Organizing for Youth Evangelism

"Youthful talent, well organized and well trained, is needed in our churches."

By T. R. NELSON, M.V. Secretary, Pacific Union Conference

"Youthful talent, well organized and well trained, is needed in our churches." "We have an army of youth today who can do much if they are properly di­rected and encouraged. . . We want them to act a part in well-organized plans for helping other youth." —Christian Service, p. 30.

Thousands of our youth are ready to respond to this appeal. In your church you will find some of these youth. The question may be asked, Why should we spend time and energy in the training of youth for soul winning? The answer is found on page 204 of Messages to Young People:

"Satan is a vigilant foe, intent upon his purpose of leading the youth to a course of action entirely con­trary to that which God would approve. He well knows that there is no other class that can do as much good as young men and young women who are consecrated to God. The youth, if right, could sway a mighty influence. Preachers, or laymen advanced in years, cannot have one-half the influence upon the young that the youth, devoted to God, can have upon their associates."

In training our youth for soul winning we ac­complish two things: (I) We put into action a positive program that will lead our youth away from "a course of action entirely contrary to that which God would approve." (2) We put into action a latent power in our churches which will have a powerful influence in the winning of youth for Christ.

Thus, in this two-point program we will save one of the greatest problems of our young people, not in a negative but in a positive way. The motion-picture theater, questionable radio programs, the music of the world, and hundreds of other satanic influences will find no place in the lives of youth who are winning souls for Christ. We must stop trying to cure the de­linquency of youth by a negative program, and place more emphasis upon prevention, by fol­lowing a positive plan that will enlist the en­ergy and enthusiasm of our young people in the right direction. Realizing the importance of this plan, the Pacific Union Conference Committee has passed the following action:

"WHEREAS, Both the Bible and the Spirit of proph­ecy encourage a great soul-winning movement before the second coming of Christ; and,

"WHEREAS, The youth have demonstrated their ability in soul winning when properly encouraged and organized; and,

"WHEREAS, The basic call of the Spirit of prophecy is to organize our Advent youth to labor for those not of our faith. (Will the young men and women who really love Jesus organize themselves as workers, not only for those who profess to be Sabbath keepers. but for those who are not of our faith?'—Signs of the Times. May 29, 5893);

"We, the Missionary Volunteer Secretaries of the Pacific Union Conference in council feel that advance steps should be taken to meet this call, and therefore.

'"Recommend to the union conference committee that the following plan for mobilizing our youth into active missionary service be approved and encour­aged throughout our field:

"1. Wherever practicable, the pastors of the local churches in council with the conference Missionary Volunteer secretary lay plans for public evangelistic services for youth and by youth, the primary object of such meetings being to win other youth not of our faith, and to encourage and revive the spiritual life of our own young people.

"2.    These meetings should be given a name desig­nating them as youth evangelistic services, such as 'The Voice of Youth,' Truth for Youth,' Youth for Youth,' or some similar appropriate name.

"3.    Wherever possible the youth themselves should be used as the mouthpiece in giving the message, in personal visitation, ushering, furnishing the music, and assisting in all other ways with the meetings."

There are many ways in which we might or­ganize our youth in evangelism. The pity is that in too many places not even one plan has been tried. I shall briefly mention a few plans that have been tried out in various places with good results.

One of our pastor-evangelists baptizes be­tween fifty and one hundred souls each year without conducting a large evangelistic effort. He trains and uses the youth in his church. Many of them go out as colporteurs ; others learn how to give Bible readings, distribute lit­erature, or bring their unconverted friends to the Sabbath morning service where the pastor preaches an evangelistic sermon and makes a call. As many as ten new converts have come forward during one of these Sabbath calls. The youth of this church are following the blue­print.

In another church the pastor organized and trained his youth for a youth effort. The major part of the effort was conducted by the youth both in public meetings and on the radio.

Our interns and young ministers are finding a fruitful field in youth meetings. City officials and officers of the law have great respect for them, and are ready and willing to make con­cessions to, and help our evangelists in, this type of evangelism.

Another successful method concerns the use of visual aids now in preparation by the Bureau of Visual Education. Four of our youth were trained to use this method, and they selected as the location of their effort a most difficult place, one of our large city churches. Hundreds of people attended and over fifty names have been turned in to date. Several have already been baptized. These youth have accomplished much for God in their humble efforts.

In centers where evangelistic meetings are in progress and where Friday night is being used in the effort, the service may be designated as young people's night. The meeting should be advertised as such, and the youth should take a large part in the service. Saturday night might be used in some cases instead of Friday night. In too many instances we find our youth on Saturday nights going places and doing things that completely ruin all the good accom­plished for them at the M.V. meeting, in the Sabbath school, and the Sabbath morning serv­ice.

The great need of this age is evangelism for and by our youth ! The world is ready for it. Our youth are ready for it, and God is calling for it. Let us as workers not disappoint our God and our youth in this important work.

We have no stereotyped method to present. But we believe that by following the instruc­tion given us by the messenger of the Lord and using all the resources at our command, much may be accomplished. As we hear from those who have been successful in youth evangelism, may we not only be stirred and inspired, but return to our field of labor with the determina­tion that this is the time to enlist our youth for Christ in a mighty crusade.

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By T. R. NELSON, M.V. Secretary, Pacific Union Conference

July 1947

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