From the Staff . . .

Being Ready to Have an Impact for Christ in our World

This Summer the church youth explored, at Passport and on Youth Wonderful Wednesday (YWW) night discussions, how to serve God in an impactful way. We discussed how we live and how we respond when given opportunities to share our faith, by action and verbally, so God’s love is experienced by those that come into our lives. This fall in YWW the youth are discussing difficult issues for us in our faith as well as scripture passages that are difficult to understand in our world/culture today.  We are now experiencing spiritual formation through the sermon series “Daring Discipleship.”  This has been very challenging for me to think how my life affects others, for God’s love or NOT.  Just like what our youth are doing in their discussions on Wednesday nights.

One of the things the youth discussed was if we are ready to share our faith. Yes, we want to do things that share God’s love but there are, hopefully, times when we are asked why we do these things. Do we understand our faith in a way that would allow God to lead us to verbally share it in a way that others might understand our faith as well as how to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior?  If we do not have a good plan of what we would say when asked,  “Why are you helping?” are we truly ready to share the spoken word God has for us to share?  So, we talked about what we could say and then how to help a person know how to allow Christ’s love into their life. So, because of our youth group’s discussions and Caroline’s sermon series on Discipleship, I wanted to share with you what came from the group’s discussions.

First, we asked the question, what we should say when asked how come you have Joy. This discussion centered around our Faith Story. In my youth days it was called my testimony.  There are three aspects of our Faith Story:   Past – Present – Future.

Past – What brought you to a faith in God through Christ?  (Do you know what you would say?)

Present – What keeps you connected to your faith in Christ? How is Christ’s love in your daily life? / Praise & Thanksgivings / Blessings

Future – The hope of living eternally in God’s presence and Christ’s love.

Second (this was great), the youth then asked, what next? The question was,  “What do I do if someone responds to my sharing of my faith by saying, ‘I want Christ’s love in my life.’ ?”    Here’s where you may need an organized way to share the things we must do to allow Christ’s love into our lives. But if you don’t have an organized way, this might help you. This is just one way to understand how to share this process. Again, this is one suggestion that the youth reviewed on Wednesday nights; there are others.

I offer GOGO:  an acronym for a plan of action.

God’s Purpose:  Eternal Life is a Free Gift – Romans 6:23; It gives Meaning and Purpose – John 10:10; Eternity in Christ’s Love – John 14:3

Our Need: We are not perfect – Romans 3:23; We can’t save ourselves – Ephesians 2:9; We deserve separation from Christ’s love – Romans 6:23

God’s Provision: Jesus is God’s Child – John1:1,14; Jesus has paid the ransom for us – 1 Peter 3:18; Jesus was truly raised from the dead – Romans 4:25

Our Response: Repent – Acts 3:19; Put our faith in God through Christ’s love – Ephesians 2:8; Jesus is Lord – Romans 10:9-10

If this is understood by your friend and they want to allow Christ into their lives and heart, then we can help them say in some way, “Jesus is Lord,” a public witness. Oh, but we are not done; we should help them become true Disciples of Christ. We could mentor them.  We could get them involved in the Church, and in some small Christian group experience.

My hope is that this has not only challenged you to rethink all of this information you already have in your life but to now be looking, just a little more, for the opportunities God gives us to Share Christ’s Love both in deed and in word.

In Christ’s Joy and Love,

Tom Waggoner

Your Interim Youth Minister