Last Friday, over 760 students and leaders from 26 churches came to witness the Toronto Raptors beat the Sacramento Kings. The bigger highlight came after the game where everyone came to courtside for some giveaways (who doesn’t like free stuff), some on-court contests, and testimonies by John Salmons (shooting guard for the Raptors) and two students from First Baptist Church in Toronto, all hosted by Herbie Kuhn, voice of the Raptors.

The point of Centre Court is twofold: for students to invite friends to a neutral venue where they can hear how Jesus impacts lives (whether through a professional NBA player or a local high school peer) and for those groups, including the invited friends, to continue exploring the person and message of Jesus (which is part of CBOQ Youth’s mandate).

In this post-Christian age, many youth have little idea of who Jesus is aside from Christmas time or as a curse word. The traditional sense of outreach in which the salvivic message of Jesus is delivered with a call to respond is a few steps removed from many of these students. This kind of pre-evangelistic event begins the conversation for people to begin discovering (and hopefully accepting) the claims Jesus offers them.

Centre Court isn’t the only place for this to happen. Churches and youth ministries can host a variety of pre-evangelistic settings for their students to invite their friends. The key is to introduce Jesus so they can begin walking and talking with him.

What sort of pre-evangelistic ideas do you have?