What does it take to confidently share the Gospel with those around us?
Often, we want to wait until we feel truly “ready” to share our faith. But what does it mean to be ready?
Emma, a 13-year-old from First Baptist Church in Clinton, discovered sometimes being ready is less about a feeling and more about being willing to act. Thanks to a Connect Missions Weekend, Emma found that willingness to step up and take action.
This two-day weekend missions event helps Arkansas Baptist churches train youth to serve their communities and share the Gospel with those they encounter while serving.
Students arrive at the host church on a Friday evening, enjoy a worship service and hear a Gospel presentation, then spend the night at the church, camping out in Sunday school rooms. On Saturday morning, teams of youth go out into the community, completing service projects such as minor home repairs or yard work. The teams are trained to be aware of opportunities to share the Gospel with those with whom they come in contact. Saturday evening is a time of celebration with teams returning to worship together and sharing testimonies about their day.
When Emma went out on Saturday morning, she had the evangelism tool she received the night before. She knew techniques for witnessing. Having grown up actively involved in church, she knew the truth of what it meant to be a child of God. Even with all of this, she still didn’t feel ready to share her faith. The entire day of service passed, and no opportunities seemed to present themselves.
Emma was discouraged and felt like she had failed. But instead of giving up, she became more determined. On the way back to their host church, Emma’s team stopped at a convenience store for drinks. She saw a man standing nearby and decided to talk to him and share the Gospel with him. That moment of action was all it took! Emma felt as if she had come alive, with the Spirit flowing through her in a new way, awakening her to all the opportunities around her.
Later that evening, Emma and her sponsor returned with more resources for the man, but he was gone. Disappointed but determined, Emma noticed a store employee who was struggling with discouragement. Emma shared the Gospel with the woman, and the woman’s response was so strong that she decided to take her work break to hear more of this encouraging truth.
The whole experience opened Emma’s eyes to opportunities all around her, even in her own hometown. Witnessing at home had never even occurred to her before, but the simple act of moving from “getting ready” to saying, “I am ready,” was a turning point that completely changed Emma’s life and perspective. She is now hungry to share the Gospel whenever she can. And, thanks to Connect Missions Weekend, she has the tools and experience she needs to do just that.
The Dixie Jackson Arkansas Missions Offering partially funds Connect Missions Weekends to keep the cost low for participating churches. When Arkansas Baptists give and participate, they equip youth, youth volunteers, and other Arkansans around the state to experience their own turning points.