STARTER KIT 2009 YEAR OF SHINING YEAR OF SHINING
IDEAS AND SUGGESTIONS for youth leaders Produced by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Youth Ministries Department
A Chinese pastor was known for always instructing new converts to begin witnessing as soon as possible. One day, upon meeting a newly baptized member of the church, the pastor asked, “Brother, how long have you been a Christian?” “About three months,” the man answered. “And how many souls have you won to Christ?” “Oh,” the new convert said shyly, “I’m only a learner.”
Shaking his head disapprovingly, the pastor responded, “Young man, the Lord doesn’t expect you to be a full-fledged preacher, but He does expect you to be a faithful witness.
Tell me, when does a candle begin to shine —when it’s already half burned up?”
“Certainly not,” the convert stated. “It offers light as soon as it’s lit!” “That’s right,” the pastor said with a smile. “So, let your light shine right away.”
In the dark of night, even one candle can be seen from a great distance. When that same candle shares its flame with other candles, very soon whole areas can be lighted. We’re called to be “light bearers” to the world; to first shine, and then share our light with others in the dark places of sin.
Christ’s parable about the candle hidden under a bushel has a lot to say about what God expects of us. When we’ve been given the light of truth, we’re supposed to shine! What He has placed in our hearts was never intended to be kept a secret; to remain hidden.
“Let your light so shine before men,” God commands, “that they may see your good works, and”— here’s the part that many fail to grasp — “glorify your father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
The light that is in us is meant to glorify God, not us. It’s His goodness that shines; His compassion, His tender regard for fallen humanity that our light illuminates.
This year our goal is to challenge youth to shine and share the light God has placed in their hearts. The dark world is waiting for the light of God’s love.
HIS WITNESS Invite members of your group to find or create a series of skits depicting the various methods Christ used to touch the lives of those around Him. Perform these skits for your church family, explaining why you're studying this particular aspect of Christ's life and how you plan to use those methods to reach the community.
GETAWAY Spend a weekend by the shores of a local lake, examining the stories of Christ's life centered in Galilee. Place those happenings in today's world, using modern words and examples and determine how the group can evangelize the community using those ancient ways of witnessing.
HOUSEBOUND Invite each in your group to choose one member of their family as their "witness target." Their assignment is to show that person (the witness target) one thing about God this week. Have them report back to the group the results of their action (if any) and share what they learned from the experiment.
LITTLE THINGS Prepare a Sabbath service highlighting the “little witnesses” that Christians can share in the home—no grand schemes, no multi-city meetings, just one-on-one witnessing in the home. Use skits, music, and readings showing church members how they can share God's love anywhere.
LOUD SILENCE Spend a session discussing ways of generating a "silent witness" at school or work. This might include displaying spiritually uplifting artwork in your office, your choice of music and literature, and the ways you react to life situations. Have each person in the group choose one and apply it.
FRIENDSHIP Organize a weekend of activities to which your members can invite their friends. On Sabbath, hold health and relationship seminars. On Sunday, schedule games and other outdoor activities. Each day let your visitors know that you're trying to make their lives better and more meaningful.
THANKSGIVING Maintain a large bulletin board at your church with a supply of note cards and invite members to write short notes of thanks to God for their blessings. Include some artwork and decorations in and around the board. Refresh the board every month with new decorations, artwork, and notes.
THIS IS ME With your pastor's blessing, create a complete Sabbath service where each member in your group shares what God has done for them in the past. Some may witness in song, others through the spoken word or skits. Make sure each member glorifies God, not themselves.
"God has given us the gift of speech that we may recite to others His dealing with us, that His love and compassion may touch other hearts, and that praise may arise from other souls also to Him who has called them out of darkness into His marvelous light" (Counsels to Parents, Teachers, Students, p. 243).
"The silent witness of a true, unselfish, godly life carries an almost irresistible influence. By revealing in our own life the character of Christ we co-operate with Him in the work of saving souls" (Christ's Object Lessons, p. 340).
"I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true" (Words of Christ, as quoted in John 5:30, 31).
"The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound" (Isaiah 61:1).