January 17, 2017
The Power of Child Evangelism
Mark Johnston is an NGA member from California with a heart for evangelizing children around the globe. The gift of evangelism has been evident in him from his youth and he’s collaborated with several other NGA members in large-scale festivals. Here, he shares the excitement of what it means to connect kids with the Good News.
Share a little about your ministry and how God has brought you on the journey of being an evangelist.
I was born into a family of 14, and we grew up as a musical family playing for churches, conventions, open air Campaigners (Biola) and Good News Club outreaches (Child Evangelism Fellowship). This was a great learning curve in discovering my gift as an evangelist, but it was with Release Time Education where I taught tweens during public school in a 5th wheel trailer that I saw the deep hunger of children to learn who Jesus was and discover the joy of following Christ. Amazing written letters convinced me that this age was crucial in evangelism, which is why Jesus said “bring the children to me, for the kingdom of God belongs to them.” After graduating from Azusa with a business degree and starting several businesses, God clearly spoke to me to go into full-time ministry and I purchased The Old Corona Country Club and converted the rundown barn into a clubhouse for kids. God blessed the ministry and as an evangelist I started weekly Good News Clubs for children, the Boys and Girls Brigade for youth and the Kings Academy discipleship school for teens. With so many from the neighborhoods receiving Christ I had Christmas, Valentine, Easter, Halloween and Thanksgiving outreaches at the clubhouse that drew many families from around the city to hear the Gospel and receive Christ.
After investing 10 years in proclaiming the Gospel in Corona God led me to Bayside Church for 15 years where I continued discipling 5th/6th grade youth and training them in neighborhoods, malls, rest homes, fairs, the homeless and on school campus outreaches.
What do you love most about evangelizing children?
The greatest joy of working with children and tweens is to see the direction they go with their lives and the influence they have on peers and family. So many youth over the years have gone into mission and evangelistic organizations due to early training and exposure to sharing their faith consistently with the friends and people they come in contact with. 25 years of youth evangelism has allowed me to see grounded youth avoid the pitfalls of the teen years and gain tremendous momentum in living out and sharing the Good News with others.
What is a recent exciting story where you’ve really seen God’s hand at work in your ministry?
The most exciting event unfolding in ministry has been teaming up with JA Perez Ministries and Ray Centanni with Rock of Ages. I have been given a full time tent designated for children while the main stage proclamation and music have been happening simultaneously. The triad of deep teaching, small groups and then games keep the youth engaged all day with evangelism happening at each session, but with a focus of onsite discipleship.
A great benefit is allowing trained local youth see how outreach and discipleship work and being with the children in small groups to find connection and build a bridge to their church for continued fellowship. At the end of two days a youth will be exposed to a variety of spiritual truths using object lessons and experiential learning.
The training of youth pastors before the festival and a follow up meeting Sunday afternoon with food is a triple play that has changed regions after the NGA team has left. They say salvation happens in a moment but discipleship takes a lifetime. I want to see youth with deep roots planted in understanding quiet times, spiritual warfare, purity, friendships, sharing, courage, godly character and running the race with endurance before the day is done.
In looking to the future, I am excited to see the new doors God is opening in partnering with local and global NGA evangelists who have a need for the evangelism of children and tweens as outreach is happening simultaneously with teens and parents on the same site.
As a child receiving Christ at 8 I know the direction and influence one changed life can make in the hands of the Master. I have seen the excitement of children in being valued, recognized and affirmed. I have seen children bring back friends the next day and pray publicly for their lost friends. I have seen throngs of children running to the tent in the morning to learn more of Christ, laughing with joy and growing close to the new child next to them. I have seen youth pastors and interns get fired up after being trained and equipped to reach the next generation for Christ.
The harvest is ripe and NGA is on the frontline in carrying out the Great Commission. I pray I can help support and partner with vision-minded men and women who plan, promote, then present the Gospel in 2017 and beyond.
One of the core values of NGA is collaboration. If you are interested in collaborating with Mark in future evangelistic events, you can reach him at 916-847-5391 or mar[email protected].