As the United States—and even the world—continues to become more secular, our children must understand who they are in Jesus Christ. How we engage our children in discussions about their faith and allow them to practice witnessing to others in a safe, educational environment is critical in preparing them for the next phase of their lives, be it college or the workforce, with the skillset to have challenging conversations and serve as a bold ambassador for our Lord.

As the Missouri District emphasizes the importance of training young people as faithful disciples by placing a spotlight on best practices across the district and providing resources, training, and support, our school ministries across Missouri have been taking on that bold challenge to instill such experiences in our youth and share effective practices. This past February, Calvary Lutheran High School in Jefferson City shared one such method, Witness Workshop, with other Lutheran high schools across the District during the annual high school association conference.

Calvary’s Lutheran high school demographics represent a typical spectrum of high school students at different maturity levels in their faith and depth of Biblical knowledge. The workshop’s goal is to challenge their students to grow in their faith and learn to share that faith in a natural, relational way. Calvary asks various church leaders from around the state to come in for a power-packed day and role-play a character who believes in a certain way for their students to engage with. Such character role-play has focused on characters believing they are just good enough, are being crushed by sin, believe that God is unloving, or even about being sexually pure. The students come in as two paired groups of two, with one pair shadowing while the other is actively engaging. At the end of the role play, there is a debriefing about what went well and what did not. This time allows the students to gain additional insights, understanding, and, most importantly, experience in how to naturally talk about God in such life encounters. The groups go through all these different characters four times so that each group gets to engage and shadow twice. The whole assembly is brought back together for a quick debrief and sharing.

The profound impact on the students and even the church leaders who come to role-play is treasured and shared by all. Like many of our Lutheran Schools, Calvary impacts lives for eternity by creatively providing opportunities for the next generation of leaders to practice what they learn so that when they are old, they will not forget. ”