This generation has some of the finest foreign mission efforts the kingdom has ever known. Elders oversee Bible schools, widows’ homes, orphanages, preacher training, printers, building teams, mission trips, campaigns, and much more. It is exciting to see how organized and intentional our efforts are to bring the gospel to India, Jamaica, Tanzania, and many other places around the world, but what are we doing at home?
Local evangelism usually consists of the preacher, various ministers (family, youth, college, education, technology), and routine annual congregational events. Many of these efforts become centered on keeping the aquarium instead of fishing for men. While foreign missionaries set goals, provide reports, and have accountability standards, local missions lack such metrics. Just maintaining the current numbers is considered success in too many places.
Working with a congregation, HTHSOE encourages intense enthusiasm, high hopes, and big plans. To help congregations succeed, HTHSOE provides training, tools, a suggested 52-week plan, and an operational blueprint called, “The Evangelism Model.” Even with these tools, managing this effort requires skilled organization, or it will fall apart quickly.
The church is uniquely set up to fulfil the Great Commission. Elders are selected to oversee, deacons are appointed to serve, and Christians are instructed to work. Training a congregation to focus on local evangelism takes time. The larger the congregation, the harder it is to turn, and the longer it takes. Properly setting up an evangelism strategy is extremely important.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Keep the congregation informed and make sure they see the big picture. Laying out the Evangelism Model to the congregation gives each member goals and objectives. This allows evangelism to become congregational instead of individual.
- Do not delegate your evangelism to a deacon. If there is any work elders should be overseeing and leading, it should be taking God’s army into battle and reaching the lost. Having eldership involvement is non-negotiable.
- Each ministry must be clearly defined before any work begins. HTHSOE suggests creating teams and groups for Compassion Cards, Door Knocking, House to House/Heart to Heart, New Movers, Benevolence, Visitors, and other congregational activities with an emphasis on soul-winning.
- Appointing coordinators (deacons) over each of these ministries is vital. Each ministry needs someone who is accountable for it. This person must understand it inside and out and have the ability to involve and train others. He needs a vision of how it fits into the larger picture and works towards soul winning.
- Engage the Body of Christ. Most Christians are willing and ready to work if they are asked and tasked. Servants cannot serve if they do not know where, how, when, and what to do. Sign-up sheets are not the way to go. Elders meeting with individual members and appointing them to the work is the better approach.
The church of Christ is a potent soul-saving body when pointed toward her mission. There is no need for missionary societies and other man-made organizations to substitute for the Lord’s church. HTHSOE is designed to train and support the local congregation to successfully carry out her mission. HTHSOE cannot do the work for you. We will help and pray for you to carry out the Great Commission in your own backyard.
Eubank’s church of Christ, Kentucky: Shawn Nevels (member) reports, “I did all three studies with a Baptist/Pentecostal lady about five months ago. She still did not believe baptism was essential for salvation. I shared more Bible with her and WVBS stuff along the way. Then last night I set a Bible study up with a friend and his wife, so I watched your GBN video on the Back to the Bible study to freshen up ongoing studies. I talked her into watching with me. Tonight when I got in from work, I asked her some questions about the studies, and she said, “Let’s go. I want to get baptized the way the Bible says to.”
Cordova church of Christ, Tennessee: Bruce Hatcher (preacher) reports, “Last Saturday we had about 24 members who knocked 400 doors in our community. From this effort, we generated 29 contacts, two requests for studies, 25 prayer requests, and two requests for the House-to-House publication. We will be following up on these leads over the next few weeks.”
University church of Christ, Montgomery, Alabama: Austin Faris (elder) reports, “Tonight (10/24), in the parking lot of the University Church, the congregation hosted our annual Trunk or Treat. The organization of this event was outstanding. Last week, Kevin/Brittany Long, along with our College and Youth Minister, the college intern, and a few other individuals, canvased 175 homes near the church building. They gave out flyers, special notes of invitations and candy for the children, inviting people to attend the Trunk or Treat tonight. Kevin and Brittany also passed out the same material at Alabama Christian Academy.
“We had a registration tent set up tonight and every one that entered was given a yellow wristband. We had 500 wristbands, and we ran out. Those who were not familiar with the church of Christ registered their name, address, phone, and email. I spoke with Jennifer Brenneman, overseer of the registration, and she showed me a list of over 120 people that gave us their information. The list may be larger; I will find out tomorrow. I had a conversation with three families that are planning to come and worship with us beginning Sunday. Ed Redman also had conversations with several families. I know other members did the same. It seemed like everywhere I looked, I saw people that I did not know.
“Kevin and I, along with a few others are meeting this week to work on the organizational chart. We will make sure that the right people are in the right places as we move forward, with lightning speed, to complete the Evangelism Management assignments. The first item this week is to form the card-writing staff, with strong and dedicated leaders and send cards to those that gave us their information tonight. We will make sure that those who gave us their information receive the House to House/Heart to Heart publication. We will have a point person for this program.
“We begin next Sunday having the six sermons presented from the pulpit on the three booklets. As you know, Margie and I used the booklets last fall to convert Johnny/Cathy Taylor. We have put the Taylors to work, and they are in our Study Group. The elders thought it would be a good idea if we made a 4-5 minute video of the Taylors and let them tell the story of their conversion. The three booklets WORK! This will be presented to the congregation to buttress the sermons about the booklets. We are having to replenish the material on the Evangelism Table weekly.
“Next Sunday we plan a fellowship meal. We will make sure that visitors are welcomed as another opportunity to seek out prospects. Rob, we have fired up the engines, with the Bible and your material as our guide, and we are on our way to converting people to the True and Living God. We are involving the whole congregation in this effort. We are all excited. I cannot wait to see what the University church of Christ looks like in just a year.”
Coldwater church of Christ, Kentucky: Luke Puckett (preacher) reports, “We are continuing to develop prospects from our contact list. We have four prospects who are receiving are sending compassion cards. One of our deacons is continuing a study with his parents. They finished book two today and will work on book three next weekend. Another deacon and his wife have been studying with their teenage daughter who is not yet a Christian. We are continuing to preach on how to use the Back to the Bible booklets. We finished book one this week and will start book two in the coming weeks.”
Peninsula church of Christ, Hampton, Virginia: Ben Phillips reports, “We are continuing to work our contacts and have developed a few prospects. The brethren continue to be enthusiastic about the work as we work the compassion card ministry and make plans to continue follow-up from door knocking. We are putting door knocking back on our congregation’s monthly calendar for the first time in years. We are sowing the seed and praying for God to give the increase!”
Chase Park church of Christ, Huntsville, Alabama: Pat Cowden (preacher) reports, “We had a good turnout for door-knocking on Saturday; here are some of the ones who went into our community to invite them to hear brother Hiram Kemp preach next weekend. We also had another Children’s Ministry session where they made handmade cards for our compassion card ministry. This has been a huge hit and has resulted in several positive contacts. We continue with studies will complete some of them, Lord willing, within the next two weeks. Please pray for our community outreach and for Hiram as he delivers our messages to open and honest hearts. God bless!”
Deerfoot church of Christ, Birmingham, Alabama: Richard Harp (preacher) reports, “On Sunday we had a lesson that called for laborers in His harvest to be bringers, teachers, and keepers. From this lesson so far, we have three families who have signed up to be teachers in a team. Our prayer is to be ready for Bible studies when opportunities arise. Donna Evans is beginning the third book with her study, and Richard is about to conclude the second study with Kyle. Please keep these studies in your prayers. In addition, we had ten baptisms in our work release using the Back to the Bible! They include Angel Cookley, Valeria Turner, Brandy Williams, Terreko Thomas, Sabrina Capero, Phyllis McVeigh, Pamela Smith, Charlene Grays, Jessica Hill, and Catrina Faircloth. Chuck has been studying with them for some time now. This is huge news!”
Bryan College Station (BCS), Texas: Wes Mangan (deacon) reports, “Recently Isaiah Saenz was baptized into Christ. Genesis Williams did the final study. The other men who studied were Morgan Moudy and Regis Parks. Please pray for our new brother.”
Siwell Roach church of Christ, Mississippi: Derek Broome (preacher) reports, “Right now we have multiple Bible studies being conducted by several different members in the congregation. We have a new study with a gentleman starting on Tuesday. We are praying for these studies and all of our congregational contacts.”
East Homer church of Christ, Alaska: Steve Cannon (member) wrote, “I received the gift basket information, so we will be building those and delivering them this week. I preached on the prodigal son, and we have a meeting Monday to interview a preacher applicant. Hopefully he is a good fit and will be able to assist in this program.”
Eisenhower church of Christ, Odessa, Texas: Allen Weakland (preacher/elder) reports, “21st & Eisenhower is very encouraged from what we are seeing as a result of our evangelistic efforts. We are presently presenting several lessons from the material from Bobby Bates entitled Does it Matter. Some of those who have been visiting are truly encouraged by our congregational focus and have started asking questions. The Yorks are a young couple that have been attending regularly—please pray that they will accept our invitation to engage in a Bible Study. They have expressed on a number of occasions how happy they are that we use the Bible as the basis of our authority. May we plant and water and may God give the increase.”
Jacksonville church of Christ, Alabama: Keith Ritchie (preacher) reports, “Zach Glenn grew up attending worship only a handful of times. He wanted to know more about God’s word and the church. The study was set up because of a question Zach asked. I simply deferred the question and told him the question could better be answered with a better foundational knowledge of the Scriptures. We used BTTB lessons 1, 2, and 3. He was hungering for the truth. The truth pricked his heart and he put his Lord on in baptism. To God be the Glory!
“Meet Tamm’ra. She visited tonight. She had never been to a congregation of the Lord’s church. After the closing prayer, she just stood there with a serious look and said, ‘I like it here.’ We took her to eat and used the contact information we collected to text her later. Here is one text: Keith:‘Hey Tamm’ra we are truly honored that you visited with us tonight at the Jacksonville church of Christ. So glad we were able to get to know you better. We will be praying for your mother’s health. Lord willing, the clots will either go away or not bother her.’ Tamm’ra: ‘Thank you so much for the evening and so much for welcoming me. I honestly enjoyed myself. The prayers are appreciated.’
“I am also going to try to get her mother’s address. Tamm’ra has four siblings and cousins whom her mother (Tammy) adopted. We will send get well cards to her mother.”
Riverbend church of Christ, GA: Austin Fowler (member), reports, “We had a great week at Riverbend this week! Dawn Lloyd was baptized into Christ on Tuesday. She and Valorie are going to continue to study through FaceTime due to Dawn’s health. They are going to use Growing in Christ for their studies. Last night, Henry Duggin was baptized by his father. It was a great week. We look forward to meeting with you on Sunday to discuss our efforts and how we can make them better. I am preaching November 7th at Riverbend. We are going to hand out the bookmarks that morning. I am going to preach a sermon on evangelism to tie into the bookmarks.”
Lafollette church of Christ, Tennessee: Ben Shaffer (preacher) reports, “We have had a slower week as far as studies are concerned. We have one family on our compassion cards list that we are going to follow up with next week. Last Sunday, we had a new contact who will receive cards this week. We had a return visitor after we had mailed him a bunch of cards. We invited him to eat, but he said he is kind of shy. He said he planned on coming back. His name is Mark. Keep him in your prayers please.”
Cowetta church of Christ, Oklahoma: Keno Shrum (preacher) reports, “The Saturday before last, a group of us went out and knocked doors. We knocked 50 doors and left House to House and Does it Matter door hangers on the houses with no response. This morning we had a visitor at worship service. While visiting with him afterwards, I learned he lives two blocks from our building and has lived there for 18+ years. I asked him if he worships anywhere. He said, ‘No. I came because you left the materials on my porch last Saturday.’ I asked if he would like to do a Bible study and learn more about the church. He said, ‘Yes, I very much would.’ We are going to visit more this week and set up the Bible study. In the meantime, this evening we are writing him compassion cards thanking him for his visit. Please keep this study in your prayers. God is Good!
Oak Hill Church of Christ, Georgia: Steve Murdock (Elder) reports, “The Oak Hill church in Rome, GA continues to work for our Lord. Gary Jones, a missionary from India, taught 168 people from the pulpit. His message was on shining our light in the world, which is what evangelism is all about. We have followed up on our contact cards by calling and talking to the people, asking them in they are interested in a Bible Study. The compassion card ministry is organized and sending many cards out weekly, but will be reported once a month.”