Chris Selby, youth pastor at First Baptist Church Hiwassee in Arkansas, leads a group of everyday kids who have everyday fears about sharing their faith. So when this group of students came to Lead THE Cause (LTC) last summer, how did they have 57 gospel conversations with complete strangers in just two hours? What provoked these students to share their faith in Jesus with confidence and boldness, despite most never having shared the gospel with anyone before?
When THE Cause Gets Real
Lead THE Cause is not your average evangelism training. During the week, dynamic speakers and breakout sessions give students the tools to know the gospel message and initiate conversations with unbelievers. Then, they get to step out and practice what they’ve learned with strangers.
The Hiwassee youth group started the outreach day by role-playing and giving the gospel message to each other. “They were nervous, they were scared, they were stuttering,” Selby said about the practice session. “But we kept doing it until they got a better handle on it.”
The nerves only got worse as the group headed to Red Rocks Amphitheater to share the gospel with anyone who would listen. “I don’t know if I look calm on the outside, but I am a nervous wreck on the inside,” said one girl from the youth group. “It’s a little scary!”
The students walked around in small groups among a crowd of concert-goers waiting for a show at Red Rocks that evening. With the core training fresh in their minds and their hearts centered on the gospel, they moved past fear and pushed forward with faith to talk to these strangers about Jesus. That’s when something incredible happened.
“They had 57 gospel conversations in two hours!” Selby remembers. “I told them, ‘If we do this every day, that’s more than a lot of people share the gospel in their whole lives, and you just did that in two hours walking around talking to strangers.'”
A Newfound Boldness
In that small amount of time, the group of nervous Arkansan teens experienced the crucial switch from fear to faith as they told people about Jesus. After the outreach experience, one girl said, “Oh yeah, I was scared to death, but once you do it the first time it’s not so bad.”
The ultimate goal of Lead THE Cause is to transform fearful teens from being intimidated to energized disciples who are able to share the gospel in confidence with anyone. And for this youth group, LTC’s mission was accomplished.
“It’s just exciting to see the before effect with how scared they were to how energized they are now for the gospel,” the proud youth leader said. “I love it.”
The teens in this youth group came away with a life-changing experience and an emboldened passion for sharing their hope in Christ with others. “When you think about what you’re doing and how it might change someone’s life, it’s such a great experience,” one student reflected after her gospel conversations at Red Rocks. “This is the way God works, and it’s so great.”