We’d just had an “Encounter” week at the high school, and as a coach, I was so excited. The students had invited their friends to come hear a good message and enjoy some pizza, and the guest speaker had clearly shared the gospel. After collecting response cards and meeting with the student leaders, we were overjoyed to find that a girl who’d been coming to EDGE for a couple months now had checked the box that read “I prayed to receive Christ.”
The friend who invited her went to my church on occasion, but was a newer Christian herself. Would I mind meeting up with them at Starbucks and help to facilitate the conversation of “what now?”
(*Sidenote* — This is it. This is EXACTLY why I can’t stay away from EDGE Clubs. Because making disciples is of the utmost importance in this day and age [plus, Jesus told us to]. Because it gives students a chance to grow in their own faith by challenging their friends. Because churches are there, helping new believers learn more about following Jesus, and putting God’s Bride on display for the world to see.)
So we go to Starbucks, and I just watch the interaction, so proud of this girl who loved her friend enough to invite her to EDGE, and now, as difficult as it may seem, ask her some basic questions:
“How did you like EDGE last week?”
“What were your thoughts about the message?”
“Who is Jesus to you? This is who He is to me…”
…And just like that, we’re having a conversation with someone who never understood grace before, who never understood what Jesus had done for her before on the cross, and it’s being led by a girl who, a year ago, didn’t know Jesus, either.
I got to watch that!!! I got to be a part of that!!!
I am praying and looking forward to the day when the new believer is baptized, and her friend is there with her in the water. I’m praying and looking forward to the life-change God will continue to bring to the high school through the gospel of Jesus. This is such a gift – such a humbling privilege to be a part of God’s plan in these students’ lives.
So how do we go beyond the club and help student leaders disciple other students? Here are some practical things that other coaches have used and taught me:
- Spend time with them outside of the “EDGE Club” context.
This means that you meet up with them with a specific goal of investing in them spiritually. You don’t plan EDGE Club, and you don’t just catch up, but you ask them about the friends God’s laying on their hearts. You pray with them. You teach them what the Bible says about following Jesus and you challenge them to go for it.
- Invite them to your church.
There are a surprising amount of student leaders who may have come to know the Lord in an EDGE Club or other Christian organization on campus who do not attend a Bible-believing church, or whose families don’t go to church, and since kids may not be able to drive, this translates into them not attending church, either. Offer them a ride! Ask them to help out at a church event. Introduce them to people at your church and involve them. This is often the first time these kids have ever had a “spiritual” family, and it will make a huge difference in their lives.
- Practice the conversations.
When meeting up with students, walk them through the conversations they will have with their lost friends. Practice makes a huge difference by mentally preparing students for what to say. Practice the conversations they’ll have when their friend accepts Christ – what questions do you ask? What scripture can they share to new believers and explain? The student leader referenced above shared Matthew 18:3: “Unless you have faith like a child, it will be impossible to enter the kingdom of heaven;” and was able to explain that to her friend. But she’d been over that before, and practiced sharing that scripture.
- Bring a Bible.
This kind of piggy-backs off the earlier point, but having a Bible there to flip to scripture is awesome, especially if students may not have the verses memorized. Maybe even consider buying a Bible to use for the meeting, and handing it off to the new believer after the meeting is through!
- Encourage them to have big faith.
This whole year, we’ve been praying in faith that God would allow us to share the gospel with over 10,000 public school students. This is lofty, but we have a big God, and students need to be challenged to have big faith in Him. Jesus says in John 14:13 that He “will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” Explain this to students! Tell them that Jesus will use their witness and prayers to plant seeds in the hearts of their friends.
Obviously there are many more ideas out there than simply these, but I hope these are some good starting points. In the mean time, keep praying! God is awesome and wants to do mighty things through your public school.