Wednesday, June 3, 2020

The Power of a Student’s Testimony

Earlier last month we started a series of articles focused on youth ministry through the lens of the recently published “Influencer Report,” a study from company Morning Consult that analyzes how Millennials and Gen Z use social media to gather information from well-known "influencer" personalities. Last week we discussed the ability of today’s youth to become micro-influencers within their digital world. This week, let us dive deeper into this topic, unpacking one of the ways that a youth ministry can build off of the students’ ability to be micro-influencers: their testimony.

The Power of Reviews
Buying a product online can be a serious commitment. Whether its clothes, tech gadgets, make-up, games, or even health and wellness items, we conduct hours of research to see if the product is for us. Yet, regardless of how good the seller promotes the specifications of the item, we’ve got to check out the product reviews. The product looks good, but does it work? Is it enjoyable? Has it made a difference in their life? If there are any challenges they have had with it, we would like to know about them. True, the number of 5 star reviews is certainly important to consider, but this metric alone isn’t always enough to make us pull out the wallet. Before taking the plunge, we do a quick scroll through the comment section to see how many of the “You need to buy this!” or “this truly changed my life” reviews have been posted. At some point along the comment feed, the reviews help us get off the fence and commit one way or the other (As an aside, if you’re looking for a good laugh, check out the product reviews for this banana slicer. You won’t be disappointed).

The Power of Testimony
Just like product reviews, a person’s testimony of their encounter with Christ can be extremely powerful. In fact, it always has been and always will be the most powerful style of evangelism the Church can put into practice. The reason for this is because a testimony is someone’s personal experience that is told from their perspective. The story is theirs and no one can take it away from them, regardless of how much the opposition may argue. It is here where secularism fails to refute the power of Jesus Christ, for there are too many testimonies of individuals shackled by sin who were suddenly transformed and born anew. Since today’s youth is engaging their world through the experiences of their peers, a testimony from a fellow student can be one of the most effective forms of ministry that your church can possibly utilize.

Youth Ministry and Testimonies
It is here where you as a youth minister can hand a microphone (or the church’s social media account) over to a student and allow them to be a micro-influencer through the power of their testimony. Naturally, such a suggestion brings with it the need to practice care and caution. Even though students can share some of the most powerful testimonies surrounding their spiritual struggles, we would not want to set students up for failure or create a scenario where information is shared that should not have been. The youth ministry leadership team and the parents should guide and mentor the student through the process of speaking on any topics that may be deemed as sensitive. Ideally, the student should be far enough away from the experience to objectively speak on the matter, but close enough to it to be able to be powerfully relevant to the other students within the youth ministry. Discernment is a must, and communicating this with the student and their parents can help ease concerns (while also allowing the Spirit to move at His own pace).

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