“If you died tonight, are you sure you would go to Heaven? If you say, yes, what do you base your certainty on?” These questions were posed to 218 Indonesian middle and high school youth at an evangelistic retreat held the end of June.
This annual retreat was hosted by Indonesian Church Growth Network (ICGN) that works to establish a ministry for the youth in some of the smaller churches. These churches usually do not have a vibrant youth program, and sadly, many church youth end up marrying Muslims and leaving the faith of their parents.
The theme of this retreat was “Become a New Creation.” Research has shown that throughout the world the teenage years are the most important time when the largest percentage of people make their decision to follow Jesus. A main goal was to make very sure that all the mentors were trained and able to give scripturally sound answers to the two questions in the first sentence.
Youth and their leaders came from dozens of churches traveling as far as four hours away. The three days included worship, praying, singing, devotional times, small group times, games, eating and nature adventures.
Of the 426 in attendance, 218 were youth, 125 mentors, and 58 pastors, elders and their family members. We also had 17 leaders who observed with the intent to reproduce the retreat in other provinces.
The ministry leader shared the following:
“The 183 mentors, pastors and elders were trained to share their faith. They memorized 5 key Bible passages and a simple prayer to receive Jesus, then “wrapped” those Bible verses in their own testimony of receiving Jesus. The mentors then shared the faith with the mentees in the groups at their churches.
“We’ve not had time to count the responses, but approximately 150 middle & high school mentees and mentors received Jesus as their Savior! Most of the youth were unsure they would go to heaven. Many mentors were sure, but said it was based on their works or another wrong or unsure foundation.
“The pastors were shocked when 80% of the youth and mentors raised their hand indicating their desire to serve as pastors, missionaries, or vibrant followers of Christ in their future professions. Please pray that our ongoing mentoring, newly powered by decisions to receive Christ, will indeed produce on-fire disciples of Christ.”
The world is becoming more and more polarized regarding faith issues. It is imperative that we are all able to give the reason for the hope we have.
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV).