By Stephanie Ziebarth, Barnabas Coordinator
At Joy El, a Christian retreat center in PA, we offer a year-round discipleship ministry for students in grades 8 to 12 called the 4.12 Leadership Training Program. One of the 4.12 Leadership Training students with whom I have a comfortable relationship is quite shy. I visited her church a few months ago and (privately, in advance) asked if she’d like to share a little bit about her 4.12 Leadership Training Program experience during her Sunday School class. Even though it was a small group, Maddie just couldn’t get herself to share.
Fast-forward a few months and it was 4.12 Christmas party time. Amid all the fun and games, the spiritual focus of the party was encouraging students to share their faith with friends and family during this Christmas season. A local church had donated copies of the life book (see thelifebook.com for more information) to give to the students to help them with sharing. I had seen in Maddie’s spiritual growth update that she had used that same tool at school recently, so I asked her about it at the beginning of the party. It turned out that she had led an outreach through her Christian high school group that involved handing out the life book at school. One student had begun a relationship with Christ as a result of the little group’s outreach! I asked Maddie with a look that said I knew I was asking a lot, “Would you be willing to share that at this party tonight, so the students know that sharing their faith can have results?” She paused for just one moment before nodding her head that, yes, she would do it. I was thrilled!
Sure enough, Maddie shared about a 60-second testimony with the 70ish students in attendance that evening.
Two parts of this story are exciting to me:
-that Maddie suggested this outreach at her school and saw immediate results (I’m sure there will be longer-term results too)
-that Maddie got outside of her comfort zone to encourage her peers at the 4.12 party
It was exciting to see that, as a result of Maddie’s sharing, the other 4.12 students are taking the encouragement to heart and watching for opportunities to share their faith. I have heard from multiple students about how they are putting into action this challenge to share the Gospel.
For some handy resources on how you can share your faith in addition to the lifebook, follow these links: