Helping Others Share Faith

Arin P. Nicholson, a U.S. missionary with Youth Alive in Virginia, says that empowering people to change how they view ministry is a vital part of his ministry.

Nicholson is a firm believer that what works as an effective outreach for one school may not work for another. With 1,500 local schools and hundreds of churches around Potomac, learning how to minister to each has proven to be extremely difficult.

“While Youth Alive is vitally important, it is not a five-second pitch,” Nicholson says. “While student evangelism, discipleship, and school ministry are all components of Youth Alive, everyone has a different idea of what that means.”

Although he felt a call to ministry as a child, Youth Alive initially didn’t figure into his plans. “I never wanted to be a missionary,” Nicholson says.

However, after working as a youth pastor for four years in Chestertown Maryland, Nicholson received an offer to become Youth Alive director for the Potomac Youth Network. After repeatedly turning down the job, Nicholson says he finally realized God had called him to the post. He became a U.S. missionary in 2020,and has worked with Youth Alive since.

When Nicholson joined Youth Alive, he noticed the program relied a great deal on school assemblies. Although he believes students sharing their testimonies is vital, he thought a different approach might work better.

“Most people think sharing faith is important, but they will also admit that they are not good at it,” Nicholson says. That is where Youth Alive comes in to help. Nicholson worked to make Youth Alive more research driven, providing tools for school staff, students, churches, and community members to use to best minister to their schools.

“We want leaders, students, and churches to share faith better,” says Nicholson. Youth Alive provides resources for school assemblies, youth rallies, and virtually, such as downloadable workshops and sermon series.

Nicholson says that the highlight of his job with Youth Alive is a six-month program for students, coined The Committed Project. The program asks four to six students to “dream a God-sized dream about evangelism.” The students then find a prevalent need in their school and come up with a way that they can help fulfill that need.

One Committed Project student, a high school sophomore named CeCe, realized that her classmates needed a place to ask challenging questions about faith and life. To help with this, she began an Instagram page where students can anonymously ask questions to be answered by local professors, pastors, and teachers. She then gathers the answers and creates Instagram videos answering the questions. Six months after launching the page, CeCe has been able to reach a vast number of people, with her most recent video amassing around 4,500 views.

“If we make evangelism important and put students in positions to make a difference, they will change the world,” Nicholson says.

Nicholson tells the story of Caleb, a pastor in the Virginia Beach area who wanted to connect with his city’s schools. Caleb contacted Youth Alive after attempting to reach out to his local school’s staff by bringing them an edible arrangement. The office workers responded by immediately throwing it away in front of him. Nicholson prompted Caleb to find out a need the school had and how he could help fulfill that need.

After some consideration, Caleb realized that the teachers and staff needed more expensive school supplies. Through conversations with Youth Alive and the school’s administration, Caleb and his church began raising money to create a storage locker full of equipment that the church could replenish once a month. This led to not only more consistent and open communication with the school’s students and staff, but eventually to the principal asking Caleb to be on the school board for extracurricular activities.


Source: AG
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