So far this year, we have trained 13 congregations, but this is just a dot on a map of the overall kingdom. In order to reverse the downward spiral of membership, we must multiply our efforts. One way to do this is by partnering with schools of preaching. Currently, we work with the Southwest School of Bible Studies, the Brown Trail School of Preaching, the Memphis School of Preaching, the Georgia School of Preaching, the Florida School of Preaching, and Heritage Christian University. Training these students and their wives is by far some of our most enjoyable weeks each year.
This past week, our family worked with the students at the Memphis School of Preaching. The training classes were composed of 30 students and 13 wives. Area preachers from the Memphis area came, and one family drove all the way from Dallas, Texas, to attend the advanced lessons. We thank the Bremen church of Christ and the Burleson church of Christ for providing the materials for the students. I particularly enjoyed the questions from, and interaction with, the students. The thought of sending out an army of soul winners each time a class graduates provides great hope for the future of the church in America.
Graeber Road church of Christ, Rosenburg, Texas: Andy Baker wrote, “We have had three baptisms in the past week. This is Lauren Belcher; she studied with Brandon and Rebecca Martin. I baptized her today—pray for her husband, Grant. He is a tough nut to crack. He had all kinds of objections to baptism. He gets it . . . just a matter of time and help. I had a young man study with Troy, and he was baptized Friday night. John Ross was his name. Also, Jackson baptized Shalom on Wednesday.”
North Jefferson church of Christ, Mt. Pleasant, Texas: Kris Groda wrote, “Garth and Kris Johnson have completed the Back to the Bible study #2 with Robert and Lynn Mowery who continue to visit North Jefferson and are making friends of God’s children. In fact, we have scheduled a “work day” at their home in the country to help cut down some dead trees on April 17.
Martha Deming and Vicki Miller are continuing their weekly Bible Studies with Judy and have hopes of generating interest in Judy’s husband.
Tammy Pierce has completed Book #1 of Back to the Bible with Shelly Bolton and I am doing the Fisher’s of Men study with her on Wednesday nights before Bible Class. She is hungering for the Word and enjoys coming to Bible Class and Worship at North Jefferson. She is making new friends.
Kayla Messer was baptized into Christ on Monday, April 4. My son, Kaden Groda, initiated that study and taught her the Gospel using Back to the Bible. I am very pleased with Kaden as this was his first-ever Bible study student. He has led someone to the Lord and there is no greater “high” than that. Her mom, Kelli, was baptized over a year ago after Martha Deming taught her the Gospel using Back to the Bible.
Our official “Compassion card” program will be launched very soon, though the work of card-sending has already commenced. It is working! We continue to have a ton of visitors and our follow-up has never been better.
Coweta church of Christ, Oklahoma: “Rob, this past week has been such a blessing. We had a baptism Tuesday evening. We got through the first lesson of BTTB with a young man named John. We are doing lesson 2 with him tonight. We got through Lesson 1 with a lady named Amy. She is scheduled for Lesson 2 Wednesday evening. I have a lunch appointment tomorrow with a gentleman, a dinner appointment Thursday evening with a father and his adult son and dinner Friday evening with a denominational preacher and his wife. I believe we have a real good chance of scheduling a Bible study with them all. We have begun our card ministry as well as our visitor bags and new movers’ baskets. A former member who now lives in Texas was our guest speaker yesterday. He said he has never seen this congregation so on fire and active. He said he was really encouraged by what he saw. Please keep our works in your prayers as we continue to pray for you and your family. Together, with all of the other congregations involved in personal evangelism, we will reach many people who might have otherwise missed out on a life lived with God. God bless you, my friend!”
Riverbend church of Christ, Dalton, Georgia: Recently Austin Fowler drove all the way to Jacksonville to further discuss setting up the HTHSOE strategy. He just wrote, “Hey Rob! We had seven visitors today at Riverbend! I got contact info on all of them. They are on our compassion card list tonight. One of them was new to the area. I have a meeting with elders next Sunday to get our stuff going correctly. Pray for that meeting.”
Glenda Williams messaged: “Oh boy! We had Vicki and Derrick over for lunch after worship today. After the meal, we went through lesson one of Back to the Bible with them. He said it was so good for them and he appreciated it. Thursday evening, we had another (second) very successful study with Derrick and Vicki Holt. When we finished the study, Derrick patted his Bible and said, ‘What you guys are doing for us here, we needed it. Thank you so much for doing it.’ I told him it was our pleasure.”