Participants: Karen Thomas, Jason McCracken
Series Code: IAA
Program Code: IAA000059
00:30 Welcome to Issues and Answers.
00:32 It's great to have you back join us
00:33 for another wonderful program.
00:35 Today our guest is Pastor Jason McCracken.
00:38 He is a marketing representative
00:41 with Review and Herald as well as a youth evangelist
00:45 and has done evangelism around the world
00:47 and he is fluent in many languages
00:50 Portuguese, Spanish, English you name it he can speak it
00:54 or at least give you a greeting.
00:55 As a matter of fact could you give us your famous greeting
00:57 that you do when you go places?
00:59 Well, I actually do 30
01:01 but maybe I can do a couple right now.
01:03 Okay. Okay.
01:04 From the Philippines is Magandang umaga po.
01:06 In fact, matter of fact, talk to that camera over there.
01:08 Okay. Yeah.
01:10 How about this one?
01:11 This is from Africa.
01:14 The other one is from Fiji, Bula vinaka.
01:19 How about this one from, all the way from--
01:21 now this is a little difficult.
01:22 This one is French.
01:28 Now of course, I love Portuguese.
01:31 So this one's like this one.
01:39 That's great.
01:42 I'm sure people watching in those language
01:44 appreciate getting that nice greeting.
01:46 So tell me now what do-- we are gonna talk about today?
01:49 Today we're gonna talk about some issue of youth evangelism.
01:52 One of my concerns is that in small churches
01:56 we have a number of young people
01:58 and they are sitting there on the bench
02:00 doing nothing and they are saying
02:03 "How come I can't get involved in youth evangelism?
02:06 Do I have to be an adult to actually evangelize?"
02:10 And I'm saying no.
02:11 You can be a youth evangelists as early as 12 years old.
02:15 Jesus, at 12 was doing youth evangelism.
02:22 And so tell me what does the Bible
02:25 say about youth evangelism?
02:26 Well, the Bible is very--
02:29 Jesus gave us some tremendous indications here
02:32 in Matthew Chapter 28 reading from verse 18 it says,
02:39 "And Jesus came and spake unto them,
02:41 saying, all power is given unto me
02:44 in heaven and in earth."
02:47 Verse 19, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
02:51 baptizing them in the name of the Father,
02:55 and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost
02:57 teaching them to observe all things
03:01 whatsoever I have commanded you
03:05 and, lo I am with you always,
03:08 even unto the end of the world."
03:12 This is the commission that Jesus gave His disciples.
03:19 People do not understand that the disciples of Christ
03:23 were very much young in heart.
03:26 They were not old people of 100 years old
03:29 they were young and Jesus had to teach them
03:34 that they have to go into the world,
03:38 into the communities, into society
03:40 and preach the everlasting gospel.
03:42 Now why is that so important that a person
03:45 who believes in Christ actually has to go?
03:48 Because witness, when a person witness,
03:52 now we-- let's flip it around.
03:54 Jesus says to go.
03:56 Now when the person is going
03:59 which is that they are now going.
04:01 Now he has to witness.
04:05 Witness mean he is going to testify
04:08 or to be a witness of Christ
04:10 everything that Christ has taught him.
04:13 So now when the young person go into the society,
04:17 into their own community and talk to young people
04:20 who has no relationship with Christ or un-church
04:23 they are now going to witness about Christ
04:28 and sometimes that can be difficult
04:30 because young people just can't take a Bible to high school
04:34 but if they learn about what Jesus taught them
04:38 now they can go to school and they can talk about Christ.
04:44 That's Youth Evangelism.
04:47 And how do we get from the person
04:51 that sitting in their pew,
04:54 the young person and then getting them motivate,
04:57 are young people interested in this kind of thing at all?
05:00 Well, first of all-- Would you find?
05:02 First of all young people have to be taught how to witness.
05:07 I was talking to my daughter just the other day
05:09 and she's only 12 years old.
05:10 She is a little taller than I am and she's 12.
05:14 And recently we had death in our family
05:17 and of course, she understands death
05:20 through what we have taught her in the Bible.
05:22 But now she was witnessing about what happens,
05:26 she said I went to the casket
05:28 to say goodbye to my grandmother
05:31 and when I got back to my community
05:33 I told my friends about the funeral.
05:36 And I told them, I said, "My grandmother,
05:39 I watched my grandmother go down in the ground."
05:44 And I'm going to pray that when Jesus comes back
05:47 the second time and all of His glory
05:49 with millions of millions of angels
05:52 Jesus is gonna call her by her name
05:56 and she is going to be resurrected.
05:58 And so the kids were saying
06:00 "Well, ain't she dead or she in heaven?"
06:03 She said, "No, she's in the ground.
06:06 She is in the ground.
06:08 Do you hear what I say? She is in the ground."
06:11 And so they said, "Well, some people believe that
06:14 you know, there's this ghost,"
06:15 she said "Look, Casper the friendly ghost
06:17 is only on television, you shouldn't be watching it."
06:21 And that's witnessing, it's natural, it's spontaneous.
06:25 It's not about sitting down with the Bible studying
06:27 and showing the Bible and pointing these things out,
06:29 so you ought to believe what the Bible says.
06:31 But there was something that she said in the home,
06:33 the mother was present, the daughter was present
06:36 and so is my daughter.
06:37 And she turned to the mother and said,
06:41 the mother said to her,
06:42 "Well, there are so many religions in the world,"
06:46 and my daughter said,
06:48 "Don't worry about the religions in the world
06:51 just worry about what the Bible is saying."
06:54 That's beautiful. That's youth evangelism.
06:56 It's not a tip it's person to person
07:01 relating about Jesus and His life.
07:06 And you know what they said? They said, hey, that's cool.
07:10 Cool to know there is something at their fingertips.
07:11 That's right.
07:12 And she didn't take her Bible because it was her memory.
07:16 It was from an experience that she had recently
07:19 with the death of her grandmother.
07:22 So now obviously being the great father that you are
07:25 to have had this wonderful witnessing experience
07:28 that you are able to see your daughter in action
07:30 what kind of things would you do to prepare her
07:32 so that when she was in that situation she had an answer?
07:37 Well-- Or something to say.
07:38 We most adults would like to dialogue with their kids
07:42 and they think you have to be in a formal setting,
07:44 you have to be on a couch
07:46 and you have to wear shirt and tie and you open the Bible.
07:49 No, you can be outside on the port,
07:51 you can be in your car, you can be at a picnic aground,
07:55 you can be at a baseball field,
07:57 you can be in the backyard or even in your bathroom
08:00 while she is combing her hair, you can talk about Christ,
08:03 you can talk about the Bible
08:04 and remember young people are going through
08:06 difficulties in their lifestyle.
08:09 So you relate these difficulties in their lifestyle
08:12 and you talk about Jesus when He was a teenager.
08:16 People forget the Jesus was a teenager at one time.
08:19 He was that-- He was a baby.
08:21 He grew up to be a young man and also a teenager
08:25 and He had to wrestle against temptations
08:28 in His lifestyle, in His life time.
08:30 So well, what about us?
08:34 We did the same thing, so are young people
08:38 are children going through the same thing now
08:40 so we relate the simple things and correlate it to the Bible
08:44 and it makes it easier for them to go out and witness.
08:48 We don't tell them to go witness,
08:49 they do it spontaneously just say.
08:53 Oh, that sounds pretty easy.
08:57 Now, let me give you, let me share this to you.
08:59 Okay, all right.
09:00 Here we are at a small little church, okay,
09:03 and basically if you have a youth leader in your church,
09:06 a youth leader in your church,
09:08 that youth leader really needs to understand
09:10 what is youth evangelism.
09:11 That he or she needs to understand
09:14 the essence of youth evangelism
09:16 that why we should evangelize then open the Bible
09:20 and express that to the young people
09:21 and give them some creative ideas.
09:23 Let me give you a creative idea that we did in Brazil.
09:26 And they are still doing it now.
09:28 Mother's day will come up eventually
09:32 and so all the young people of course,
09:34 they are gonna give their mothers a little flower,
09:36 a little card or maybe sing to her.
09:39 What we did, we did a national project.
09:42 We started from the local church.
09:44 We said we are going to visit in all of Brazil
09:48 one million mothers on that Sunday.
09:53 And so the young people said,
09:54 wow, we're gonna visit one million.
09:56 No, you're just gonna be a part of the hundreds of thousands
10:00 who will be going out knocking on doors
10:02 saying happy mothers day.
10:05 Well, how do we gonna do this? Very easy.
10:09 On mothers day we want you to get a t-shirt
10:12 that has something that reflects your church,
10:15 a symbol, Adventist youth.
10:17 We want you to go and get a rose or a flower.
10:21 We will provide you with a card,
10:24 a beautiful card, a national card,
10:26 it's the same exact card on billboards,
10:29 on the bus, on street signs
10:32 and you're gonna give that same card
10:34 even we will have a television spot created.
10:39 We will now teach you the song
10:41 that the name of the mother's day campaign was
10:46 That means we applaud you mothers.
10:49 And so Sunday morning there would knock on doors
10:53 and they would sing the song.
10:58 And they would go on and then they say.
11:04 And then would all clap.
11:08 And give her the flower, give her the card
11:09 and then invite her Sunday night at a school
11:13 at elementary or public school to this mother's day program
11:17 free of charge sponsored by the Adventist youth.
11:21 All the overwhelming response across the country
11:25 more than one million mothers were reached in one day.
11:29 Now, that's a simple project
11:30 that started from a little church
11:32 and expanded throughout the country.
11:34 Now what about that little tiny country church?
11:36 You don't have to go and do a national project
11:39 but you can do it locally.
11:41 You can take the same format
11:43 we're gonna buy some roses and some flowers
11:45 and we're gonna go and knock on doors
11:48 and we're gonna give them flowers
11:49 and a beautiful mother's day card
11:52 and we're gonna sing to them in English or Spanish
11:55 or Tagalog or Portuguese or whatever
11:58 and express your love for mothers
12:01 and then invite them to a mother's day program
12:04 that you're gonna put on in a high school.
12:07 So you don't have to have
12:09 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 60, 80, 90 people,
12:14 you can just have five young people
12:16 and a small little church
12:17 to do something nice for the community.
12:19 That's called youth evangelism.
12:22 Just getting the young people up and going.
12:25 Getting them involved.
12:26 Now in some places we have this gender,
12:31 I don't say gender but generation issues
12:34 where the people who are older
12:36 and they have more leisure times
12:37 some of them are retired or maybe not even those
12:41 that are retired those that are working
12:42 they really don't feel that they are ready
12:45 to give the young people that much the attitude?
12:51 How do you overcome that challenge?
12:53 Let's say you're in a small church
12:55 there are 50 people who come to church
12:59 more than half, 75% are old.
13:02 25% are between birth and maybe 15.
13:06 Now you don't need to ask permission to go out
13:09 and do community work, you just go.
13:12 Jesus said go.
13:14 He did not say you need to go to church board and say,
13:16 "I approve you to go and knocking on some doors
13:18 and telling a mother about mothers day."
13:23 What they have to do, the youth have to organize themselves
13:26 telling that we're gonna do something here in the community
13:28 and I know that they will get all the support.
13:32 Some of the older people might even give them
13:34 ideas and suggestions.
13:36 It's a collaborative world, we must work together
13:39 but the youth are the foot soldiers
13:41 because they have more energy than the adults.
13:44 So let them go out there and do the work.
13:49 Well, that sounds great. Give us another example.
13:51 Okay, sure.
13:52 Well, the Insight Magazine carries an issue,
13:56 a special issue once a year regarding youth evangelism.
14:00 Now this youth evangelism is very interesting
14:02 because this is called UW, ultimate workout.
14:07 Now they are actually going to use
14:09 their physical bodies work hard
14:13 but witness at the same time.
14:15 They had 163 students divided into five different projects,
14:22 ADRA projects and they went to Nicaragua overseas
14:25 and they built houses, churches,
14:29 schools and clinics within a two week period.
14:32 In the evening time they would have
14:35 some form of evangelistic program,
14:38 they would take their guitars,
14:39 they would song songs with the kids
14:41 because a lot of children would like to learn English,
14:43 especially in Spanish speaking countries.
14:45 So they like to learn English
14:46 so they were like to all those cute little songs in English
14:49 and those beautiful--
14:51 and so the children are learning English,
14:55 learning about Christ in song
14:58 and then you would have one of the young person come up
15:01 and give his testimony about what the Lord has done for him.
15:04 Now the interesting thing about this Karen,
15:06 is that when they leave the shelter is still there,
15:09 it is a reminder, a constant reminder
15:13 what God has done through the young people
15:15 by building that particular church or school.
15:18 So every time they go to school,
15:20 every time they go to church, they will always
15:23 think of young people working for them.
15:28 You know, I am really excited about what you are saying.
15:31 I have seen a lot of really good projects
15:34 that have been going on with young people.
15:37 I'm wondering what would be like the next step
15:41 between maybe doing a project as a church
15:45 and then actually kind of growing beyond friendship
15:51 to active soul winning and guess it's--
15:54 Okay, before I even get into that
15:57 I'm gonna share another testimony with you.
15:58 Oh, good. Okay.
15:59 Just a few weeks ago in West Virginia,
16:03 the Southern part of West Virginia
16:05 there were floods.
16:07 I mean, these floods were not two or three feet
16:09 15, 16, 17, 18 feet of water.
16:13 Just walls of water, just wiping out communities.
16:18 The young people of Heyward, South Marlene
16:21 got an urgent call from a member of a church,
16:24 he said, "Can you come and help?
16:26 We are old we can't pull up the carpet,"
16:28 because after the floods recede they have to pull the carpets,
16:31 they have to pull everything out of the house
16:33 and they have to let it dry,
16:34 and they have to start building their lives all over again.
16:37 About 15 to 20 young people said, "Okay!"
16:41 In the congregation who's predominantly old,
16:44 they found 15 young person, they jumped in a van,
16:47 a couple of vans, they took a lot of medical supplies
16:50 and they were flying down to Western Virginia
16:52 and they stayed there
16:53 for approximately about five days.
16:57 And they worked, and worked, and worked
17:01 and a person who was un-churched,
17:04 who would never go to church, they worked on his house
17:07 and these kids were working hard
17:09 15, 16, 17 hours a day,
17:11 pulling out carpet and boards and taking furniture outside
17:16 so the military can actually carry it away.
17:19 And this man who was un-churched said,
17:23 "Why are these young people smiling?
17:25 We are the ones who are depressed,
17:27 we discouraged you."
17:28 But he said, "Every time I see them
17:30 I feel good about myself.
17:32 Who are these young people?" That's youth evangelism.
17:36 And then he said, "Where do they go to church?"
17:40 That's youth evangelism.
17:42 Now let's take another example of youth evangelism.
17:46 The young people in a small church
17:48 or a medium sized church in their community
17:50 might have a lot of young people.
17:51 They could gather seven different topics,
17:55 plan one week of youth evangelism.
17:59 Years ago they called it
18:00 the week of prayer, not anymore.
18:02 Youth evangelism or youth week or net or whatever
18:06 and from Sunday all the way through the next weekend,
18:10 they can have a youth speaker come in
18:12 and speak to the issues of young people.
18:16 So now the young people are witnessing
18:19 in church to their friends and the next day
18:23 as they talk to their friends about the sermon,
18:26 now they can witness spontaneously
18:29 and some of those young people need to go home
18:31 and read their Bibles again
18:32 because they've forgotten those important truths.
18:35 And says, "What is that again,
18:36 I've got to find out, where is it again?"
18:37 And so what's happening is that young people will do this
18:41 naturally like breathing just in one week.
18:45 I think that's superb.
18:46 Now I'm sure those of you who been watching at home,
18:49 listen to all these great ideas
18:51 that Jason's has given to us, you picked your favorite.
18:54 That's probably one of mine because it's easy to do that,
18:57 and that's a fabulous idea.
18:59 Just having the young people in the church
19:01 or just pick what topics they like
19:05 and what is something they want to study about
19:07 and they have a speaker come in and share that
19:10 and then they have something to share with their friends.
19:14 Who-- you know, young people
19:15 really are getting hit hard with a lot of issues.
19:17 A lot of issues.
19:18 And they may not be talking
19:19 with their parents about some things
19:21 but they're certainly talking amongst each other.
19:23 I have found over the years
19:25 conducting more than 50 youth evangelistic weeks of prayers
19:31 that in that week they will listen to you.
19:36 I go to the, when I go to the locations
19:39 around the country and other places around the world,
19:42 I will tell them this week I speak only to the youth.
19:47 But the adults, they're saying, "I need it, too."
19:50 Because there are topics that they need revisiting.
19:56 For example, topics on sexual behavior and deviance,
20:00 topics on dating, marriage, divorce,
20:03 topics on even music, this drug culture.
20:10 There is so many different topics out there
20:12 and the young people want to hear it every day or weekly
20:16 you don't get this in church ordinarily.
20:18 It's a special week designed for them
20:21 and then a call is made an appeal is made for them
20:25 to give their life to Christ and to come to baptism.
20:30 And the result is phenomenal
20:32 just in this year alone, just this year alone
20:37 there have been over 200 decisions
20:40 with just preaching to young people,
20:42 200 decisions just with young people in youth evangelism.
20:47 That's wonderful.
20:48 And so, I have we've actually had baptisms the next day.
20:54 And so the results are instantaneous.
20:58 Now, what about you know,
21:00 lot of times the people talk about evangelism
21:02 they want to know about ground work
21:04 and what needs to be done well in advance.
21:06 How much of a person said "Hey, I really like
21:08 what Jason McCracken's talking about in this program
21:11 and I want to do it in my church?
21:13 I'm gonna get started right away."
21:15 It would take about four months.
21:16 Four months.
21:17 Four to six months to make the preparations
21:19 you can't call a youth evangelist
21:21 and say, "Okay, next week I want you to preach."
21:24 What you have to do is you have to come in,
21:26 talk to the youth and say, "Look,
21:28 I have ten youth before me.
21:31 How many friends do you know?"
21:32 "Oh, I know five, I know three, I know four."
21:35 "Okay, what we're going to do is have a plan
21:38 we want you now to feed your friends with literature."
21:43 Sometimes I use the Insight Magazine really well
21:45 because it's youth talking about their lives with Christ.
21:50 And so, teens reading about teens is very powerful.
21:54 So, here they're gonna be reading religious material
21:59 and then they are preparing their minds.
22:01 Now the young people we're gonna give them
22:02 some topics to talk about, discussion topics.
22:06 And when they discuss these topics then,
22:08 when they come to that week everything is prepared.
22:11 Then the Spirit of God will fall on that church
22:14 and young people will make decisions for life
22:16 not just because of the emotion but for life.
22:19 Praise the Lord.
22:20 Let me share this with you,
22:23 last Halloween most people don't celebrate it
22:27 because we understand the implications.
22:28 Yeah, most Christians.
22:29 But now I witnessed during the 31st of October
22:37 there are so many young people in my community
22:41 it would be terrible for me to slam the door
22:44 and say, "Get out of here."
22:46 What I do is open my doors I have gospel music blasting.
22:53 I have a pumpkin with a cross
22:56 rather than the ugly little smile,
22:59 have a cross with a candle in it.
23:01 When they come to my house they're getting the gospel.
23:05 And so here we're passing-- What a great idea.
23:08 We're passing out magazines about drug education,
23:13 about education about life.
23:16 They are getting religious material free and one time
23:20 we had some magazines called Listen Magazine,
23:22 it's a magazine that talks about
23:23 drug and alcohol addiction.
23:25 And you have a lot of celebrities
23:26 on the cover of Listen Magazine
23:29 and I had Shaquille O'Neal on the cover,
23:30 I had Venus Williams on the cover,
23:32 I had some football players, some basketball players
23:35 and the hockey players and ski players,
23:37 it was a famous Wayne Gretzky.
23:40 Famous and I'm yelling "Hey, I got the hot stuff."
23:43 The kids where running to the community ramp
23:46 and said "He even got 'N Sync on the cover."
23:49 And they where running to my house
23:51 and 200 young people got 200 pieces of literature
23:54 in a matter of hours on that day.
23:56 Thanks to Lord, on that day
23:57 that people celebrate the double.
23:59 That's right and so what happens is
24:01 if you have a cross America people open up their doors
24:04 and feeding the community with the religious literature
24:07 on the day the people expect candy and gum
24:10 and then popsicles or whatever,
24:12 you're actually doing youth evangelism
24:15 and guess what Karen,
24:17 it was not me sitting on the porch
24:19 it was my son, it was my daughter.
24:22 Praise the lord.
24:23 And they where handing out the magazines
24:26 and they where saying, "Say no to drugs."
24:29 Here no trick just a tweet that's creative.
24:35 That is creative. I like that one.
24:36 That's the type of evangelism that we need.
24:38 I like that one, I really like that idea
24:41 and I hope those of you're listening at home
24:44 isn't that great?
24:46 I mean, what a great way to really do something on a day
24:49 where people are celebrating their death.
24:51 You know lot of times Christians
24:52 we don't know what to do on that day
24:55 because we don't really want to feel like
24:57 we're getting involved in ghost
24:59 and goblins and ghouls and all these other things.
25:02 Yeah, that's right.
25:03 Yeah you understand the social implications
25:05 of doing all of that
25:07 but you know I really appreciate you coming today
25:10 and sharing this of with us
25:11 all this different kinds of ideas
25:14 and I like to just give you some time
25:17 and we got it about a little more than a minute,
25:19 couple of minutes to just talk to the young people
25:22 who are watching the program today
25:23 and just share what's on your heart to them
25:27 on what Christ can do through them.
25:30 Jesus Christ, when He lived on this earth as a teenager,
25:36 at 12 He really began His ministry
25:40 from there He died as a young person in His 30s.
25:44 But now if Christ witnessing the community
25:48 every example in the Bible
25:50 about Christ witnessing was in the community.
25:54 I must stress the point, in the community.
25:59 Christ would go to the temple to celebrate His holy day
26:03 but Christ preach, walk, talk, relate to people,
26:08 common people every day in the community.
26:11 Young people you can do it. It's very simple.
26:13 You don't have to wear a shirt or a tie,
26:15 you don't have to wear a church clothes just go.
26:18 The Bible says, "Go Ye therefore into all the world."
26:22 But a different translation would say
26:25 go and make disciples, baptizing them
26:30 that is the secret of youth evangelism.
26:32 It can be in your church, it can be in a community,
26:35 in a community center, it can be at a poolside,
26:38 it can be anywhere that there are people
26:43 that need witnessing about the love of Christ.
26:46 Since Christ is in your heart
26:48 it's easier to talk about somebody
26:51 that you know about it.
26:52 Well, we pray about this. Okay, thank you so much.
26:56 Father in the heaven, we're so thankful
26:58 that You have been a loving God.
27:01 A teenager preaching the gospel,
27:04 sharing Your love and we're thankful that
27:07 young people can do the same thing,
27:10 here abroad and around the world.
27:12 So Lord, bless the young people may they be focused,
27:17 may they tell about the love of Christ.
27:21 And we pray that You would give them the power
27:23 that they need to go out in the community.
27:26 Thank You for hearing and answering our prayers
27:29 in the name of Jesus we pray, amen.
27:33 Well, thanks again for coming back to our program again.
27:35 Thank you.
27:37 And it's been a real pleasure to have you back.
27:39 Thank you for your wonderful ideas and youth evangelism
27:42 and how young people can get up and get acted.
27:44 Thank you, okay.
27:46 And for those of you who are watching the program
27:48 if you have any questions,
27:49 just feel free to call the 800 number on your screen
27:52 or go to the website for 3abn, 3abn.org.
27:57 And until next time God bless you.