This week we have conducted our first American Mission Campaign, a combined work of Latin American Missions and the House to House/Heart to Heart School of Evangelism. Our goal is to duplicate in the United States what we do all over the world. We assembled a team of 150 Christians this week to work for six days in Rome, Georgia, to train workers and teach the gospel. When evangelizing in foreign countries, a simple invitation to a tent meeting can produce more contacts than a local congregation is able to bear. Obviously, this does not work in America. Therefore, we are attempting a different approach.
First, we armed every participant with the tools needed to effectively evangelize the lost. We cannot expect our soldiers to fight unarmed with the weapons needed to win. Thanks to contributions made by congregations and individuals we were able to provide every worker with an AMC backpack full of door hangers, tracts, contact cards, study methods, House to House/Heart to Heart, bookmarks, and training manuals/books.
Second, we spent almost 25 hours in training Christians how to evangelize. Most congregations have an army of untrained soldiers. Some congregations still try to conduct campaigns like churches did during the 1950-60’s. No training is given as Christians are sent to the streets with meeting flyers and Bibles. This is a failing model in 2021, and it results in discouragement. AMC has an adaptive approach to our changing culture that has resulted in a 35 percent success rate for gaining a contact for return visits.
Third, we set realistic goals. Many local campaign efforts end in “failure” because the expectations are not biblical. We do not come to baptize but to teach. The Great Commission is a reach and teach order. Our goal is to go into the local community and develop contacts. Jesus said we must look up as the fields are white unto harvest (John 4:35). Bringing the love of the church of Christ to every door in the community is going to bring results.
Fourth, we followed the teachings of Christ by being, “wise as serpents and subtle as doves” (Matthew 10:16). Since forming contacts is our goal, we approach strategically, using kindness, gentleness, and love to till the soils of the heart. We bring these gifts in the name of the Lord to show compassion to those in need and to offer healing to those who hurt. By using the New Testament tools of benevolence, prayer, and simple gospel teaching, we appeal to those who are looking for answers to religious hypocrisy, confusion, and division.
Fifth, we practice what we preach! HTHSOE is not a theory. Since beginning the school three years ago, we have recorded almost 900 baptisms. This is not a trial balloon. We take the working model of the New Testament and demonstrate its power by practicing it all over the United States. We send out weekly reports (Reaching the Lost) not only to encourage others but also to keep everyone accountable. We do not come for pep rallies; we seek cultural changes that produce lasting results.
This week, in Rome, Georgia, the spirit of evangelism was evident as an army of Christian soldiers has been trained, and hundreds of contacts were made for congregations in this area to prospect and engage in Bible study. We baptized two on Sunday who were visiting. Thousands of doors were knocked. The United States of America is a fertile field that has largely been ignored. Satan has convinced Christians that America cannot be reached so we do not try. This week Satan lost this battle as we fought for the Lord. Stay tuned for more good news soon!
Adairsville church of Christ, Georgia: Rick Lawson (preacher) reports, “Greetings from Adairsville, Georgia. The elders planned our 2021 Vacation Bible School to be an evangelistic tool, and the theme of “Jesus Saves!” was selected. The members were challenged to invite visitors from the community like never before, and they responded in a wonderful way! Out of the 88 in attendance for the Sunday afternoon (2 pm to 5 pm) VBS, we had over 20 visitors, and hardly any of them were members of the church. One of the elders and his wife volunteered to utilize contact cards to record the information of all the visitors so we might reach out to them for continued studies. Evangelism is now at the forefront of our minds. Thanks for helping us light the fire here in Adairsville, and may the Lord continue to bless your work in the brotherhood.”
North Jefferson church of Christ, Mt. Pleasant, Texas: Kris Groda reports, “Tia is a member of the North Jefferson church of Christ. She attended our training seminar earlier this year. The congregation took the training to heart and has recorded 15 conversions. Their fire has spread throughout the area as congregations have inquired how they have made such a dramatic change. Last week, their influence went from Texas to Missouri as one of their members (Tia) went to vacation in Branson. She reached out to fellow hotel residents and invited them to church. Michael responded to her invitation and visited; Tia helped him to connect with their local preacher (Tim Kidwell). After the studies, she was baptized. Tia is an amazing bringer. She is always giving the congregation names to prospect. Evangelism is contagious. It spreads like fire!”
Chase Park church of Christ, Huntsville, Alabama: Pat Cowden (preacher) reports, “We have had another productive week in our evangelistic efforts. We have completed our meetings with our trained teachers, and they have completed their assignments of reading Fishing for Men and How to Close the Study. We sent over 100 compassion cards in the last three weeks and have received multiple reports of thanksgiving. Our studies are nearing completion with eight people, and others are not far behind. I presented the first 1/2 of Back to the Bible Lesson 1 during evening worship yesterday, and it was extremely well received by the congregation. Next Sunday, we will start meeting before and after evening worship with our groups to fill out compassion cards and to put together welcome and new mover packages. Our people are engaged and speaking to many of those on their bookmark prospect cards. The momentum is exciting to witness and since God desires all men to be saved, I expect we will have some God- given increases to report soon. If you have not contacted Rob about his seminar, I urge you to do so; you will not regret it.”
Siwell Road church of Christ, Mississippi: Derek Broome (preacher) reports, “We have had a great week. The entire congregation has been placed into four Card Care groups and our groups have started meeting each week to send out cards to those on our congregational contact list and those that are in need. We have had one more baptism over the last week and many more Bible studies are set up and being conducted. Our new greeters have started greeting our guests, handing out visitors’ bags, and collecting information on all our visitors so we can reach out to them. We have also put together our new movers’ baskets and will be delivering those soon. It’s been a great week. Looking forward to more growth in the weeks to come.”
Cordova church of Christ, Memphis, Tennessee: Bruce Hatcher (preacher), reports, “We completed the Back to the Bible congregational training today and I believe the effort has been received well. This past week we also started working on putting together visitor bags. We have two studies scheduled for this coming week, and our compassion card groups are starting to run a little smoother. The best accomplishment though is that everyone seems to be thinking about evangelism.”
Beloit church of Christ, Kansas: Dustin Doughtery (preacher) reports, “Brother Rob, great news; we had another baptism last night. I was not involved in this one, but the guy who was baptized had been a ‘hot’ contact for years. He reached out to one of our former elders and initiated a study, and last night he was baptized. We have now tied last year’s number of baptisms, and I have a study Wednesday night with a couple on Book 3 of BTTB. I am praying it ends in conversions.”
Willette church of Christ, Red Boiling Springs, Tennessee: Jack Honeycutt (preacher) reports, “We have been so thrilled to have three new sisters in Christ! Mali Clark and Ella Rich put on their Lord in baptism at the Willette church camp at Big Reedy in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Mallory Swindoll obeyed the gospel the day after going home from camp. It is encouraging to know that hearts are still touched by the Word of God.”
Deerfoot church of Christ, Birmingham, Alabama: Richard Harp (preacher) reports, “We have begun to phase our contact list into a prospect list. Last night, impact group 1 met to send cards to prospects. Our hope is to continue and prepare the soil for studies. Please pray for our efforts. We have just come back from a week of camp where seven young people obeyed the gospel. Our youth minister, Johnathan Johnson studied with and baptized two young people. Holly Crumbly and Ben Herrera are their names. What great week of camp!”
Cowetta church of Christ, Oklahoma: Keno Shrum (preacher) reports, “A few weeks ago, we had a visitor from out of town. He was in town visiting family and is a member of the 4th ward church of Christ in Atoka, Oklahoma. Jamie met him at the door, not knowing who he was or where he was from, with a visitor’s bag. The next day, we mailed out cards to him, thanking him for his visit.
Mercedes Drive church of Christ, Alabama: Scott Cain (preacher) reports, “The compassion cards have effectively gained involvement with the brethren, which has generated contacts and interest with our neighbors. More brethren seem to have their eyes open to possibilities and opportunities in establishing contacts. There have been no new baptisms in recent weeks, but another new personal Bible study just commenced with a visitor, while two more are scheduled to start in the coming days.”
Corinth church of Christ, Portland, Tennessee: James Parker (elder) reports, “Steve and I have done half of the second lesson with a gentleman. One half is about all the time he can sit through (an hour). Have a second study to begin when Cindy returns from visiting her mom tomorrow. Steve and Cindy will be conducting that one. We are moving our table from the front of the auditorium to the back this coming week, Lord willing. We have two groups set up alphabetically. I am away every other week preaching at Shackle Island until they hire a preacher.”