Community Events and Giveaways
The lack of evangelism in local congregations is not rooted in what many think. While it is easy to blame laziness and apathy, I have found the opposite to be the case in most of the congregations we have visited. In fact, many churches are engaged in a lot of good works, but unfortunately many lack an end game. The focus of all our efforts should be to teach the gospel (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15). If we are giving away clothing, food, or other items without being intentional in soul winning, we are wasting time, energy, and resources. Community giveaways and events, if done correctly, can be an effective way to reach the lost.

The following are some suggestions:

  • Promote, promote, promote! The event should be advertised well in advance. We highly recommend using the back page of House to House/Heart to Heart to saturate the local area. Print post cards for members to pass out to friends, family, and neighbors.
  • Knock doors and let your community know of the event.
  • The event should be targeted. Back to school supplies for children, coats for the winter, Turkeys for Thanksgiving (for the poor), and so forth.
  • The event must be supported and well attended by the local congregation.
  • The congregation must be trained how to approach those who come. Warm greetings are a good start but are not enough.
  • Select one visitor and engage him or her. If possible, sit down and talk one-on-one; get to know each other. It is quality and not quantity that counts!
  • Include food and drinks to relax the prospect and allow for prolonged conversation.
  • Ask open-ended questions and show genuine concern for people.
  • Do not seek a Bible study on first contact.
  • A clearly defined mission must be emphasized. For example, success is creating a contact by getting a name, address, and mobile number.

The church of Christ is not the local soup kitchen or Goodwill. Our purpose is to make known to the world the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10). Every work we undertake should aim at this target. Community events are an effective part of bringing the lost and opening their hearts when coupled with a laser-like focus on evangelism.

Congregational Reports

Natalia church of Christ, Texas: We welcome the Natalia church of Christ to the House to House/Heart to Heart School of Evangelism. This congregation is served by two elders: Charlies Brown and Jim Word. Jim also serves as their pulpit preacher and has an evangelistic heart with several congregations already. We cannot wait to hear how they progress with the training.

Southwest School of Bible Studies, Austin, Texas: During the week, HTHSOE is providing Advanced Evangelism Training for three and a half days. The classroom is full, and some visitors are attending. Each student is given a packet of material, thanks to the generous donations provided by good brethren. These students will be well prepared to reach the lost and train others to do the same.

Woodstock church of Christ, Georgia: Eric Dotson (elder) reports the following:

  1. “Elders and Minister Meeting will be on Wednesday to begin planning and organizing the evangelism efforts at the Woodstock church of Christ.
  2. “Three formal Bible studies are scheduled this week using the HTHSOE approach and materials.
  3. “We started planning the location of the evangelism table.
  4. “Many of our congregation are anxious to get started, and we have already had four people volunteer to chair committees before we asked!

“Matt Amos preached on the evangelism model and what to expect in the coming weeks message included the following:

  1. “The Woodstock congregation is beginning the process of a reset to focus on the mission of evangelism.
  2. “We need everyone’s talents—bringers, teachers, and keepers. Everyone has a role to play.
  3. “Every activity of the congregation should have an evangelistic focus—from benevolence to Bible camp.
  4. “We must remember that we have one mission.”

Coldwater church of Christ, Kentucky: Luke Puckett (preacher) reports, “This past week, we continued our Bible studies, and we plan on finishing Book 2 with Jared this week.  We plan to start Believe the Bible with Michael this week as well. We sent over 100 compassion cards this week to different prospects. Many of these lost a lot during the tornado, and we continue to help them and build those relationships.

“One prospect we have is undergoing chemotherapy, and we have helped him some and continue to build this relationship with the hopes of starting a study once he is able. This might have to be a study over Zoom as his doctor does not want him to have visitors at this time. Our plans for this week are to conduct two ongoing Bible studies, make a couple of in-home visits to build relationships, and continue to develop contacts and prospects.”

Lafollette church of Christ, Tennessee: Ben Shafer (preacher) reports, “We are excited to have a new brother in Christ. Mikey Johnson has studied with me for the past few weeks. We were about halfway through Book 2 on Sunday night when he came forward during the invitation. He said he needed to be baptized, and he wanted to be baptized that night. We went into a classroom and studied a few things just to make sure he understood.

“Through his conversion, I have a Bible study scheduled with his mom and dad. Please keep that effort in your prayers. With the addition of these two, we have a total of five personal Bible studies in the works. It is very encouraging.”

Eisenhower church of Christ, Odessa, Texas: Allen Weakland reports, “The last two weeks have brought several opportunities to the Eisenhower congregation. First, one contact is fighting cancer in his throat. He has never been married and has no religious affiliation. We had sent numerous cards his way; however, no opportunities presented themselves to offer a Bible study. We were then informed that Hank was not doing well, so we just sent several more cards inviting him to church and offered a free ride if needed. Please pray for Hank.

“We were also informed about Amanda who is facing several health issues, and we sent a large number of cards her way. May God bless this young mother and give all an opportunity to come together to express the hope of Christ to this young family.

“Finally, a recent convert was asked by her friend to watch her daughter twice a week. Beth Ann said she would and then invited Kayla and her family to worship services. Both Kayla and Justin attended this Sunday, along with their daughter, and they were impressed with the worship services and how the young parents train their children to remain in the worship assembly to learn how to worship God. Kayla also expressed how awesome it was to see how friendly everyone was, and the young kids are loved on by the members. Kayla was all smiles and told us that they would be back. Please be praying for this young couple—may God continue to provide us opportunities to the salvation of such beautiful souls.”

Monroe church of Christ, Georgia: Charles Harris (preacher) reports, “We had another baptism! Thursday, I baptized Willie Tarpkins. Willie and I studied BTTB. He decided to be baptized before we finished Does It Matter. I began preaching through BTTB this morning. It went well and received several comments from members focused on evangelism.”

University church of Christ, Montgomery, Alabama:  Faires Austin reports,

  1. “Since your seminar last October, we have had four baptisms. All four baptisms have been Faulkner University students. These four college young men were taught by Faulkner students.
  2. “Our Card Ministry continues to grow. We have several New Movers’ contacts that will be receiving cards and visits from our members. They are looking for a church home, and we are anxious to visit with them and introduce them to the Church of Christ.
  3. “Our ministry at the Eastdale Retirement Community is growing. We now have ten men who are involved in this effort. We are getting to know the residents much better. Two of the three ladies that ride the church bus to Bible class and worship services on Sunday are members of the church. After the 3:00 p.m. Sunday service, we visit with the residents. We bring Bible stories to them and apply daily applications.
  4. “Our Firm Foundations (New Converts, Basic Bible) Bible class is progressing well. We have one more lesson on How We Got the Bible, and then on to other topics.”

New Hope church of Christ, Middleton, Tennessee: Cole Wade (preacher) reports, “We delivered a new movers basket to a family Saturday, and they will be at church Wednesday night. We also delivered meals to them Sunday afternoon, and they loved it! We have had long conversations with them, and I’m expecting to get a Bible study set up when they come Wednesday. Many are loving the cards we are sending, and we are becoming more effective in this specific ministry! Continue praying for us!”

Chase Park church of Christ, Huntsville, Alabama: Pat Cowden (preacher) reports, “We continue to have studies with seven people, some of whom are nearing the completion of their studies. We also have several members participating in the Compassion Card ministry, which we call the Barnabas Project, and we have had several visitors checking us out from the community.

“After hearing Rob speak at PTP in 2018, I went home and developed a ministry called “Open Home Ministry.” This is an attempt to have members fellowship at our house, away from the church setting to get to know each other better. Each month we have a different group in our home and the members are encouraged to bring a prospect with them. In 2019, before COVID, we had 35 people from the community come to our OHM meetings.. We had our first OHM in 25 months this past Saturday. It is a wonderful way to grow closer to each other, spend time with our elders, hear a devotional message, and reach out to the lost—all in a non-church building setting. Some folks are uncomfortable coming to a strange building for the first time, and since our goal is to win souls for Christ, we ought to use all our blessings (our homes) in that pursuit.”

Deerfoot church of Christ, Birmingham, Alabama: Richard Harp reports, “Jonathan Johnson conducted the second study with Denarvis, our custodian. He is looking forward to the third study! He is starting a new study with Lindsey Tatum and her boyfriend David tomorrow night!

“I concluded the study with the Greer family, and Liam decided to obey the gospel. I baptized him on Friday. We are all excited about this as he married one of our members two years ago. This is an answer to all of our prayers. She got video instead of a picture. The video is not good quality. I do not have good pictures this week.”

Warners Chapel church of Christ, North Carolina: Todd Hinson (elder) reports, “Compassion cards work! At the end of October, we started sending compassion cards to a couple whose wife was undergoing cancer treatment. They were family of one of our members who had also been away from the church during this time. The family was flooded with cards, and after her passing, we continued to send cards. This past Sunday the husband came forward with a desire to return to the church and wanted to place membership with the congregation.

“Many of our members are hearing directly from their friends, family, and neighbors who are recipients of compassion cards. They all say how appreciative and encouraging the cards have been to them. Let us pray that more souls will be brought to Christ from this effort.”

Corinth church of Christ, Tennessee: James Parker (elder) reports, “We (the elders and Steve) made a visit to a family Saturday. We asked the congregation to do a box shower for the couple who just had a baby. The congregation really came through. We took two boxes of baby things and money cards. Steve and I are going to study with the man who is not a member. His wife is. So we will be going back this week hopefully. I should be able to continue with my study with a couple tomorrow night!”

Siwell Road church of Christ, Jackson, Mississippi: Derek Broome (preacher) reports, “We had a great week at Siwell Road. This was our week to deliver our new movers’ baskets. We always enjoy these opportunities. So many great contacts are made, and so many great conversations are had. A simple act of kindness goes a long way. People open up their hearts and often their homes. We now have several appointments to follow up with this week to show these individuals more information about the church. Praying that these opportunities lead to future Bible studies.”

Warner Robins church of Christ, Georgia: Daniel Stearsmen (preacher) reports, “A few of our ladies headed to Florida this week to the Weeki Wachee Christian camp for a ladies’ retreat. It was a great time of fellowship, connection, and encouragement for the ladies. A visitor was there, and Nadia began Back to the Bible with her. This study will continue in the future. Studies are on-going, and the compassion card ministry is having an impact. It is great to see young ones, deacons, and others engaged in reaching out.”

Riverbend church of Christ, Georgia: Austin Fowler (member) reports, “It was a busy week at Riverbend. On Thursday night, I met with two brothers. Hayden Sumner works with them, and they began to have biblical discussions at work. I had a plan going into the study. I let them know that I knew they had a lot of questions about baptism going into the study, but I needed time to get to answer those questions and needed to go through this study with them. The study itself went fine, but afterwards they asked a lot of questions about baptism. I had to really practice “defer/don’t debate” that night. It would have been very easy to answer their questions, but I knew I needed to stick to the soul winners’ strategies.”

“Wednesday and Sunday night, we had a family visit with us. We collected their contact information, gave them a visitor bag, and made them feel welcome. I look forward to prospecting them and hopefully getting in a Bible study soon. We had another visitor Sunday night. My grandfather talked with him, and he was interested in studying the Bible. They agreed to study Saturday at 3:00. I will be leading it with my grandfather being the silent partner.

“Today, I visited with George Mizzell. George is married to one of our members, but no one was sure if he has ever obeyed the gospel. He is having back surgery on Thursday, so I decided to go visit with him today. After talking with him and hearing his religious raising, I learned that he has not obeyed the gospel. I asked if I could come back next Monday to study the Bible with him. He said, “Of course!” So I am looking forward to that study next week!”

Crossville church of Christ, Tennessee: Alan Judd (preacher) reports, “Back to the Bible Lesson 2 was presented during our Sunday morning worship. Visits with those who have received compassion cards continue and have been positive. New movers are being contacted on a weekly basis. The congregation is continuing to grow in desire to do the work of evangelism.”

Jacksonville church of Christ, Alabama:  “Our last study with Nyliah was postponed but is scheduled as soon as we return from Texas. Please continue to pray for her. New Converts studies have been started by Eric Scher with Margie during the week.”

Peninsula church of Christ, Hampton, Virginia: Ben Phillips (preacher) reports, “We had a visitor from the community Sunday. He was met with a visitor’s bag, and we gathered his information. Also, a brother began to speak to him about studying since he showed an interest in knowing more about the church. The tools are there, and our members are using them.”