|Reaching the Lost- Success Stories
Featured Congregations: East Flushing church of Christ
“I Didn’t Know I Was Lost”
Editor’s Note: Our enrollment of individuals for the House to House/Heart to Heart School of Evangelism has never been higher. The letter below is from a recent application. Her words touched all our hearts at HTHSOE because she is an example of the power of the gospel to transform lives. Among these words is a statement that will help all of us become better soul winners. I hope you will read it and learn from this newborn child in Christ!
“Dear Brother Whitacre, I must start off by saying thank you for all your dedication, diligence, and devotion. Not many can do what you are doing. I know it is all by the grace of God and to God’s glory. I am Crystal Gonzalez, a sister from East Flushing Church of Christ. On July 6, 2022, I was baptized into Christ; I was lost and did not know it until I studied the lessons in Back to the Bible. Then I realized I had been taught incorrectly. I will be eternally grateful for the invitation in April of 2022 to East Flushing church of Christ. It saved my life.
I would like to enroll as an individual in House to House School of Evangelism. I am very inspired because I am learning something new every time I read the Reaching the Lost updates and congregational reports. It has, indeed, been a great opportunity for me to observe and learn strategies to save the lost. It has filled my heart with much joy and gratitude to be able to bear witness that evangelism works. Since August 2022, I have been using some of the strategies from House to House when doing Bible studies using the Back to the Bible lessons. I am so excited and grateful to God for this grace of eight precious souls who have been saved, including myself. Praise the Lord; glory be to God.
I hope to hear from you soon. I am looking forward to receiving information about the program. May God continue to be with you and bless you abundantly far beyond measure with all your evangelistic efforts. Sincerely your sister in Christ, Crystal Gonzalez.”
Glencoe church of Christ, Alabama: “This past week, we witnessed true leadership from our elders. Brooks Boyd continues his sermon series on evangelism. He coupled John 4 and Acts 10 together. It was a masterpiece! Both elders addressed the congregation multiple times during both services to engage the members to provide contacts. On Sunday evening, we met at 4:15 with over 20 members writing cards. We are preparing for our first Mission Monday/Transition Thursday later in the month. Ted Brooks is doing a great work by teaching our first principles class on Sunday mornings.”
Midtown church of Christ, Victoria, Texas: James Cammock (deacon) reports, “Another member of the Jacobs family obeyed the Gospel this Sunday! He is a nephew in the large family that has been worshiping with us. After hearing the Gospel preached and studying with our preacher (Brandon Starling), the young man obeyed the Gospel immediately following Sunday morning worship. We are grateful to God for the power of His word and for the numerical growth of our congregation. Brandon has a neat tradition of asking everyone who stayed for the baptism to hold hands as one of our elders prays for the new convert.”
Fruitvale church of Christ, Texas: Carl McCann (elder/preacher) reports, “This picture shows some of Compassion Card group 3 hard at work. Fruitvale is continuing to work the model as prospects are now engaged in Bible studies. Our New Movers list has provided opportunities for us to visit folks new to our community. We continue to pray that God will be glorified by our efforts.”
Highway 95 church of Christ, Taylor, Texas: Benjamin Dossey (preacher) reports, “Now that the holidays are over, we are returning to our focus on involvement. We have our list of New Movers for January now, so will be look forward to contacting those new to the area.”
Central church of Christ, Martinsburg, West Virginia: Robert Veil (preacher) reports, “We had a good meeting with Rob Whitacre by video conference on Thursday. We reviewed procedures and set up. We had a good turnout for compassion card writing on Sunday evening after services; see the attached picture. Also, some of our women are bringing in bread for visitors.”
Bona church of Christ, Missouri: Cory Orr (preacher) reports, “We have seven new contacts so far this month, and we are reaching out to them. We also have meetings scheduled this month to discuss visiting people in their homes and then getting them into Bible studies. The congregation at Bona is excited about saving souls. Please continue to pray that opportunities arise for souls to be saved.”
York church of Christ, Pennsylvania: Mark Raschke (deacon) reports, “This week we sent cards to the two visitors that we had last week, plus a member’s relative who has been on our sick list. One of the contacts who had previously received cards from us came to worship. Even better, he brought a visitor, and we provided visitor bag. We continue to have the Wednesday night lesson series going through the Back to the Bible series; we are nearly finished the second booklet. Fred brought another sermon on evangelism this Sunday morning, to help us renew our commitment to the work. We have one lady, Debbie, who has been my right hand with the Compassion Card effort. I think I will ask her to be the coordinate our Compassion Cards. Our next step is to visit some of the folks who have received cards from us. Please pray that those will lead to Bible studies!” Editor’s note: We had our follow-up virtual meeting last week. They are doing a great job implanting the different steps.
North Meadville church of Christ, Pennsylvania: Rick Marendt (elder): “We are currently sending cards to seven people on the contact list. Bryon baptized Monica Ray last week. Monica is the granddaughter of our new sister, Doris. Monica’s mother Bev is starting to show considerable interest. There are roughly three others showing interest in Bible studies. The hard part seems to be keeping congregational interest stirred in spite of the success we seem to be having.”
Freewill church of Christ, Gainesboro, Tennessee (digital): “We welcome the Freewill church of Christ into the House to House/Heart to Heart School of Evangelism. Andrew Scott, one of our graduates, is sharing the pulpit and will be training the congregation. They are eager to get started with the video training.”
Madison County church of Christ, Jackson, Tennessee: Steven Sprouse (preacher) reports, “We finished the School of Evangelism Seminar last Tuesday. The congregation is excited, and we have hit the ground running. We had seven Bible studies using BTTB 1 last week. All of the studies went well, and a second study was setup in each case. My wife saw someone on Facebook in a community post who asked for a Christian mentor, so Heidi started talking with her. Then they met one time to talk, and by the next week, Heidi had started the first study with her on Friday. It went well.
“Earnestine had set up a study with five non-Christians and asked me to do the study; we had six people attend the study. I know it is better to study with an individual, but this opportunity was handed to me this way. We ate together and spent time getting to know each other. They loved the study and want to do another, but they could not meet again until February 4. I will try to get them to study with me individually after the next study.
“I began preaching the lesson on Jesus the Politically Incorrect Evangelist Sunday. We began writing our ten contacts for every member. The men of the congregation met to start assigning coordinators. We have two members who have watched the video called Back Door Bible Study. We hope to implement this method with close family members that are not members of the Lord’s church. Every prayer has been full of evangelistic focus and hope.”
Bethel church of Christ, Martin, Tennessee: Brad Brewer (preacher) reports, “We made some key alterations to our House to House mailing this week. We added Free Transportation to Worship and Free Community Services to our offerings on the front page, as well as adding a phone number for the church so that those in our community can easily contact us. We continue to work toward having an organized Evangelism Room so that our members can easily access the many materials that we have available.”
McKenzie church of Christ, Tennessee: Chance Steen (preacher) reports, “Our elders have divided the congregation into four groups with team leaders for each group. We have a coordinator who will oversee the team leaders for those who are writing compassion cards. All coordinators are in place and ready; they will report to the elders. We presented the second part of Jesus the Politically Incorrect Evangelist and have received many positive responses. We are marching forward with the program.”
North Bradley church of Christ, Cleveland, Tennessee: Andy Sneed (elder) reports, “We are trying to find what works best for us as a small congregation as far as keeping folks focused on sending cards. We hope to transition to visits soon. We had a good call with Matt Wallin last week as well. Pressing on!”
Old Jefferson church of Christ, Smyrna, Tennessee: Bob Horn (preacher) reports, “Materials came in to organize the compassion cards better. The congregation worked on cards for two more families to be sent this week. We also had a family here that works in the mission field of Australia, and we were able to share ideas with them, sparking their interest as well.”
West End church of Christ, Knoxville, Tennessee: Adam Wilson (member) reports, “We are having exciting times here at West End! In addition to the Sunday class for new Christians led by our elders (Mark Newby, Blake Graham, and Brian Johnson), member Tim Malone will be using the last Sunday morning of each month to facilitate a class with deacons presenting their ministries to the new Christians. We are confident that connections and friendships will be made. We hope that this is a good way to get the new Christians involved in serving early in their faith so that it is just as natural to serve as it is to hold a Bible study and attend worship. We will meet with the evangelism teams on January 29.”
East Main church of Christ, Murfreesboro, Tennessee: Brad Rowley (elder) reports, “We had two Bible studies last week. Two members, Chris and Jenny Saetveit, have been studying with Jon and Beth Mitchell and with Brad and Gail Rowley for several months. Chris was baptized years ago and had not had an opportunity to participate in a study similar to the Open Bible Study or Back to the Bible. Chris enjoyed the study, asked a lot of questions, and grew in knowledge and wisdom. Having folks over to your home for a meal is the perfect setting for a Bible study. On Sunday afternoon we wrote 91 cards. Our compassion card team is doing well with great attendance and positive responses from those who receive cards. On Sunday, Avery Bayes, our family and youth minister, started the BTTB series with our youth. They had role playing to practice getting a Bible study. Jon Mitchell, our pulpit minister, had lunch with a young couple that has been visiting East Main. The elders provided an article in the bulletin regarding our Mission Day to promote interest in our members. David Brown, one of our elders, has a discipleship meeting scheduled for next week. We have several members working with prospects for Bible studies. Mark Isenberg had our second new convert class with nine students in attendance.”
New Union church of Christ, Manchester, Tennessee: Paul Fulks (elder) reports, “We continue to review the bookmarks at the close of Sunday services. We asked members to submit contact cards for those who have had events in their lives that created the need for compassion. We have congregational prayer specifically for those we are prospecting. Our members have been consistent in submitting new contact cards each week. After services on Sunday evening, Card Team 3 met and completed 84 compassion cards. Last week five members made a total of seven follow-up visits. We continue to prospect a young man who has not been faithful. He had a leg amputated and has been attending for the last two weeks. We continue to call and visit him. We hope he will be restored soon, and then we will try to reach other members of his family.”
New Hope church of Christ, Middleton, Tennessee: Cole Wade (preacher) reports, “Our little church building had 101 people in it this last Sunday. We met so many people. We had been praying for a specific family and had reached out to them several times, so we were happy to see them at worship! We made them feel very loved! Our contact lists are still growing, especially after Sunday. I had to reschedule a Bible study, but we will have it!” Editor’s Note: After reading Cole’s report, I called and we talked with joy. This congregation has doubled Sunday AM attendance in less than a year and had the third highest baptism rate among all HTHSOE congregations. God is blessing them!
Rogersville church of Christ, Tennessee: Ethan Tate (preacher) reports, “This week we made another contact who desires to have a Bible study. We had been sending her compassion cards for quite a while, and now she is watching our services. We request prayers that we can reach this lady and her husband and connect them to the gospel! We also had another family who visited Wednesday. They will be moving into our area and worshiping with us. We are praying for their travels and for the opportunity to build a relationship with them.”
Covington church of Christ, Tennessee: Wayne Dalrymple (elder) reports, “Becky and Nikki finished book 2 last Wednesday before our evening service. Nikki said she was ready to be baptized then, but Becky wisely asked if she knew why she needed to be baptized. Nikki admitted that she did not. Becky recommended that they continue with book 3 the next night. Nikki had to reschedule the study with Becky because she had to work late Thursday. They are scheduled to go through book 3 Tuesday evening. Bennie Craig visited again Sunday evening. I offered to study with him. He declined a personal study because he felt his speech impediment would be an obstacle. I offered him a Does It Matter? DVD and booklet for him to study. He accepted. On Monday, he texted me saying he had watched it and ‘found nothing that I would find offensive.’ He offered to share his testimony with me and stated that he is ‘Arminian in doctrine and non-dispensational in eschatology.’ I offered to further show him what the Bible says about salvation. He is willing to email back and forth. While this is not ideal, it is better than nothing. Jeff is continuing his studies with Tori. On Saturday, several members helped some new converts move to Dyersburg. I contacted the church there, and the preacher visited them shortly after we left. We are preparing for our gospel meeting with Neal Pollard on March 5-8. We are encouraging members to invite friends and family. We wrote compassion cards Monday evening. During our elders meeting Monday night, we talked about focusing on erring members in 2023. We will develop a plan similar to the evangelism plan we have been following to identify our erring members and determine the best ways to reach out to them.”
Greenfield church of Christ, Tennessee: Clint Monroe (elder) reports, “We had great attendance for our youth devotional. Brent did an excellent job going through the first book of Back to the Bible. Compassion card groups are adjusting to changes in the process and are engaged in sending cards. We are continuing to work on generating contacts.”
Mayland church of Christ, Tennessee: Howard Burnett (evangelist) reports, “Kathy and I had two baptisms this week, but they were for the Mayland congregation (about 12 miles west of Crossville). They were contacts from the Sojourn last June at Mayland. We used your teaching about building relationships with your students and prospecting. We have been working with another couple in Mayland to get them out of the Christian Church. The Mayland congregation is hanging on by a fingernail. I hate to lose congregations. We have a Crossville contact that will soon study a third lesson. I am hoping she will obey the gospel before we head to Florida to snowbird next month.”
Lackland Terrace church of Christ (digital): Greg Campbell (preacher) reports, “We had a baptism on January 15, after studying Does It Matter. Our new brother learned the urgency of his conversion while studying! We are engaging those on our new movers list. We have offered to pray for them and to help with yard work. We gave them a small welcome basket that had a copy of HTH in it. Visitors and new members have expressed the effect compassion cards have on them. Some new members are already sending compassion cards themselves! It is a wonderful time of activity and spiritual growth at Lackland Terrace Church of Christ.”
Southwest church of Christ, Austin, Texas: John Garza (preacher) reports, “Simeon and Mayra made the decision to obey the gospel of Christ in baptism. They counted the cost and sacrificed living together in a non-marriage relationship, while having a child together. Prior to telling me that they wanted to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins and added to the Lord’s church, Simeon expressed, ‘Last week, it was overwhelming to understand where we stood in relationship to God and the specific situation that we were in, but God’s word is clear.’ They expressed the desire to do what is according to God’s righteousness. Truly, to God be the glory for the simplicity of His word and the sincere hearts that desire to obey it. Last night, we rejoiced, today we rejoice, and Sunday, we begin helping them grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Our prayers have been answered for them. I assured them that the church will take care of them and be their family, and we are already on the right track. I have had members reach out to help with housing, money for rent, wedding planning, photography, and other needs. I am looking forward to the love that will be expressed to them in their future here at Southwest.
“We note the service of everyone that made it possible to reach them with the gospel of Christ. From Jamie and the Chick-Fil-A crew, to Carol Peden inviting Mayra to worship, and to the love of the congregation expressed toward the lost. In the studies with them, Steven and I worked through the first booklet together, then Steven and Adrian did the second, and in the third study, Bryce worked with me. During these studies, Rachel, Nita, Lindsey, Carolyn, and McKenna watched their baby girl, Genesis. Members worked together to accomplish the great work of evangelism.”
Northern Oaks church of Christ, San Antonio, Texas: Mel Hutzler (elder) reports, “We have our card writing teams running well, and HTH mail outs are being sent. The New Movers program is generating visits. We had a baptism last Sunday, and we have a few ongoing Bible studies. We have a special evangelism class every Wednesday. We also have a Young Ladies Day coming up Saturday.”
North Jefferson church of Christ, Mt. Pleasant, Texas: Kris Groda (preacher) reports: “Several ongoing studies; we added two new studies. We are collecting more and more contacts on cards.”
Shertz church of Christ, Texas: Jay Stewart (elder) reports, “This week we welcomed John and Eta Grubb as they returned from their three-month mission trip to Indonesia and Singapore. Our planning continues for the March door knocking ahead of our spring gospel meeting with Glenn Hitchcock. We are continuing our visitor meals and searching for contacts.”
East Flushing church of Christ, Flushing, New York (Digital): Clarence Jenkins (evangelist) reports, “Glory be to God; two precious souls were added to the body of Christ Saturday. Francesca was baptized in the morning and Nina in the evening. Francesca had been studying the BTTB booklets for several months. We met Nina last Sunday when she came by the building after worship and set up an appointment to have a Bible study. On Tuesday she completed book one, Wednesday book two, and Saturday book three. By God’s grace, this brings us total number of baptisms to 12 this year. We are thankful to God for HTHSOE, the commitment of the Whitacre family, and the efforts of all the churches of Christ seeking to save the lost. Please continue to pray for us. We are praying for all of you.”
Carthage church of Christ, North Carolina (Digital): Randy Chambers (preacher) reports, “We are grateful that we had a baptism already this year. After going through BTTB, Shamecca was baptized into Christ on January 13. We are continually sending compassion cards, and we are planning to follow up with visits. The brothers are training and reviewing our original virtual meeting with Rob Whitacre so that we may, by God’s grace, grow in mastering the fundamentals and effectiveness of evangelism. We appreciate all your prayers.”
Coldwater church of Christ, Murray, Kentucky: Luke Puckett (preacher) reports, “Let me introduce you to Gary and Amanda Clarke. Gary worked for one of our members. A few months ago, he was diagnosed with cancer. We were able to help them with bills while he was unable to work. Over that time, we sent cards, visited, and called them. Once Gary was better, they visited Coldwater worship services a couple of times. We were able to talk with them and set up a Bible study. They understood the simple truth. Thursday night, after book 3, we baptized both of them into Christ for the remission of their sins. It has been a year since our seminar. We followed the program without much success or interest, but we never gave up. If you are going slower than some, do not take it negatively. Keep the course and remember God will give the increase.” Editor’s note: This congregation was struck with a horrific tornado after the seminar. Due to help from many of you, they took this tragedy and helped the community. Now they are once again focusing on local contacts, and it is working! The Puckett family is dedicated to the congregation and soul winning. This is just the first of many!
Woodstock church of Christ, Georgia: Greg Garner (deacon) reports, “WCOC meets Sunday evenings to conduct the Actively Caring Teaching Serving (ACTS) workshop (i.e., Evangelism). The Compassion Group sent out 20 cards. The Visitation Group delivered 15 coffee stations to the new movers within our community. The Service Group is prospecting one couple from the HTHHTH list. The Practical Applications Class had seven attendees. On Sunday, January 15, WCOC welcomed McKenzie Wallace to the fold. She was baptized by her father, Jeremy Wallace. We have one Bible study in progress.”
Rabun County church of Christ, Tiger, Georgia (Digital): McKinley Pate (preacher) reports, “Keith Nehls obeyed the gospel Wednesday after two months of studies. Keith is a phenomenally intelligent person with a love for God and His Word. We will continue studying with him and welcome him with open arms to the Lord’s church. On Sunday we finished book 3 of Back to the Bible. We continue to reach out to the community, showing compassion where we can. We continue to explore many avenues of evangelizing Rabun County. To God be the Glory.”
White Oak church of Christ, Georgia (Digital): Austin Fowler (HTHSOE graduate) reports, “At White Oak on Wednesday, several members met to send cards to our New Movers’ list. It was an encouraging time together. We will grow this program over the next few months to reach our friends and family members and demonstrate compassion. One member asked me to visit his son who is not a Christian. We hope to encourage him and eventually teach him the gospel. I am thankful to have a target list already starting. I was out of town Sunday (PTP Spark in Valdosta), and am thankful Luke Griffin filled in for me. This coming Sunday, we will watch the second lesson of the Evangelism Seminar.”
Riverbend church of Christ, Dalton, Georgia: Austin Fowler (member) reports, “At Riverbend, Conner and Natika started visiting about a year ago. We took them out to eat after one of their visits. Last year, they got married. Barry did pre-marital counseling with them. Yesterday, Natika was baptized into Christ. Our SALT groups sent cards and demonstrated compassion to those in our community. We are prayerful that these efforts can help us reach people in our community with the gospel.”
East Main church of Christ, Tupelo, Mississippi: Barry Kennedy (preacher) reports, “We had five conversions last month. A mother and daughter were baptized January 8 after studying and worshiping with us. We had a Bible study with another mother and son who had been visiting and enjoying our Bible class. Before we finished the study, both said they wanted to be baptized. We hope to teach the dad soon. Alex Blackwelder started a study with the husband of one of our members who was baptized. All of these came forward during the invitation, and it was so exciting to the congregation. This has been a group effort as the congregation is focusing on outreach and evangelism.”
Edgewood church of Christ, Abingdon, Maryland (Digital): John Wilkie (preacher) reports, “We have collected about 70 names. I did not think it was enough, but we are going to start with the ones we have and continue to collect more. Next week we should finish booklet 3. Afterward, we will demonstrate having a Bible study and answer any difficult questions people may have. We are also working toward the purchase of a building, so we are busy. As a preacher with another full-time job, my time is cut in half, but we will continue to move at a steady pace.” I am also concerned that since most of the names we have collected are not from our area because most of our members travel frequently. I am praying that those who are listed will travel, too. Next Sunday afternoon we will be sending out cards.”
Jacksonville church of Christ, Alabama: Keith Ritchie (preacher) reports, “Nina Ritchie decided to put her Lord on in baptism Sunday night. We are so happy and rejoice with Heaven. To God be the glory.”
Hatton church of Christ, Alabama: Chris Miller (preacher) reports, “The congregation continues to work together, and God continues to give the increase. Connor McIntyre was baptized into Christ Saturday after completing Back to the Bible studies. Rod and Rachel Rutherford were restored Sunday! To God be the glory.”
Canal Heights church of Christ, Demopolis, Alabama: Bryan Cook (preacher) reports, “This Saturday was supposed to be our door-knocking day, but we cancelled because of a hard freeze in our area. We have decided to review the many early lessons from our evangelism training to make sure everyone is up to speed. Many things were ironed out in our system from trial-and-error last year, and we hope all of our members who were not as involved initially will show growth in their ability to evangelize. I am really encouraged at the number of new people willing to evangelize; they are taking initiative. The process is slow and waiting on the timing of God is sometimes the most difficult part, but we are not discouraged. Continue to pray for our efforts as we pray for you all.”
Chase Park church of Christ, Huntsville, Alabama: Pat Cowden (preacher) reports, “We have three new Bible studies started and four that are almost finished. Lord willing, we will have good news to report soon about one or more putting on Christ in baptism. One prospect has brought his parents, and they have begun a Bible study with two members. We are restarting a Bible study, Lord willing, that stalled around Thanksgiving. We have revamped our Open Home Ministry meetings, and our first one of 2023 is Saturday. In these meetings at our house, we eat (always eat), have a short devotional and prayer, and get to know our visitors and students away from a church environment. We have 15 already confirmed who will be there, Lord willing, and perhaps even more will come. Pre-covid, this was one of our best tools for watering seeds that had already been planted, and planting seeds in our newest prospects. Please pray for our efforts.”
Rising Star church of Christ, Arkansas: Keden Shrum (preacher) reports, “Bradyn Dupuy is a senior in high school who was invited to services by a classmate. After engaging in study and completing book three, he was baptized into Christ. We have not yet completed the three Back to the Bible books for the congregation.”
NOTE: These reports are from Christians and congregations enrolled in the House to House/Heart to Heart School of Evangelism. These emails are sent to teach and provoke one another to remain focused on the mission of Christ. Each week, we share several reports and highlight one with more details. We hope you enjoy reading them.