When I was growing up, one of my favorite Bible stories was Daniel in the lions’ den. To a boy who followed bear tracks in the woods, what could be more exciting than someone bravely facing hungry man-eating lions—and God coming to the rescue?
Today, Daniel excites me for a different reason. The courageous ways he took a stand for God, kept his heart pure and shared his faith are the inspiration for Dare to Be a Daniel–a cutting-edge youth initiative being launched this summer by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
We’ve designed this program to help encourage and prepare hundreds of thousands of Christian young people to be as bold as Daniel, living by God’s standards and telling their friends about Jesus Christ.
At the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, we know how urgent it is for people to hear the Gospel during their formative years. Surveys of adult Christians tell us that the vast majority made their commitments to Christ before they became teenagers. For so many youth, it’s now or never.
Unfortunately, millions of children never have the opportunity to hear the Gospel, simply because they are not raised in a church-going family. And they are not going to hear otherwise in schools where Bibles have been removed and public prayers banned.
However, individual students have freedom to talk about Jesus and share their faith in ways that teachers and other school employees do not. Dare to Be a Daniel is designed to help Christian students to be ambassadors for Christ to their classmates, friends, neighbors and family members.
Dare to Be a Daniel is designed for young people ages 9-14. It can be taught in Sunday school or by individual families. Children who complete the booklet, memorize the Scripture and obtain the approval of their pastor will receive an ID card certifying them as a member of the Dare to Be a Daniel Team. Our goal is to have a junior evangelist in every school in America.
This is a unique opportunity for Christian families and children to bring a godly influence into their communities. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught that we should be salt and light to a world that has not recognized Him. “In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NIV). We appreciate your prayers for this program and for the children who will be on the forefront.
Daniel was no more than a teenager when he was cast into a pagan culture. But because he took a stand for God, eventually he was able to influence the kings of Babylon, including one who decreed, “In every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. ‘For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end’” (Daniel 6:26, NIV).