Emily had always been close to her aunt, and today she wanted to ask her a question. She prayed silently while she tried to get up the nerve.
“OK, God, you placed me in this car with my aunt for a reason,” she prayed. “I need you to tell me what to say because I know it’s not going to come from just me.”
Then she turned to her aunt. “Do you believe in God?”
Her aunt stared at her.
“Are you trying to get me saved?” she asked. “Would God accept someone like me into heaven?”
“God loves you,” Emily said. “He has a place for you in heaven, and He wants you to be with Him there one day.”
Emily still asks her aunt that same question from time to time. “I’m just going to keep on praying for her and witnessing to her,” Emily says.
Now, more than a year later, Emily has some tools that she didn’t have before to help her witness. Thanks to a Dare to Be a Daniel class taught by her mom, she and 15 other students know Scripture verses to quote, how to better approach an unbeliever and how to lead someone in prayer to accept Christ.
“My aunt doesn’t really think that God loves her,” Emily says. “Now I have Scriptures to prove to her that He does.”
Vicki Keller decided to teach Dare to Be a Daniel’s new Sunday school curriculum to the youth in her church and community last summer, a year after her dad died suddenly from a stroke. A homeschooling mom, she heard about Dare to Be a Daniel when she was looking for a class to teach her own children during the summer.
A short while later, her church was looking for a youth Bible study. The course helped rescue her from months of grief, plunged her back into the arms of God and helped seal her own commitment to evangelism.
“I had been saved for 18 years,” she says. “The way I shared my faith was to let others see Christ in my life by the way I treated others.”
But in some ways she was like the kids in her class. “I was afraid to share my faith because I didn’t feel prepared,” she says. “More than that, I didn’t feel convicted in my own heart that this is the way we show our faith in God.”
A Passion is Born
As she taught the Dare to Be a Daniel curriculum, she began to feel a deep passion and desire for reaching lost souls through the Word of God.
“I just love Romans 10:17, where it says faith comes by hearing the Word,” she says. “We don’t just share our faith through our actions. You can be nice forever and not lead others to the Lord. Or, you could falsely lead them into thinking that they’re in a right relationship with God when you don’t give them the Word.”
The course is divided into four units: Purpose to Obey God, Pray and Practice God’s Word, Pick Godly Friends and Point the Way to God–all biblical principles lived out by the Old Testament Prophet Daniel.
Vicki taught the classes biweekly in her home in Romulus, N.Y., near the Finger Lakes region, along with her husband, Matt, and several adult helpers. It was fun to watch these kids that she had known for years come together to learn about their purpose in life and how to share that purpose with others. Their parents would bring them to the Keller’s house, and Vicki and Matt would take those who needed a ride back home, sometimes stopping for ice cream at McDonald’s on the way.
A Sense of Urgency
She began the course with her own introduction, “How Much Time Do You Have?” Students could see right away the urgency of sharing the Gospel and in Unit 1, they signed a purpose statement committing to learn how.
“That was like a line in the sand that we crossed,” Vicki says. “We purposed to all stand together to obey God, no matter what the cost.”
Students chose music, led prayers, memorized Bible verses, did skits and shared their personal testimonies.
“We got to do our own thing a lot,” says Mark Sabol, 9, whose brother, Joel, became the class photographer and created a Power Point slide show for the graduation ceremony. His sisters, Sarah and Ruthanna, led prayers and performed skits. Students even learned about intercessory prayer.
“We had one student, Mike, who had a lump on his throat that the doctor thought could be cancer,” Vicki says. “That really kicked us into intercessory prayer as we learned to really pray for a member of our team. Praise God, the lump ended up being nothing more than a bad throat infection.”
Vicki and Matt could see the growth in the students’ faith and talents and their excitement as they began to practice their newfound witness skills and tools.
“I absolutely loved the ‘Steps to Peace With God’ booklet,” says Kevia Reigle, 9. “It made it easier for me to lead my cousin to Christ.”
Donnie Lipker changed dramatically during the course. Quiet at first, he gradually started to open up to his peers.
“By the end of the classes, you could not keep Donnie quiet,” Vicki says. “He’d just talk and talk and talk. In fact, in Lesson 12, he stood before the class and shared his personal testimony. It was amazing to see someone who was almost afraid to be pointed out for a question willing to do something that took even more courage.”
Donnie was terrified. “I came close to not doing it,” he says. “But someone was prodding me. I guess you could say God was prodding me.”
Donnie was the one who encouraged Vicki at the graduation ceremony, when she was nervous about presenting in front of such a large audience. “I need to tell you right now that nothing you say tonight, even if you fumble, will change anything that this class will become and what we are and what we’ve learned,” Donnie told her.
Because of the class, these young Christians know the importance of holding each other accountable in their Christian faith, and how crucial it is to pray for and support each other as they share their faith.
“My friend Suzanne Jasikoff called me recently and told me that she’s been sharing Jesus with a friend of ours,” says Donnie’s sister, Marilla. “She was calling to ask what she should do next.”
Immediately, Marilla told her to pray for their friend and to ask others to pray. “I told her that I would pray for her as well,” Marilla says.
One of the greatest obstacles to young and old Christians alike, when it comes to sharing the Gospel, is fear–fear that the right words won’t come, that they’ll misquote the Scripture, that their friends will reject them, or that they will come across as too nervous or pushy.
Mariah Rector believes that she has overcome these fears.
“I feel like I can go up to anyone now and share that they need Jesus,” she says.
For more information on Dare to Be a Daniel or to order the 13-session curriculum materials, go here.