When I was a teenager at the Northern Oaks church of Christ, I met two men who had a profound influence on my life. Anthony Castillo and Wade Brown loved evangelism and practiced it in their lives. They taught me how to win souls. I can remember sitting in class as they gave us a plan to teach others using a simple chart titled, “In Christ.” It was truly a lightbulb moment for this young Christian. It empowered me to take my faith and teach it to others. It made me thirst to learn the Bible so I could not only defend my faith but also go on offense.
In fact, people are more approachable during their youth. Enter Christian Bible camps! Across this land, there are dozens and dozens of camps that are filled with tens of thousands of young impressionable minds. They represent the next generation of Christian soldiers. What if we became intentional in training all our youth how to reach their friends at school and their family at home? What if we equipped them with evangelistic tools? Think of the effect it would have on this world if the next generation of Christians were able to engage the lost with the gospel? Instead of playing defense by class after class of warnings of what not to do, what if we focused on a series of lessons on what they can do?
The following are some suggestions to transform Bible camps into evangelism boot camps.
- Be intentional. Camp director, teachers, counselors, and all staff need to know their mission. Put the camp together at every level to focus on training soul winners. Do not miss the forest for the trees! Yes, we want camp to be fun and memorable, but we also want it to be a spiritual boot camp. Both can be accomplished.
- Equip every camper with evangelistic tools. I would recommend a curriculum that includes Back to the Bible, Does It Matter, and Believe the Bible. These cover almost every situation from the uninformed to the misinformed.
- Train each camper. Every Bible class should be focused on explaining how to use evangelism tools. Campers should fill out booklets, underline Bible passages, and circle answers in the text. They are easy to teach and simple to use.
- Conduct mock Bible studies with campers. Use real-life scenarios to address areas of difficulty. Let them practice what they learn.
- Send campers home with materials to put into practice what they have learned.
University church of Christ, Montgomery, Alabama: Austin Faris (elder) reports, “Andrew Kingsley, our College Minister, baptized a Faulkner freshman, Nathan Fuller. Andrew/Kana Kingsley and Hailey Strange, Nathan’s girlfriend, all had been studying with Nathan. The Back to the Bible booklets were used in converting Nathan to Christ. Andrew presented Nathan with a Bible in our assembly this morning.
One of the families that visited at our Trunk-or-Treat last month was present in our worship service this morning. The wife was pregnant when they visited the Trunk-or-Treat event, and they were all present for worship this morning, including the newborn. The ladies in our congregation are delivering meals to this family for the next three weeks.
We have families and individuals who are now working in various evangelistic programs. Jennifer is coordinating the Moving Baskets, and Sam/Lindsay Moore are leaders of the Community Contacts including those who have health issues and upheaval in their lives. We are actively seeking leaders for several other ministry areas. We are laying the plans to visit the New Movers that have moved into our area in the last 30 days.
We are making a spreadsheet so that we can record the activities that have taken place with all of our prospects, such as visitors, new movers, baptisms, and cards sent to families/individuals This spreadsheet will be accessible to several key leaders in our ministry.
Sunday, December 12, we plan to give a detailed report to the congregation on what has taken place in the last six weeks of the Evangelism Ministry. Today, Keith Mock, one of our elders did an outstanding job in presenting part two of Back to the Bible, booklet one.”
Warners Chapel church of Christ, North Carolina: Todd Hinson (elder) reports, “For the last three Sundays, Kevin Rutherford has covered all three Back to the Bible workbooks in his sermons. The response has been great. We have heard comments like “This is a Bible study I can lead.” The elders also presented a PowerPoint of each of the main areas of work and the member opportunities to get involved. Members have created a tract room, and others have purchased materials and built a few new movers baskets. We are now setup to get HTH New Movers from postal routes within a six-mile radius of the church building. We already have a couple of people on our compassion cards list, and our zones have started sending cards. We are trying something different and using Google Sheets to track Compassion Cards, New Movers/basket delivery, HTH Materials/delivery, and Visitors. By using Google Sheets, we can simplify and make more readily accessible our contacts from our cell phones and computers.”
Coldwater church of Christ, Kentucky: Luke Puckett (preacher) reports, “We started covering book two this past Sunday. The congregation seems uplifted and excited to have a plan to follow. One of our deacons has set up two Bible studies. He finished book one with the first family and will start book one, hopefully this week, with the other.
We continue to send several compassion cards to a few contacts. One has cancer and just had surgery and will go this week to see about chemotherapy. I visited with him and his wife last week. We had a great visit, and they were overwhelmed by the love shown to them. We helped them with food and some bills. I just listened to them and had a prayer before I left. I asked if I could come by next week and check in, and I was told I could come by anytime. I plan on visiting again soon, just seeing how his treatments goes. Pray they will be receptive to a study.”
Caddo Mills church of Christ, Texas: Jason Sparks (preacher) reports, “Over the last month, we had visitors every week. We are finding people in the community who have moved into the area and are looking for a church home. We are mailing out 40 compassion cards this week with the church helping supply names for the cards. There are a couple of Bible studies ongoing, and it looks like there will be one or two more set up soon!”
Covington church of Christ, Tennessee: Wayne Dalrymple (elder) reports, “We have had a good last couple of weeks. Last Sunday was our Family Day with B.J. Clarke speaking on “The Home God Loves.” During our morning service, Patricia Curtis decided that she had not been baptized properly 50 years ago, so she decided to make that right. Also, Beverly Russell, the mother of one of our members, was baptized into Christ Thursday night. God’s kingdom is growing! We will be starting a new converts class next month. I will be teaching it for the first three months. We are also rebooting our Monday Night for the Master program that we used to do. It was a pretty successful program for about 10 years. Then participation began to dwindle, and it became stale. We have decided to restart it next year. We will be using Monday nights each week to write compassion cards, make calls, make visits (including new movers), assemble new movers baskets and visitor bags for services, and various other works. Another thing we will do once a month is train members to conduct Bible studies. We are also planning for the American Mission Campaign that we will be hosting in June. Great things are happening here at Covington! To God be the glory!”
Beattie Road church of Christ, New Albany, Georgia: Charles Harris (preacher) reports, “Another family has placed membership with us, and they are excited about the work. A few Bible studies are ongoing. Follow-up visits with those who have been on our contact list have been going well. I strongly believe that many souls will be added to the church by the Lord here at Beattie Road very soon!”
Peninsula church of Christ, Hampton, Virginia: Ben Phillips reports, “The saints at Peninsula are continuing to work the card ministry. We have a few contacts that have expressed thanks and with whom we are now following up. We are also planning to go door knocking again this week. Finally, we have raised sufficient funds to begin work with the House-to-House New Movers and to provide some copies for our members to use in reaching out. Thankful for God’s good blessings on our work and the brethren’s willingness to do the work!”
Sevierville church of Christ, Tennessee: Kevin Ruiz (elder/preacher) reports, “During our October door-knocking effort, a single mom was reached who has since been attending our assemblies on a regular basis. Some of our ladies had the first BTTB study with her, and she was very receptive. In fact, she expressed a desire to have her friends be able to go through the study as well. Additionally, a young man from Ohio recently began attending services after finding the church through an online search. A Bible study has been set up with him as well.”
Lafollette church of Christ, Tennessee: Ben Shafer (preacher) reports, “We are getting ready to go out with our next month of new movers. We got good feedback from the members who participated last time and they want to go again. That attitude is very encouraging. I am continuing my Bible study with a couple of Mormons this week. We are going to study book 2 and why the Mormon church is unnecessary. I am hopeful that the truth will begin to take root. I had a conversation with a Baptist on Saturday. He was lamenting the state of religion and what the prosperity gospel is doing to the different denominations. We both agreed that people should just be using the Bible as their guide. I asked him if he would be interested in getting together to study the Bible. He said he was going to ask around with some other families in the community to see if they would like to join in. He said even if it is just him and his wife, he would be there. Lord willing, we will be able to set up a study when we talk this Saturday.”
Deerfoot church of Christ, Birmingham, Alabama: Richard Harp (preacher) reports, “We have made progress since our evangelism seminar. We have almost completed our remodel of the foyer to make the space more inviting. This also gives easy access to our evangelism material. Our Bible studies have continued. We currently have two ongoing and one about to begin. One study should be concluded on Thursday. Joe Hanson has continued in his new walk with Christ and with his church family.”
Corinth church of Christ, Tennessee: James Parker (elder) reports, “We have several visitors lately, and cards are being sent this week. I have a Bible study next week, Lord willing. This is with the newly married couple that I married this past week! I believe Steve and his wife are still working with a couple that have been attending for a while.”
Siwell Roach church of Christ, Mississippi: Gary Hampton (preacher) reports, “Things at Siwell are going great. We have several people in Bible studies and numerous contacts that have requested more information on the church. Right now we have 22 new contacts that we will be reaching out to this week. We also have several people that we are prospecting right now. Continuing to build those relationships and praying for more and more studies.”
Jacksonville church of Christ, Alabama: Keith Ritchie (preacher) reports, “We have a Bible study set up with Daphne Mixon. She has visited from the Autumn Woods retirement home. She has been coming with Carol Hagan. I believe Edith Shanks has been picking them up and bringing them. The Thomas family came back this morning. When the meeting is over, I will see if I can get them over here for supper. Roger and Donna are staying with us.”
BCS church of Christ, Texas: Kyle Mangen (deacon) repots, “I believe we have had six conversions since the seminar and dozens of studies (five ongoing that I know of). The new converts class is in its tenth week and going very well. We will finish that in December and start another round in February.”
Coweta church of Christ, Oklahoma: Keno Shrum (preacher/elder) reports, “Things are moving right along here in Coweta. We filled out compassion cards this evening for some visitors that we had this morning. They are new to the area, so we are praying they will choose to worship with our congregation. We are currently engaged in two Bible studies and are optimistic about the response so far from those. Please keep these studies in your prayers as we will continue praying for you and your family!”