Our ministry is very evangelistic. How did it become that way? Good question—and one we’ve been processing in our own discussions this week, too. Here are a few of the reasons a student develops a heart for his or her lost friends, and how a whole bunch of teenagers like that create an infectious ministry.

Lead people to Jesus yourself.
Your ministry is usually a direct reflection of you. Want students to develop a deep sense of community? Be in one yourself and talk about its importance often. Want students to share about their failures and problems? Model vulnerability from the stage and you’ll get it in return. So if you want to produce evangelistic students—you can see it coming by now, can’t you?—share your faith with friends, families and neighbors often. Talk about the lost friend you’re praying for, show them how a conversation can point people to Christ.

Make sure everyone knows their own story.
Students need practical ways to share their faith with their friends—one of the best ways is helping them articulate their own spiritual journey. If their story is filled with sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll…that’s okay because it’s THEIR story—but make sure the focus rests squarely on Christ and his redemptive work. If their story isn’t quite that dramatic, encourage them to point out how much God saved them from and the potential they have following Jesus’ ways without the painful past. Either way, having everyone write out their personal story is a great way to help build evangelistic confidence.

Make prayer cards.
A super practical idea might be to help students simply jot down the names of friends who don’t know Jesus on a little card, and keep it in their wallets or purses. Whenever they see those names, they can pray that God would open the door for a spiritual conversation with a friend.

Create series that are easy to invite people to.
We need to be sure to teach the whole counsel of God—every word is ordained and inspired but not as easy for a first-timer to church to handle. At least once a year have a “bring a friend” series that’s designed to give them an easy felt-need they can invite someone to.

This post was written by Josh Griffin and Kurt Johnston and originally appeared as part of Simply Youth Ministry Today free newsletter. Subscribe to SYM Today right here.

The Power of Testimonies

 —  September 20, 2012 — 1 Comment

I love adding a testimony to my message. I think it makes the sermon totally come alive!

For HSM’s Fall Kickoff this year I taught a message to each class (freshman, sophomore, junior, senior) and for a couple of them I added a testimony to help give the talk a sense of realism and weight. The two students who shared, Jenna (an incoming freshman) and Bryce (starting his senior year), did an incredible job sharing their hopes and dreams for the upcoming year. I was so proud of them – a couple incredibly mature students!

We don’t always have a testimony, but when we do:

  • We give students direction for their story – but not usually too much lead time
  • Students have to simply read their testimony on the stage – it is the great equalizer
  • All testimonies are edited by someone from the team
  • Parents have to be aware of the content and sign off on it being shared


Senior Weekend was incredible with seniors owing the weekend – speaking, sharing their testimony, videos, decorations, theme – a strong ending to an incredible 4 years in HSM. Here’s one of the students who shared – Melissa Minkovsky did a great job of walking students through her past, present and future. Love it!


Proud of Gabby for sharing her story during HSM a few weeks ago during HSM’s You Own the Weekend. Here’s her video testimony!


Here’s one of the student testimonies from STORIES weekend in HSM a couple weeks ago. This was the first story of the weekend, powerful stuff and a great point to God’s grace!


Weekend Teaching Series: Stories Weekend (1-off)
Sermon in a Sentence: Students share their lives, experiences and faith with their peers.
Service Length: 80 minutes

Understandable Message: This weekend we didn’t have a typical message – it was time for another Stories weekend. This weekend 6 students shared their stories combined with great music made for an awesome weekend. The students shared on many topics drawn from their experiences, including eating disorders, self-image, faith, loves, abuse, sumer camp highs, salvation, walk with God, worship, serving and much more. The stories were inspiring and incredible – I would highly recommend you trying out a service like this in your youth group!

Element of Fun/Positive Environment: This weekend we played a modified version of this “no services” video that played great as well as a new video promoting The Landing (Celebrate Recovery for students). The opener this week was a super fun rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas with a whole group of energetic students on stage, too. Students in the band, did lights, sound, cameras, control room, greeting and speaking!

Music Playlist: 12 Days of Christmas, I Found a Love, Hosanna, Burning Ones, With Everything

Favorite Moment: Without a doubt it is the students sharing – the attention when a student takes the stage is absolutely incredible. There was no pastor on stage this weekend, but there was plenty of preaching!

Up next: Good Neighbor Weekend (no HSM services – more details later this week)

Quinn’s story from Trabuco Hills’ You Own the Weekend in HSM.