Evangelist Bryan Citrin describes how he tells people about Jesus on an unreached mission field – the university campus.
Bryan Citrin (00:03):
My name is Bryan Citrin. I discovered that I had a gift of the evangelism of my life because everywhere I go everywhere, I’ve gone as, as a kid. And even now I feel compelled to talk to people. And so God is putting in me a national tenacity to talk to strangers. And when I find myself talking to these strangers, I always somehow,uwant to turn the conversation spiritual because I realize that I might be the first genuine Christian they ever met. And this might be my time. This might be my hour to share a gospel with them. And if I don’t in some way, add value to them, I may never see them again. And they may never have another chance.
Bryan Citrin (00:37):
I’ve done a lot of mission to work in Haiti. And the work that I’ve done there is we work with a children’s home in the village of Fondue. And when we’re there, what we do is we help sponsor education scholarships to locals in the village, as well as invest in economic development. We put on church services for the locals. We also put on different feeding programs in the evenings on this last trip. We brought 28 people down to Haiti. This is my 13th trip to go down to this village. And it’s really exciting because we go to the same place over time. And so we’re able to see these kids grow up and see very real change in their life as we’re to pour them spiritually as we help them financially. And spend time with them.
Bryan Citrin (01:23):
I am a missionary that’s completely donor backed by a team of people across the country,uwhether it’s individuals, churches, or organizations. And so since I joined the mission field in 2009, I have been backed a hundred percent by donors and people can get, come on board and be a part of my support team by visiting my website, which is www.supportbrian.Org.
Bryan Citrin (01:46):
The way I am reaching people on the university campus is through weekly church services, weekly prayer meetings. We have weekly Bible studies. We also have weekly outreach events, whether it is an official event that we had planned on like a Friday night or an unofficial event. But one of the really, really important ways to really connect with students on a weekly basis is through our weekly outreach tables. And so multiple times a week, we have different tables on campus where we’re giving out free books. We might be giving out free coffee or bagels and it’s whatever, whatever it is, we’re looking for different ways that we can give out something to these students and serve the general population. But also while we’re serving the students, we’re building genuine relationships with them. And through these relationships, we’re able to then invite them to different hangout events, invite them to church services and just invite them to do life with us, cuz people like to hang out with people they’re friends with.
Bryan Citrin (02:41):
And so we really are striving to seek genuine relationships with these college students. I would say the main key for reaching people on the university campus is being very, very intentional about caring for them as an individual, instead of just seeing them as like a number amongst the masses of unsafe people on the college campus, taking a very intentional interest in getting to know them as a person and in reaching out to them and inviting them to, to hang out and be a part of your life. Students come from all 50 states are represented and there’s over 150 nations actually on the campus. UCLA is one of the most populated campuses in terms of international students. I feel the most strategic mission field in terms of reaching people from other countries is actually the United States because over 70% of the world’s future leaders are already here in United States studying on our campuses.
Bryan Citrin (03:34):
And so we’ve seen students from Saudi Arabia, students from China, students from Japan, Brazil, and all over the world, get involved in our ministry and come to our church services. I remember a few years ago I was hanging out near campus and I saw some students from Saudi Arabia and I was able to connect with these students from Saudi Arabia and invite them to some of our events. And and through that, they connected me to a student from Japan. And if you guys, I don’t know if you’re familiar with this, but Japan is one of the most secular nations in the world. And so he connected me to his Japanese friend and I invited him to this Thanksgiving outreach that we had. And he ended up coming and bringing a bunch of his friends. But but through that experience, he started coming to our weekly church services and he started bringing his friends and he became a Christian.
Bryan Citrin (04:23):
Many of his friends became a Christian and at one service, we had nine people from Japan sitting in a row right next to me. And it’s all because, you know, I connected with these Saudi raving students and then, and reached out even farther and asked if they knew anybody else that might be interested in getting involved in some events, the best technique for approaching people in terms of talking about something spiritual is that I like to ask people what their spiritual background is. That is such an UN offensive term because some people they might have been turned off by the church. They might be turned off by the term Christianity, but when you ask somebody what their spiritual background is, first off, I might be a Zen Buddhist for all they know. And so if they were offended by a Christian in the past, that is, you know, that doesn’t tie you over into who I am as a person.
Bryan Citrin (05:13):
And so I ask them what their spiritual background is and just continue to ask them questions because people love to talk about themself and, and, and I ask them questions. I can kind of get a feel for what they believe in where they’re at. And then through that, then I can then invite them to one of our events or invite them to a service in a non offensive way of inviting them. Because I, I kind of know a little bit about them as a person, I would say one of the most challenging things that I’ve ever experienced on campus is because as we’ve been on the campus for a long time and, and we have longevity on the campus. And so we’re there every single week on the campus, administering the students, serving the community. But sometimes people come in that don’t really, you know, wanna work with the local body of Christ on the campus.
Bryan Citrin (05:56):
And they just come in for a day and, and cause a ruckus and they might come in and they’re, they may be like cussing everybody out or, or like yelling at everybody. And there’s like a huge mob of angry college students in the center or campus. And then we’re at our weekly outreach table that just happens to be right next to the angry mob when the someone’s on like this angry, you know, campus ran tour. And then we didn’t have to pick other pieces after they leave. And then they may be turned off by Christianity because they might have said something that didn’t really reflect the gospel, but, or even more so their method wasn’t necessarily rooted in love. Now what they may be saying may be true, but it’s not necessarily tactful. And so it’s, it’s not necessarily what you say, but it’s also how you say it.
Bryan Citrin (06:42):
And it’s important that we’re spirit led in evangelism because you can say the very same message in two different ways and have two very different results. Yeah. I would just like to challenge each and every one of you, that’s watching this video to be very, very intentional about evangelism because we are all called to be evangelists. God is just looking for people that are willing to position themself in the right place at the right time to talk to the right person. And one thing that I’ve found on UCLA campus that has been very effective is just going into the union and grabbing some food and, and just praying to God and ask who I should sit next to. And just being led by the holy spirit, because not one time as someone said, no, I can’t sit next to him. And so I would just go and find somebody even by themself and ask if I can join him for lunch.
Bryan Citrin (07:28):
And instantly at that moment, I have a one on one with them because they’re eating, I’m eating and, and they’re gonna be there for 20 minutes. I’m gonna be there for 20 minutes. And at that point, I just ask them questions about themself because people love to talk about themself, but they never get an opportunity to really talk about themselves because everyone else is so busy talking about themself. So by showing a genuine interest in somebody and just ask them questions enables me to, to develop that relationship with this stranger, but then invite them to an event that we might have.