It is October, and soon congregations will be having their annual fall parties and enjoying beautiful weather with the greatest company on earth as Christians gather for hayrides, candy, bonfires, roasted marshmallows, and good times. Some congregations will even put together a community “Trunk or Treat” to provide a safe place so children can dress up and go trick or treating for candy.
Sadly, most congregational activities are 90 percent inward and 10 percent outward, with no plan to reach the lost. Until congregations focus their energy on seeking and saving the lost (Luke 19:10), we will not resemble the Son of God. His mission must become our mission, and opportunities like “Trunk or Treat” provide it! Here are few suggestions to help your upcoming activities serve as opportunities to gain contacts from the local community.
Advertise your event in the community. House to House/Heart to Heart can do this for you by placing your ad on the back page. If sinners do not know you are providing a wholesome event for children and families, they cannot come. Make flyers to pass out, use the local paper when helpful, place the ad in the bulletin, use all social media platforms, and never forget the power of personal invitations.
Target sinners by providing an atmosphere that allows you to hit the bullseye. Creating a situation where a sinner will stay, sit, and talk is very important. A bonfire with hay bales, a chili contest, a meal in the fellowship hall, and trunk or treat in the parking lot are excellent contact creators.
Train your members! Each Christian should be looking for contacts. Teach each how to approach guests. Every effort should be made to sit down and get to know them. Prolonged dialogue will open doors to areas of need. Equip each member with the HTHSOE contact cards to record information. Contacts are only contacts when you have a name, address, and phone number. Be prepared for success.
Follow up! Follow up! Follow up! Send a text, make a personal visit, and add them to your compassion card list. Contacts are step one. Bible studies (step 3) require prospecting.
Evangelism is not complicated. It is a way of life and does not require dramatic changes from our normal routines. It just requires focus where you can use regularly scheduled activities to create contacts and cultivate them into Bible studies. HTHSOE does not seek to change the work you are doing. We seek to focus the church on her soul-saving mission, which can even include “Trunk or Treat”!
University church of Christ, Montgomery, Alabama: We welcome the University church of Christ to HTHSOE. This congregation blew my family away with their intense focus of soul wining. The elders, preacher, deacons, and members are fired up and willing to do whatever it takes to win souls for Christ. I am not sure we have seen this much potential anywhere else. Their location on Faulkner’s campus and the influx of students give this congregation a unique ability to have a large impact. We cannot wait to see what happens. A note from the eldership:
“Our House-to-House Evangelism Program has a roadmap for the next year to get us trained and to get going. We will share this roadmap with the congregation in the next week or so. The first big things involve getting trained. This will start Sunday (10/18), when Randy will preach about evangelism and walk us through the contact bookmarks for each to keep in our Bibles. After that, we will begin a series of sermons that walk us through the Back to the Bible handouts (green, blue, red). We will take two Sunday AM services for each booklet. We plan to skip the Sunday after Thanksgiving, as many will be out of town. We will pick up in early December. The program has opportunities to serve in many different ways. We will let you know about these and give all the opportunity to let us know how they would like to help. For now, it is important that we think about learning how this process works before hitting the ground running. Rob Whitacre has advised us that if a sister or brother has someone who is already asking for a Bible study, then they should go ahead and begin the Back to the Bible study. Otherwise, begin to pray for this effort and be ready and receptive for the training. The greatest takeaway for the eldership this week was to see the fire at University Church for this evangelism effort. We love each and every one of you and your servant hearts.” The Elders.
Coldwater church of Christ, Kentucky: Luke Puckett (preacher) reports, “Last week we sent twenty compassion cards to a member of our community who is recovering from surgery. We plan to send more this week and then visit him with the focus of starting the Back to the Bible study with him and his wife. One of our deacons, Josh Price, just finished Book 1 with his parents, and they will start Book 2 this weekend. They were receptive to Book 1 and shocked to learn that we do not follow the Old Testament today. Please pray for them and Josh as he conducts this study with his parents. My wife, Amber, is scheduling a study with one of our teenage ladies who has not obeyed the gospel yet. She will be using Does It Matter. We continue to train the congregation on the bookmarks and creating contacts. Our work team leaders continue to work on the compassion cards of the contacts created.”
Peninsula church of Christ, Hampton, Virginia: Ben Phillips reports, “We are off to a great start with the compassion card work, having just completed week 2. Members are engaged, participating, and offering ideas to improve the organization and work as we go. We continue to follow up with our contacts from door knocking, have scheduled monthly door knocking, have members willing to contribute to bring House to House into our plans, and have at least four ongoing personal studies now. God is opening doors and providing opportunities!”
Wewoka church of Christ, Oklahoma: Gage Coldwater (preacher) reports, “The work here is continuing to go great. We have been writing lots of cards and working to get more Bible studies. I had a Bible study with a lady named Barbara Hail. She said during the first study that she wanted to find the true church of the Bible. We will continue to study with her this week.”
Chase Park church of Christ, Huntsville, Alabama: Pat Cowden (preacher) reports, “We continued our studies with two people this week and have three more scheduled next week. We also continued with our New Convert classes, which are going well. To date we have sent over 300 compassion cards to contacts that have been generated by our membership. Our children’s ministry has been making personal cards to send to folks who need encouragement. They are meeting again this Sunday to make more because we have run out of them; they are a big hit. This week marked the beginning of our New Mover Program and we had two families that we were able to visit and give welcome buckets. Both visits went extremely well, and both families showed interest in attending services. We are at critical stages with several of our studies and request prayers for open and honest hearts to receive the gospel and obey it.”
Deerfoot church of Christ, Birmingham, Alabama: Richard Harp (preacher) reports, “On Saturday we had our door knocking day and made ten contacts. In all we had 16 members outdoor knocking. There is an excitement among many and a plan for more door knockings to come. We began the third book yesterday as we are preaching through the Back to the Bible series. Currently we have four Bible studies that have been started. One study was completed yesterday, and the family is praying about what they have learned. One of our members has begun a study with her daughter-in-law and they have completed the first book. One member has started a study with her neighbor, and they completed the first book. We are hoping for the interest to continue for the second book there. We are praying for God to provide the increase.”
Oak Hill church of Christ, Rome Georgia: Steve Murdock (elder) reports, “The Oak Hill church continues to evangelize and work for the Lord. Our minister, Michael Farris, taught 168 people from the pulpit. His message was about encouragement. We had five Bible Studies and have scheduled more for next week. One Bible study resulted in a baptism, and our card ministry sent out 60 cards. One of our members helped a recent contact, who had begun studying with her, pack up her house to move into senior living. She enlisted the help of a young man in our church, along with his cousin, to actually move her things. Our prayer is that this contact will continue her Bible Study through the last book in the series of Back to the Bible. Below is a picture of the young lady who was baptized.”
Siwell Roach church of Christ, Mississippi: Derek Broome (preacher) reports, “We had a great week as we started following up with our door knocking contacts. We have several members that are engaged in Bible studies right now. Looking forward to the coming weeks as we see these studies progress.”
Caddo Mills church of Christ, Texas: Jason Sparks (preacher) reports, “The church in Caddo Mills continues sending cards and following up. One of the results was a man starting to come after being out for a long time. He also invited a friend who brought his family with him! We are also seeing more members take to the program by helping with the cards and supplying names for the cards. We started slowly and are steadily building!”
Lafollette church of Christ, Tennessee: Ben Shaffer (preacher) reports, “Our evangelistic efforts continue. My study with the Mormon elders has been put on hold for a week due to them getting COVID. One visitor that has visited a few times wants to get together this week. I am hopeful for a Bible study. We mailed out our first batch of compassion cards from our door knocking effort and look forward to following up on them.”
Jacksonville church of Christ, Alabama: Rob Whitacre (member) wrote, “Last week we followed up on contacts made during our door knocking. Keith Ritchey compiled all the names, and several began making visits. On Thursday, I was able to have a Bible study with Mary Prater. It has taken us 3 1/2 years to prospect her into the study. Back to the Bible ibook 1 went extremely well. Please pray for this study.” Keith Ritchey (preacher) reports, “I put Clarene Dinkins on this task (visitor bags). She is soooo excited. She came by the building asking what she could do. Now we put those visitor bags to use.”
Point Pleasant church of Christ, Hebron, Kentucky: Steve Davis wrote, “The Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area is so ripe, and yes, the workers are FEW. I recently had a five-week Back to the Bible study with a man that obeyed the gospel, and we continue to study weekly. His name is Doug Owen. Thank you again; your efforts and sermons are always a Pep Talk for me.”
East Homer church of Christ, Alaska: Steve Cannon (member) wrote, “We have been out of state a few weeks but are back in town now. This weekend I preached on building relationships, and we had a visitor. We gave him a gift basket, and he is coming over to our house Friday for dinner. We have two applicants for preachers, and we will hopefully start interviews this week.”
Willow Avenue church of Christ, Cookeville, Tennessee: “We have three Bible Studies that are getting started right now, and two of them are the result of the prospect notes we have been sending. Hopefully, we will have some good news to report from those studies soon.”
Corinth church of Christ, Tennessee: James Parker (elder) reports, “We have one lady who invited a family over to eat to attempt to set up a Bible study. We have a Chinese lady (I think you have met her). She is studying with two friends one day a week. I am performing a wedding for a couple in three weeks. I just finished counseling them and asked if they would study the Bible with me as soon as they are settled in their new house. They agreed.”
Asheboro church of Christ, North Carolina: Chandler Frances (preacher) reports, “This week in Asheboro, we have set up our evangelism table. We have had one baptism (as you know) thus far from Does it Matter? and we have sent out one card to a member’s coworker. We are implementing things slowly here, but we are implementing them! Hopefully, we will start sending you more information on Bible studies and baptisms once the evangelism table is put more and more into use. I’ll keep you updated.”
Warners Chapel church of Christ, North Carolina: Kevin Rutherford (preacher) reports, “Two weeks ago, I preached on John 4. Last week we published the main points from your John 4 material in the bulletin. This Sunday morning, I preached on evangelism and introduced some of the evangelistic efforts we are engaged in currently and about to engage in, using principles learned in the House-to-House Heart-to- Heart School of Evangelism. Next Sunday morning we begin going through book one of Back to the Bible Series with the congregation. Next Sunday night the elders are meeting with the congregation to announce plans and further organize our evangelistic efforts using methods learned in the School of Evangelism. We have had four Bible studies with two individuals since you were here. First visitors’ gift bag were given out today. The elders are getting us organized for evangelistic efforts involving our upcoming Chicken Stew, Gospel Meeting with B.J. Clarke, and Youth Rally with Eric Lyons. All will be approached evangelistically with the renewed zeal in the congregation since we had you here for the School of Evangelism. New Mover program began with deliveries to two new movers.”
Burleson church of Christ, Alabama: Todd Clippard (elder) reports, “Tent meeting last week was a great success. Andy Kizer was masterful in answering “Questions You’ve Asked about the Church of Christ.” House to House advertising was key in drawing visitors from nearly 20 miles in opposite directions. Follow up calls, cards, and visits started during the meeting, and at least one Bible study will be secured this week.”
Riverbend church of Christ, Georgia: Austin Fowler (member) reports, “Our compassion card ministry is working. One of our elder’s wife (Valorie Sanders) did study number one with Dawn. Dawn is one of Ernie’s (elder) employees that is currently undergoing cancer treatments. Valorie sent her a compassion card and in the card, she said, “I would be happy to study the Bible with you if you ever had that desire.” Dawn contacted her to tell her she would love that. They are doing the studies through FaceTime due to her health. Study number one went great, and they are doing book number two Tuesday. Today was a great day at Riverbend. We had some newcomers to the area visit with us. The mother is a member, but I am not sure about the son. I am going to follow up with a new mover’s basket this week and try to find out more about his situation. We had a visitor tonight come again. She said she had a desire to study the Bible. Sister Sanders is also going to conduct this study. I received a phone call tonight from a member saying her brother is sick with cancer and is open to sit down and study the Bible. She asked me if I would be willing to conduct the study. We are scheduled to have breakfast and the study at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Pray for all these efforts. God Bless!”