The last snippet from Allison Hill’s article about a youth evangelism conference in Dayton, Ohio. Pastor Tyler Detrick’s reflections on the event are worth a few minutes of consideration:
According to Detrick, the kids were surprisingly eager to speak with people, even asking to move to new locations when they weren’t seeing much foot traffic. In total, the 27 teens handed out 1,500 tracts. Pastor Detrick was encouraged by their readiness to approach passers-by and ability to field a wide array of questions. He further described how wonderful it was to overhear them recount conversations and interact with one another’s successes and difficulties, even during times during the week set aside for free time.
The youth concluded the week energized and zealous to pray for those with whom they had witnessed. In fact, many attending youth from other congregations asked their parents if they could attend Light of the Nations Church that following Lord’s Day, curious to see if any of the people they spoke with would come. “You don’t want to presume that the Lord will immediately bring in a ton of people as a result of your evangelism, but it is wonderful to be expectant. And these youth were expectant—they believed the Lord was doing things through their words,” Detrick says.
Though there was not a flood of curious nonbelievers at Light of the Nations Church the following Sunday, there were three attentive visitors at worship because of the evangelism event as well as six calls to Pastor Detrick later that week from individuals in the community who had ended up with one of the postcard tracts. As with any evangelistic endeavor, though it is impossible to see the full impact of such labors, there is great encouragement in the promise that the word of the Lord will not return to him empty.
Overall, Pastor Detrick was invigorated by the event and motivated to do something similar again in the coming years. What started as a desire to equip youth to be prepared to share their faith culminated in an immensely fruitful time of earnest growth and evangelism. Detrick shares his excitement by urging other churches to try something similar: “Any church could and should try it. You have to find the people who are in your community, assess the best ways to engage with them, and reach out to them. Everywhere is different, but that is a challenge for all churches.” A challenge that is worth laboring to overcome, Detrick believes. “We know Christ calls us to open our mouths and move our feet for the gospel. Why do we overlook the places where we are planted? An event like this is an organized reminder that we all should be striving to reach the people nearest to us with the gospel.”
1. Two words: Energized and contagious. That’s what came out of this conference for those who participated. Youth energized to talk to people, pray for people, and see what God would do. A pastor energized by seeing the youth in action. And everybody talking about it. How could you create evangelism efforts in your church that would leave people energized and create a contagious culture of evangelism?