One of the great parts of ministry here (that Savanah and I have been a part of) is going into the local public schools and sharing the gospel with the students. I know to Americans, this sounds crazy. An insider, let alone an outsider, coming into the public schools and sharing about Christ is unheard of. However, we are able to go here. Many years ago when the schools where being formed, the only acting body willing to start schools was the church. Most of the schools we work with were founded under the Catholic Church (and still have a Catholic association) but are considered public schools. Part of all public schooling education in Ireland is a religious class where they teach about the major religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc.).
This coffee shop, being a well established Christian organization working with youth, is often asked to help in the religion classes during the Christianity sections. One of the things we do is put on “retreats.” Retreats are basically a half day or so with a mixture of games, food, discussions, testimonies, and other things to get students thinking about Christ and His importance in our lives. The teachers (some believers, some not) don’t really care what we do as long as it meets their criteria which is giving “information” about Christianity. But from our ministry eyes, it is a great way to show truth to these students.
Though Savanah and I have not helped with the retreats yet, we have gone into the schools several times. Savanah has gone in three times, and I have gone six times. Typically, we watch a short film that generates a lot of questions and then discuss these questions as a class. I have mainly been working with Jr. High students, and it has been a joyful challenge answering their tough questions.
Today in class, we watched a 7-minute film on who Jesus was and then began discussion. The discussion was lively from the beginning. Compared to the previous three times with this same class, they seemed more attentive and eager for answers. Many questions were asked if Jesus was really real, did He do those miracles, what makes Him worth believing in, etc.
To explain a little further, here’s a snippet of last week’s conversation…
Me: “Do you all believe in Jesus?”
Most students: “Yeah, sure we do.”
Me:”Do you all believe Jesus is God?”
Students: “No. How can he be God? There is only one God and that is God.”
Orla (the lady who I go with): “We as Christians believe in the Trinity. Father, Son, and Spirit as one God.”
Students: “No, no, no! Only the Father is God. Jesus is just a really good person.”
*I must admit, a confusing thought, especially for Jr. high students.
Then came the following dialogue today…
Me: “So you all believe in Jesus?”
Most students: “Yes!”
Me:”But you don’t believe He is God.”
Me: “So is He a liar?”
Students:” No, He was a good person.”
Me: “So Jesus is either a liar, a crazy man, or he’s telling the truth. Either He is lying about everything He claimed; He is a crazy man and truly thought He was all those things; or, He was telling the truth. And if He was telling the truth, shouldn’t we listen to what He said?”
There was a brief silence followed by Orla speaking up and saying time was up and they had to go to their next class. They all started talking loudly about everything we discussed, and Orla said to them to hold that last thought until next week.
Please pray that the kids really start thinking about the Gospel and that they would be praying out to the God they aren’t even sure is real and right. We know He is true, faithful, and good. He wants these students to know that too.