from the dare2share conference in Charlotte. It was a great trip. I love seeing our group “stretched” and challenged. Overall, good messages, good music, good dramas, and good experiences.
I admit I was a little skeptical going into it. I’m using not a big fan of canned Gospel presentation methods where you go point by point and try to work through an acrostic. I believe strongly in relational evangelism, actually listening to the person you are talking to and having a conversation, not a sermon. I believe that we all too often present a gospel that says, “Say this prayer, and then go on with your life” We need to present to them the power of the Gospel to transform their lives. We need to share the importance of Biblical community and accountability, and the importance of the Cross. We have to be careful to not come across as cold and impersonal, and a big way to do that is to share what Christ is doing in our lives.
I liked the statement that Greg Stier shared. Lost people need saved not only from the Hell they are going to, but the Hell they are going through. That is an important truth, we have a message that is vitally important, not just for eternity, but for the present. We must be committed to sharing our faith, and more than anything this conference gave our teens a sense of urgency and importance to sharing their faith now, while they have the opportunity.
I really appreciated the way they did the invitation/commitment time during the conference. Usually at conferences all the kids go up to the front and its almost impossible to find all your students and talk with them. At dare2share, Greg Stier asked them to all go one by one and talk to their youth pastor about what God was speaking to their heart. Also, since it was done on Friday night, we had a chance to follow up and discuss with our youth that night at the hotel and on Saturday. When an invitation is done at the very end of an event, it is so hard to follow up. Youth leaders are using trying to get everyone loaded up and on the van/bus and headed home.
They had an outreach event where they went into a neighborhood to collect can foods and ask for prayer requests. It was designed to give them a chance to try and share their faith. We had some problems with communication in the neighborhood where we shared. It was a predominantly Hispanic area, and we came across quite a few houses where we couldn’t communicate what we were trying to do. It was funny to see the youth nervous about going up to a house at first, and then getting more and more comfortable as they went around. Our kids (and adults) from small-town rural Virginia have so many preconceived ideas about neighborhoods in bigger cities. It was good for them to see that it’s not all bad.
One other part that was incredibly cool. Greg had them all pull out their cell phones, and then issued a challenge for them to call a friend and share their faith. That’s a great way to redeem some technology and use it for God. A phone conversation is a great starting point. And you know that their friends would be like “what was that all about”
Overall it was a great way to comfortably make our teens uncomfortable.