In 2020, HTHSOE trained 32 churches of Christ but were slowed by Covid. Still, the work reached 371 baptisms, and we praise God for each one. The 2021 goal was 500 baptisms. Many thought this was too high, and honestly, I was even skeptical. In January we began working hard, pushing through Covid and every other hindrance from Satan. God enabled HTHSOE onsite training to reach 52 congregations—averaging one a week. The result surprised all of us as the Lord often does. Through HTHSOE, He increased His Kingdom by 649 souls! This HTHSOE model has consistently shown these results since 2018, providing us with a roadmap for the future.
The focus for 2021 was on developing a more complete curriculum for HTHSOE. We want to be much more than a motivating evangelistic series. We now have a field-tested, result oriented HTHSOE evangelism model in place. This six-step process breaks evangelism down to its individual components. It is comprehensive and designed to make evangelism a congregational work that creates a generational soul-winning culture. HTHSOE added a 52-week follow-up training program after the seminar to help elders, deacons, and preachers set up what they have learned piece by piece. All of this plan comes with materials, books, and charts to explain, illustrate, and train.
We spent almost three weeks in the mission fields of Alaska providing training at four locations involving ten congregations. All the materials were donated by other congregations to help their mission efforts. Brethren from Homer to the North Pole were grateful and are working hard to train the saved to teach the lost. In 2022, HTHSOE will go to the mission fields of eastern Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
Additionally, HTHSOE started American Mission Campaigns. Oak Hill church of Christ in Rome, Georgia, served as a trial event. It resulted in 12 baptisms. This work has limitless potential but will require more resources. Therefore, HTHSOE hired Austin Fowler to co-direct these efforts. We plan to have two more AMCs in 2022 and three in 2023, the Lord willing. On June 11-18, HTHSOE will conduct AMC at the Covington church of Christ near Memphis, Tennessee, and on July 23-30 a second one at the Karns church of Christ in Knoxville, Tennessee. Consult amc.housetohouse.com for information and registration.
The past few years of HTHSOE full-time work have allowed field testing of different approaches, methods, and models. Evangelism is our life; we focus on it 24/7/365. Several new lessons were added this year, along with updating the original classes. During visits home, we take what we are learning, implement it in the local congregation, and conduct Bible studies as a family. By far, this is our favorite part of the work. Over the past twelve months, we were able to bring people from Jehovah Witness, Salvation Army, Baptist, and Mormon backgrounds, as well as several unchurched, to Christ. From each conversion, we learn more about how to train others to study with new prospects.
Just think, in one year’s work, HTHSOE saw the equivalent of creating six congregations of over 100 members each. Our hope in 2022 is to continue to focus on the Lord’s mission by expanding HTHSOE and creating model congregations that can teach other local churches how to do what they have successfully implemented. Local elders and preachers can visit nearby congregations and bring the HTHSOE model right to their door. We ask for your prayers as we take what we have learned, along with the successes from the field, to grow God’s training school to help more congregations develop an evangelistic culture to save souls.
We have been going door-to-door to make personal contacts and helping those in need. We are also going to the hotels and resorts where those who have been displaced are staying and finding out their needs, too. It will be a long road to rebuilding or getting back to normal for so many people.
We have spent around $50,000 helping with supplies and needs. This also includes some funds that we have sent to Christian families who lost everything. We have shifted some of our focus to purchasing appliances and helping with materials for rebuilding and repair. There are many roofs damaged and houses with partial damage.
Our plan is to keep focusing on the families in need and try to build relationships with them by helping them in their time of need with the hopes they will study with us. We have three studies set up. One is with a gentleman who asked for a Bible, so we have taken one to him with the hopes of starting book one on the next visit. His name is Michael Thompson. We will also be helping him out in the repair of his roof. The second gentleman, Jared Medlock, has gone through book one with us. He is completely displaced, and he is also taking treatments for a brain tumor. The third study will be with the Carrico family. We have been helping them with supplies to rebuild their home. Please keep these individuals and the men who are studying with them in your prayers.
Thank you again for your help and for recommending us. We have a great opportunity for the Lord’s church to shine bright.”
Eubank church of Christ, Kentucky: Shawn Nevels reports, “Aaron Estes lives in Eubank, Kentucky. He does not attend church regularly. His work is demanding. He has a Baptist background. He was baptized into Christ for the remission of his sins in order to be saved last night after completing the third Back to the Bible study at my house.”
Church of Christ, Guam: Joey Treat (missionary) reports, “We are moving forward in the evangelism steps at the church in Guam. Our compassion card program is fully set up, and last Sunday we introduced and handed out the ‘praying for’ bookmarks for people to list those that they hope with be interested in a study. We have three Bible studies going right now. One of them is with a regular visitor, who is the girlfriend of a member. We had some issues to work through before the Bible study could start, but we worked through them, and she has now been through the first two Back to the Bible booklets. She loves it. Her background is Catholic, and she has never studied the Bible like this. My wife, Tammy, and another lady in the congregation are studying with her. This study is looking very promising.
Otherwise, we have a list of people we are working toward studies. One of the great takeaways we had from the seminar was that we do not have to be ‘very close friends’ with those we want to study with. An acquaintance-level relationship is sufficient to be able to use the line, ‘Do you know much about the church of Christ?’ Now, our work with people is simply to get an opportunity to use that question. It is much more effective than what we were doing before—and easier! Our next steps are to get our visitor’s packets in place and teach the congregation how to treat visitors.”
East Main church of Christ, Murfreesboro, Tennessee: Brad Rowley (elder) reports, “The week of December 27-January 2 was a slow week due to the holidays. As mentioned in an earlier email, we are launching the remainder of our evangelism programs this month. We have one more training session that is to take place January 9 for all evangelism volunteers. Our Back to the Bible class is on lesson three and should be complete by the end of the month. We are thankful for Derek Broome (Siwell Road Church of Christ) and Kevin Long (University Church of Christ) for guiding us in our new compassion card program. Both Derek and Kevin shared their plans and experiences to improve our kickoff this month. Two of our new converts were married by Wayne Lankford, our associate minister, and are continuing marriage counseling with Jon Mitchell, our pulpit minister. David Brown and Steve Arnold will be starting a new convert class next Sunday, January 9.”
East Ridge church of Christ, Chattanooga, Tennessee: Charles Cochran reports, “We finished the year with 11 baptisms. Our theme for 2022 is Strengthening the Family. We will focus on the physical family and spiritual family. We want to focus on families where there are unconverted mates and children. We hope to unite families in the Lord. We also want to reach out and reclaim those in the spiritual family who have fallen away. This will strengthen the church here at East Ridge. We also will continue to strengthen churches we support on the mission field. We already have a building campaign scheduled for February. This will be in Panama. We will have an evangelistic outreach also during that same trip in Panama. My wife and I and Luke Griffin are awaiting invitations to go to Russia this year. We want to strengthen the church we support there. We have great Victory Sundays planned for this year. Special guest speakers will help us focus on families. One of our elders told me last night he wants to revive our visitation outreach to erring Christians. We continue our compassion card ministry and hope to add other outreach efforts. We want to do a stateside mission trip to encourage a small congregation. Some of our men are preaching for a couple of smaller churches in our area.”
Crossville church of Christ, Tennessee: Alan Judd reports, “We started 2022 by distributing close to 300 bookmarks for our families to use to write down those they hope to have a Bible study with in the coming 12 months. We studied about Jesus and evangelism from John 4. A visitor team has been formed and formal training will happen within the week. Several contacts have already asked for Bible studies, and we have started them; we are excited to see what happens with these. Excitement from the recent seminar as well as about the future continues to be high.”
Riverbend church of Christ, Georgia: Austin Fowler (member) reports, “Sunday was a great day at Riverbend. Isaac Rollins was baptized into Christ. We also had a young man visit with us Sunday night. He has been invited by one of our college age young men. He came Sunday night because the church he attendees canceled services, and he decided to visit with us. The congregation did a great job in making him feel welcome. My grandfather, Dale Puryear, had one of his hunting buddies agree to do a Bible study with him. He wanted to wait until after holidays to start studies. My grandad is going to invite him over next week to have dinner and do study one. Pray for this study!”
Eisenhower church of Christ, Odessa, Texas: Allen Weakland reports, “Though things normally slow down during this time of the year, God continues to bless us with those who have needs within their lives. We are seeing more and more members involved with our card signing. God is blessing us in our efforts as we finalize our new converts class, and our center piece, which focuses on evangelism and presents materials to evangelize, is coming together.”
East Flushing church of Christ, New York: Clarence Jenkins (preacher) reports, “By the grace of God, we are working together that souls may be saved. I received a text last Monday morning by brother Bravo, related to sister Veronica Calvin of the Cordova church of Christ in Cordova (Memphis), TN. She wanted to establish contacts with the church of Christ in New York in case her friend Samantha, who lives in New York, wanted to be baptized. She was studying with Samantha using the Back to the Bible booklets and was planning on studying the importance of baptism from book three that week. Veronica was sent our contact information that day. To the glory of God, Veronica contacted me that very Monday night with the awesome news that Samantha decided to obey the gospel of Christ. Brother Bravo and his family prepared the baptistry and my wife and I picked up Samantha. We took her to the building where she was baptized into Christ. Glory be to God for the joint efforts of Rob Whitacre and his family through the HTHSOE, and the members of the body of Christ, in seeking to save the lost. May we all continue to pray for one another in our efforts to increase the borders of God’s kingdom.”
Northern Oaks church of Christ, San Antonio, Texas: Mel Hutzler (preacher/elder) reports, “We have the evangelism program up and running. We still have a few more things to add and work on. We have great participation with the card writing to prospect new members. We also have a few who are currently in Bible Studies. One of our elders is leading an evangelism class on Wednesday night for additional training. We will continue to work the plan while getting the congregation involved.”
Forestburg church of Christ, Texas: Mark Lindsey reports, “One of our members studied with her daughter over the last few weeks. Mandy was raised in the church but had never obeyed the gospel. Her husband and son, who are not Christians, were with her. The entire family plans to attend with us. Please pray that we can study with Mandy’s son and husband.”
University church of Christ, Montgomery, Alabama: Faires Austin reports, “I am thrilled to pass on the following good news. At present we have a lady in our congregation who was asked by her sister this question: ‘What’s the difference between the church of Christ and denominations?’ The lady at university deferred the question and started a Bible study with her sister, using the Back to the Bible series. The first lesson went very well. We are praying for this situation.
This news this week is that hundreds of households in the 36109 zip code received the House to House, Heart To Heart magazine last week. Many of our members last week were out of town, and we are having a breakout of the Covid virus among our members. We are looking forward to a more productive week beginning today.”
Corinth church of Christ, Portland, Tennessee: James Parker reports, “I just finished the fourth study with a young couple, and it is going well. We also have another family who has been visiting who requested a study on Revelation. We will be working towards teaching them the gospel.”
Beloit church of Christ, Kansas: Dustin Doughtery reports, “We have been studying with a lady who has made it all the way to book 3, and she had such a good understanding of the material. She understood what she needed to do; she even put down ‘yes’ and ‘right now’ on the questions about are you ready and when. But when we talked about it she kept wrinkling her nose at the idea and kept asking if she had to do it that night. She kept saying that she did not want to go ‘swimming.’ We went over repentance and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, so she knows she is lost. She started crying because she realized the truth, but she would not go to the water yet. She said she needed a few more days to think about and reread the booklet. I honored her wish, but reminded her that now is the time, today is the day, and I went back to James 4 to show her we are not promised tomorrow. She wants to keep going to services with us and is open to more study, so I am praying that I will have a report on her for the New Year sometime.”
Monroe church of Christ, Monroe, GA: Charles Harris (preacher) reports, “I will be meeting with the elders soon concerning evangelism strategies. Training the congregation is one thing we will be discussing. These four men are evangelistic and want to be more evangelistic.”
Peninsula church of Christ, Hampton, Virginia: Ben Phillips reports, “As the New Year starts, our congregation has taken on a new work that we hope will be an outlet to our community. We have started participating in a local radio work that reaches tens of thousands of people in our region each week. It is our prayer that this will supplement what we are already doing and plan to implement across the first half of this year. We continue with the card ministry and seek God’s blessings as we try to reach the lost with the gospel, and we continue to train the saved to reach the lost.”
Siwell Roach church of Christ, Mississippi: Derek Broome (associate preacher) reports, “The New Year is starting out great at Siwell Road. We had two baptisms on Sunday, Bill and Beverly Patrick. This couple has been studying with one of our families for the past few months. This was definitely a great way to start the year. In addition to this, all of our card groups are going strong. We are sending out dozens of cards each week and getting great feedback from our contacts. Our new movers’ baskets and visitors’ bags have continued to be so helpful. We are looking forward to all that this year brings.”
Jacksonville church of Christ, Alabama: “We will be passing out the bookmarks on Sunday to gather contacts for 2022. Brother Keith will be training the congregation how to prospect these contacts in hopes of producing Bible studies. We have our second study scheduled with Margie this week. Please keep her in your prayers.”
Cowetta church of Christ, Oklahoma: Keno Shrum reports, “Trying to get lesson two going with a couple, but yesterday they asked if we could do it a week from this Thursday. I am going to try to do books 2 and 3 in the same evening, if time allows. I will keep you posted.”
Martin’s Mills church of Christ, Tennessee: Tony Bowling Jr. reports, “We had two baptisms—Evan and Emmie—who are my brother-in-law and mother-in-law. We used Does it Matter since we had already been sharing some scriptures with them and had shared GBN and WVBS videos with them.”