On the Sunday of Memorial Day, we noticed a young family visiting. Our first reaction was to approach them immediately with a visitor bag so we could obtain contact information. Obtaining contacts is the first step to successful evangelism. After we recorded their name, address, and mobile number, we invited them to lunch. It is difficult to prospect contacts while in the church building.
Prospecting is the art of building relationships and cultivating the soil, so you can plant the seed. Any act of kindness will work. A meal is a great way to help people relax and provide the time and atmosphere to learn more about their past. Therefore, we extended our Sunday meal to a Memorial Day meal at our home. This allowed them to meet other new converts, play some games, and enjoy Christian hospitality. We learned that Dray was a Mormon and Theresa grew up as a Catholic but had recently converted to a Baptist. We also learned they had just married. Dray said he cleaned cars on the side to earn a little extra money, so I asked if he would mind doing our truck. He did a great job!
Remember, the Bible study is the mechanism for saving souls. The Psalmist said, “The law of the Lord is perfect converting the soul, and the testimonies of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple” (19:7). Prospecting without Bible studies removes the major difference between the church of Christ and every other charitable and benevolent organization. Meals, cards, visits, and other acts of kindness do not convert the lost. They help us till the soils of the heart, but the seed must be planted. “Dray and Theresa, would you guys like to know more about the Jacksonville church of Christ?” It is that simple!
Baptism is the natural result of one learning the gospel of Christ. We find that couples who complete Back to the Bible or Does It Matter are baptized over 90 percent of the time. Baptizing is part of the Great Commission. It is not the only part, but it is a requirement of our mission. When a congregation goes month after month without baptisms, they are missing a key ingredient of evangelism. Once Thresa and Dray read the Bible and saw for themselves what God wanted, their immediate desire was to be baptized into Christ. This is a text Theresa sent us shortly after baptism: “From the Bible, amen. And I’m grateful how special it was by reading it from the Bible instead of being told what it ‘said’—I hate that I fell for that before though.”
New converts either grow or die. Peter said, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). Those who do not get milk cannot grow. Milk comes from new convert classes, mentoring, sermons, and other opportunities for edification. The first class they attended was our new converts class on Sunday morning taught by Eric Sher and Mike Cole. This is an ongoing class that has grown so large we had to move it to our fellowship hall!
Successful evangelism is not complicated, but it doesn’t happen by accident. It is the simple result of putting a complete plan together that acquires contacts, develops them into prospects, teaches them the gospel, baptizes them into Christ, and helps them mature into full-grown Christians. You too can have the same results!
Chase Park church of Christ, Huntsville, Alabama: Pat Cowden (evangelist) reports, “We are a little over one week out from having finished our Personal Evangelism Seminar with Rob Whitacre and the HTHSOE. Rob, Nicole, and the kids did a wonderful job of guiding us into the possibilities of a focused, congregational approach to local evangelism. We have seventeen contacts and have had studies with eight people in the past week and all eight have asked for the next study. We have had folks assist in Bible studies who have never done so before, and they are really excited. In addition, we are fully supplied with evangelistic materials, and we have our evangelism and compassion card table set up. People are sympathizing with and encouraging our contacts.
“Our elders, deacons, and ministers met to lay the groundwork for the days and weeks to come, and their wives met to discuss their roles in driving our efforts in hospitality and outreach. This has been the single best event I have ever been involved with in generating excitement in a congregation in regard to local evangelism. My prayer is that God will be glorified, and the borders of our Lord’s Kingdom will grow in accordance with His will.”
Jacksonville church of Christ, Alabama: Keith Ritchie (preacher) reports, “The week of June 28- July 2, 2021, was a week to remember at Jacksonville. Four precious souls were buried with their Lord in baptism for the remission of their sins. Dray and Theresa Conner visited with the congregation after hearing the worship services on the congregation’s radio station. They went through the BTTB studies and were baptized June 30. Griffin Guy had been visiting the congregation and also went through all three lessons of BTTB. After his second lesson, he commented, “After reading all we read today, I don’t know how anyone could be a part of any other group.” Griffin was baptized Friday, July 2. Glennis Ford, one of our members, had been studying with his son-in-law, Lenny Grawburg. Lenny also obeyed the gospel on July 2. The church of our Lord is growing. The seed we sow is the Word of God. When sown on good soul, it produces Christians. The seed (Bible) only makes Christians only. Let us sow the seed.”
Corinth church of Christ, Portland, Tennessee: James Parker (elder) reports, “Steve set up a study with a gentleman who lost his wife a few months ago. I have not been there because I have had a gospel meeting and am still preaching every other week at Shackle Island. Steve and I visited this man who had come in the past with his wife but has not come since she died. He was not a member. He agreed to a study, and we are just getting to it this week. We had a fellowship last night and had several visitors. We have opportunities for a number of studies!”
North Jefferson church of Christ, Mt. Pleasant, Texas: “I know of six personal new converts (continuing growth) studies this week, plus the new converts class. We have several prospective studies in sight.”
Burleson church of Christ, Alabama: Todd Clippard (preacher) reports, “Attendance continues above pre-pandemic levels, even with multiple families (15-20 total souls) out of town on vacation. A family of five just placed membership. Non-Christian visitors came back again today. Home Bible study will be attempted this week. More Bible class teachers are being added this summer and more Bible classes for this fall. Hopefully, we will have more good news to report next time! I should add that the new elders and deacons will be doing a lot of follow-up visits this month.”
Cowetta church of Christ, Oklahoma: On Sunday evening, we conducted the three-month virtual HTHSOE meeting with the congregation. The following report is from Keno Shrum (preacher), “Amen, we just finished a short discussion on getting busy. The fact that they showed up tells me they want to work, so that’s exciting! And don’t worry, I will keep blowing you up 24/7. If I do not text when it is on my mind, I will forget! All but one member took a new bookmark and finding prospects sheet. They are motivated. We needed that refresher!
Siwell Road church of Christ, Jackson, Mississippi: Derek Broome (evangelist) reports, “These past two weeks have been really exciting. We are meeting continually to implement changes that will make us more focused on evangelism. Over the past two weeks, we have started collecting contacts, and we have some really good prospects for Bible studies. We also have started preaching through Back to the Bible and have scheduled a teacher training class to begin soon. All evangelism materials are available for members to take and use. We still have several more things that we want to get started, and we are looking forward to growing in this work.”
Cordova church of Christ, Memphis, Tennessee: Bruce Hatcher reports, “The only thing since last week is I preached the John 4:35 sermon with bookmarks this morning. I have a marital counseling session that I’m hoping will turn into a study.”
LaFollette church of Christ, Tennessee: Ben Shafter (preacher) reports, “We are doing a door knocking campaign on Saturday. We are going to the houses where we are currently sending HTH. We have a very encouraging number of people who are signed up. Please pray for our efforts.”
North Tuscaloosa church of Christ, Alabama: Clark Simms reports, “The North Tuscaloosa congregation is so very uplifted by the baptism this past week of James Bates. He was baptized by my oldest son, Kelly. We are so thankful for the tools and training we have received from the School of Evangelism. North Tuscaloosa continues an active Compassion Card ministry, with a number of members stepping up to lead this great work. A great source of encouragement within the congregation is the interest in souls from our college and youth groups. God bless today, and God bless tomorrow!”
Riverbend church of Christ, Georgia: Barry Grider (preacher) reports, “I have long considered Joshua McCrary to be a special son in the faith to me. Some years ago, I baptized him into Christ, then watched him mature in his faith, and ultimately saw him develop into an outstanding gospel preacher. Tonight, he baptized his son, Josiah, into Christ and that makes me smile even more. The kingdom of God continues to grow generation after generation.”