This is not a quick fix thing or something you do tomorrow and everything will change type thing. This is something we started in the fall fo 2019 and has taken a year to catch and we have seen it take off. It’s something we probably get asked about more than anything else.
And we saw our ministry doubled because of it. At least, this was what I think was one of the main reasons why.
If you talk with most students about the idea of what evangelism is, most students find it overwhelming. How do we go out and tell all of our friends about Jesus who don’t know who He is? Most students think they need to be bold and stand in the middle of their quad at school and start preaching the gospel in the middle of lunch. Or they think they need to be able to speak from stage. Or they believe they need to stand on a corner and do some street evangelism. Sounds overwhelming.
When it comes to this simple idea of “who is your one”? It breaks down this really big concept of evangelism for students into something way more doable and way more realistic in their minds… and let’s be honest, way more effective.
I would say, if I had to pick one thing to see the growth our ministry has seen over the last two years, the idea of “who is your one?” Has been one of the biggest keys.
What is it?
“Who is your one” is this idea that each student who believes in Jesus is really intentional about, caring for, reaching out to a friend they already have who they know does not believe in Jesus.
This is not original all to me, it’s Biblical and I even really started to grasp and implement it at my last church, but we have seen it take off at Sandals Church Youth.
Even if you think about your own friend group, you know someone you already have a relationship with and they don’t know Jesus. The idea is that you would spend time with them, be there for them, let them know you are praying for them, invite them to church, talk to them about faith or lack of faith and just be a good friend to them.
All in hopes they would know you and your faith and because of your relationship with them they see your relationship with Jesus and want it as well.
If you look at Jesus, there were many times he called out people and wanted to spend time with them one on one, inviting himself over to their house for food and just to be around people who were “not like him”. It’s a much more relational approach to evangelism that I believe students can get behind and function from.
This is way more doable when we can get students to understand that the best evangelism is done knee to knee and eye to eye in relationship. A student who has a friend they already know and are friends with with the intentionality of inviting them to a 1st Wednesday or a real community of a small group is a great combo and strategy to show who Jesus is about.
We have seen when students grasp this concept and have just one person they focus on loving and caring for and praying for all year in hopes they know Jesus and get involved in church, it’s been so effective.
How did we make this a thing in our ministry?
We did a few things to make this a big deal and I will let you know up front… it takes some time and it takes repetition.
- We did a whole vision series at the beginning of the school year (you can go to move.sc/youth to SCY and We Are SCY to go back and watch) which set up these big concepts of why we want to focus on them this year and challenge our students what to do in regards to 1st Wednesdays and Who Is Your One?
- At the end of that series we made little business cards with “My one is __________” on them so they filled it out and they got to keep it so they can see it every day and they gave another one to the small group leader for accountability.
- We had training about those very things at the beginning of our school with our leaders to help them understand how they can help their students in their small groups.
- We added an update of “How are you doing with your one?” In the curriculum that all small groups go through at least every other week for the first year.
- We told and shared stories from all our campuses of someone’s “one” coming to church and getting involved in small groups and starting a relationship with Jesus. Stories are powerful and we should have back pocket stories ready to share at any moment.
- Celebrate students and leaders who take this on and do it well. Celebrate them personally but also publicly. Everyone wants to be celebrated and what gets celebrated gets repeated.
- At some point during every service, “Who is your one?” Needs to make an appearance. How you set culture is that everyone needs to hear it all the time and needs to be reinforced over and over for people to gab onto it and make it a part of the culture of your ministry.
I really do believe taking this concept and giving students a chance to really own it has changed the way we approach this idea of reaching students who don’t know Jesus. Because let’s face it, students are better at reaching other students. They are better at reaching their own friends then we are. But we can do our best to set them up well to do so and help them feel a burden for their un-churched friends in hopes they have a passion to reach them in the name of Jesus.
The cool thing about “who is your one” is that in reality, you don’t need a building, you don’t need a huge event, you don’t need to be cool or anything like that. You have a friend who is being intentional and has a burden and you provide a safe atmosphere where students feel comfortable to invite friends because they know it’s going to worth it if they show up. Community and relationship is powerful and we have the opportunity to show them the best relationship of all with Jesus.