Drew Hutcheson graduated from high school in June and now is attending Florida Community College at Jacksonville. Looking back at his high school experience, Drew has sound advice for students who want to make a difference for Christ among their classmates.
I remember the first time I ever shared my faith. I was nervous; I was mumbling–I was probably more confused than the guy I was sharing with. We were in the driver’s education car. I locked it and told him that he wasn’t going anywhere. I’ve come a long way in my witnessing since then!
In 11th grade I started inviting kids at school to come to church. It started with two people coming with me on a Sunday. The next week it grew to four, then six, and it stayed like that for about a month. When it grew to about 11, I had to have other people help me get them to church. My sister would go and pick them up, and my mom would save seats for us. One new person lived about 30 minutes away, so we would get up early to pick up that person–it was the most fun thing! New people I invited started bringing their friends to church.
Then there was Scott, who had moved to our school in the middle of his senior year. Scott was full of conversation. When I walked with him to his locker one day, I ended up spending about 45 minutes with him and was able to take him through a simple Gospel tract. I put my hand on his shoulder, then he bowed his head and closed his eyes right there in the hallway. The next night, Wednesday, he came to church with me and went on a retreat over the weekend. He continued to attend church with me through the rest of our senior year.
A lot of kids I talked to sat by themselves in gym class or the lunchroom. People like that often feel isolated and lonely and will probably talk to you if you initiate conversation.
I encourage students–especially high school freshmen–to imagine themselves as seniors. Will they be able to look back and say “I’m glad I did?” Or will they only be able to say, “I should have?” For myself, as a senior, I told the Lord, “There’s a fire in me, and I pray that it gets bigger and that it never goes out.”
Here are suggestions from my experience:
- I don’t witness to every person who walks by. But I realize the opportunity when a person says, “Hey.” That’s a clue that a conversation with that person may be a divine appointment.
- When I first engage in conversation with someone, I often try to say something humorous so they feel relaxed. I try to establish common ground. I also either compliment the person or show some type of kindness.
- If I am in a restaurant and spill my drink and a waiter comes to help clean it up, I’m thinking, why did the cup spill? What might God be doing here?
- When I go to a drive-thru, I give the cashier a tract with my phone number on it. I usually say, “Hey, this is for you, and if you don’t go to church anywhere, I encourage you to check this out.” People have taken the tract and called me, and on the phone I share Christ with them.
- Finally, opportunities to share Christ are not incidental, but are the result of making witnessing a priority.
Whether you are a teenager or an adult, leading someone to Christ is the most exciting, one-of-a-kind thrill that you can have. And the more you do it, the more fun it gets–which is not surprising because the Lord wants us to keep going and looking back–not saying, “I should have”–but, “I’m glad I did!”