|Reaching the Lost- Success Stories
Featured Congregation: Chase Park church of Christ, Huntsville, Alabama
Editor’s Note: Pat Cowden and his wife Maria are soul winners. About two years ago, they reached out to HTHSOE and desired to learn more about congregational evangelism. They flew down to Florida where we were conducting an advanced training seminar at the Florida School of Preaching. Shortly thereafter, we conducted the training at Chase Park. Since that time, Pat has been working hard to train and organize the congregation to reach the lost in their community. This work has paid off!
When Members Evangelize, We Baptize
Written by Pat Cowden
Last week was a great week at Chase Park because two of our prospects put on Christ in baptism. Sherry Lewis had been studying with her niece, Beverly Miller, and Jamie Elkins for about six weeks. We knew she was close to a decision point about Christ. On Tuesday morning my phone rang, and Beverly said, “Sherry is ready to be baptized.” After speaking to her for about 30 minutes, I took her confession and baptized her for the forgiveness of her sins.
Beverly and Jamie were not through with their efforts. Later Tuesday, they had a meal and Bible study at their house with three people, Dustin, Kathy, and John. Joe Miller, a new convert who was baptized less than a year ago, assisted them. Dustin, Jamie, and Joe are cousins. The study with Dustin started about nine months ago and has been on and off because of his health. Through their persistence and desire to see those they love to be right with God, Joe, Jamie, and Beverly continued studying as often as Dustin could.
About 6:30 that same night, my phone rang again; this time it was Jamie. She said, “He is ready!” I knew exactly what she meant, and Maria and I headed to her house. We drove about two minutes to the banks of Hurricane Creek where Dustin’s mom, Kathy, and stepdad, John (yes, the same ones mentioned that are also studying and attending services at Chase Park) met us to see Dustin baptized into Christ.
When members of a congregation understand that sharing their faith with others is part of what it means to be a faithful child of God, amazing things can happen. I am thankful to have so many here at Chase Park who understand that and are willing to put their faith into action and lead people to their Lord.
Glencoe church of Christ, Alabama: David Marker (elder) reports, “For the last couple of weeks, we have been heavily involved in following up with our contacts. Several New Mover contacts have been transferred to our contact list for compassion cards. The level of participation from the congregation is growing and it has been encouraging to see everyone working together. We are reaching out to those who have become negligent. So far, what we have seen has been very encouraging. We are praying that we can show the lost sheep that they are much needed and missed. This week, we are beginning a virtual service on Tuesday night. Using another level of communication with people on our prospect and contact lists will increase our momentum. It also allows us to come together for a short devotional and a time of prayer for our work so we may be more effective in reaching the lost and the negligent!”
Jacksonville church of Christ, Alabama: Keith Ritchie (preacher) reports, “One of our teens, Benji Slauson, obeyed the gospel Sunday night of our lectureship. He has been attending with his parents for about a year and a half. He had been to The Challenge two weeks ago and had been thinking about his salvation; he knew what he needed to do to be right with God. After hearing the word of salvation preached Sunday night, he responded. Another young man, Drew Gurganus, responded last night in order to be restored. To God be the glory!”
Hatton church of Christ, Alabama: Chris Miller (preacher) reports, “We continue to rejoice this week as two more were baptized into Christ: Ansley Posey and Hallie Kate Rutherford. We met last Sunday for our Mission Meeting and reviewed past assignments and made new assignments for Bible studies.”
Mariposa Avenue church of Christ, Citrus Heights, California: Nathan Franson (preacher) reports, “Micah has been urging to go through Back to the Bible. Today we will start Book 1. I have been hesitant since I did not want to rush him into anything, but he has been more persistent than ever.”
Mossy Head church of Christ, Florida (digital): Phillip Gaither (member) reports, “We opened all the material last night and watched the first two presentations. We are excited about getting started. We will pass out Evangelism Simplified and Back to the Bible to our members for training.”
Carrollton church of Christ, Georgia: Dave Leonard (preacher) reports, “We had Cary Gillis scheduled to be with us on Sunday to discuss the work with the Latin American Mission work. On Sunday afternoon, the elders, deacons, and ministers met to discuss passing out individual contact bookmarks and explaining their use. On Sunday evening, we discussed this step in the process and put the bookmarks into the hands of the members. We prayed about building our lists and appreciated the enthusiasm among the congregation. We had some encouragement and guidance from the elders about keeping and channeling the excitement through the parameters of the program. I am excited as I anticipate the benefits of harnessing the efforts of so many into one channel!”
LaFayette church of Christ, Georgia: Jesse Teague (deacon) reports, “This week at the men’s breakfast (Saturday), Don led the devotional and encouraged all the men to engage the folks whom they know are not saved. He used the example of being saved from the fire to show the need. His examples included a description of his big brush pile, the fiery furnace of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and the fire that awaits non-believers. I know there are others cultivating and/or teaching, but I did not gather details this week. The training continues.”
Woodstock church of Christ, Georgia: Greg Garner (deacon) reports, “WCOC collected three contact cards that we can prospect this week. Our congregation meets on Sunday evenings to conduct the Actively Caring Teaching Serving (ACTS) workshop. The Service Group served one of our members by planning to install a handrail in her house before she returns home from rehab. While this act is not direct evangelism, perhaps a family member or neighbor will be reached during this service. The Youth Prison Ministry had 11 boys in the class attendance and Bible study. WCOC received one visitor yesterday for worship. The elders and the minister are continuing to contact the four lost souls to discuss conducting Bible studies with them. WCOC has six ongoing Bible studies.”
Rabun County church of Christ, Georgia: McKinley Pate (preacher) reports, “The congregation was introduced to the importance of new mover baskets and local visitor bags. They are excited to be able to use another tool to help reach the lost. Our monthly mailing of House to House began on a new route this month, reaching 1000 new homes. Two weeks ago, I met a lady who remembered receiving House to House a few years back when it was being delivered on her route. She is associated with a local denomination but stated that she really like receiving the magazine. I mailed copies last month’s issues to her and am planning to take this month’s issue to her personally. We have planned our VBS for the last week in July with the help of the Hatton congregation in Alabama. Several members of that congregation will be coming to help us with this event. Along with the VBS, we will have a three-night gospel meeting. For the end of the event, we are exploring the possibility of having a back-pack give away. All of these efforts will focus on making contacts and studying with the lost.”
Honolulu church of Christ, Hawaii: Tagiilima Esene (preacher) reports, “We had an important congregational meeting Sunday. For the past two weeks, the sermons and Bible classes focused on working together as one body. We have started our work groups with each of our elders leading a group. We have two Bible studies ongoing. Our new converts class will soon have some graduates. The highlight Sunday was encountering tender hearts who want to serve the Lord. One brother came forward desiring to recommit his life to Jesus and to be more active in the work of the church. We also welcomed a new sister in Christ, Chelsea. Chelsea’s husband was baptized two weeks ago, and we prayed that she would soon follow his lead. Praise God that she made the decision Sunday. All glory to our Father in heaven.”
Jerseyville church of Christ, Illinois (digital): Jake Medford (preacher) reports: “We finished the fourth video. We had a baptism last week from a long-time visitor with whom we have been studying for a while. He has been watching the lessons with us also!”
Beloit church of Christ, Kansas: Dustin Dougherty (regional instructor) reports, “Our study was canceled on Friday because the prospect’s children were sick. We rescheduled for this Friday. We ask for everyone to pray about this study. Baptism numbers are awesome, and we praise God for the increase.”
Paintsville church of Christ, Kentucky: Zach Collins (preacher) reports, “I preached this past Sunday morning on serving one another. I also stressed the need to serve others evangelistically. The sermon was well received. After evening services, the card group met and were able to generate two new contacts for our congregation. In addition, we have one new Bible study prospect with a consistent visitor at our congregation. Please continue to pray for the work at Paintsville!”
Parkway church of Christ, Fulton, Kentucky: Will Hester (preacher) reports, “We had our first meeting for the reboot of the men, elders, and preacher. The decision was made that we would have everything in order before we present the relaunch to the congregation. Our plan will include utilizing two “dry-run” meetings of the men and our wives. With this model, we will be able to work out any kinks that we see in the process.”
Central Church of Christ, Paducah, Kentucky: Adam Faughn (preacher) reports, “We rejoice with what God is doing through the work here recently. For the last two weeks, we have had guests as direct efforts of our card-writing teams. One is a man who was raised in the church but has not attended in 30 years, and the other is a couple who lives about four blocks from our building but has never attended. We are doing follow-up work and praying for harvest. Our evangelistic card-writing teams are so encouraged as they see their efforts helping to till the soil.
“Additionally, last Sunday we were honored to welcome back a lady who had been out of duty for several years. She met with two of our elders and repented of her sins, and we welcomed her back to God’s family with open arms.
“Then on Tuesday, February 28, we rejoiced that Casey Pirtle was baptized into Christ. She had been studying with one of our new converts who was going through some “follow-up” studies with a couple of our members. She realized that she needed to be baptized “right now,” so we were honored to assist her in putting Christ on in baptism.
“The following morning (March 1), we baptized Willetta Hardin into Christ. She had been studying through our jail ministry and came straight to the building to be immersed upon being released! She will be going to a rehab center for about a month, but we plan to stay in touch with her, and she plans to worship with us as soon as she returns. She also wants her grandchildren to come to worship immediately, so she went to visit them before leaving town. We pray that we can reach out to her extended family and friends.”
Aberdeen church of Christ, Maryland: Will Brown (preacher) reports, “This month we are teaching in detail each Back to the Bible lesson. We are encouraging everyone to do personal Bible studies. The goal is to get everyone more comfortable with conducting Bible studies. Pray for our community efforts.”
Hwy 160 church of Christ, West Plains, Missouri (digital): Marvin Hatley (elder) reports, “The congregation began Believe the Bible training this past Wednesday. Compassion card group two met and prepared just over 200 cards to be mailed to prospects this week. Contact cards and prospect lists continue to grow. Several personal Bible studies using Back to the Bible are progressing. Visitor bags were prepared, and training will be taking place for members that are willing to meet and follow through with building relationships.”
Fordland church of Christ, Missouri: Josh Romo (preacher) reports, “I finished preaching from John 4. Compassion cards will begin to go out this week as we have compiled our prospect list. We designated and put together our compassion card room. We had our first training meeting yesterday evening at 5:00 p.m.”
Samford church of Christ, Steele, Missouri: Kyle Imel (deacon) reports, “Our minister, Tim, began a sermon series on Back to the Bible yesterday. Everyone in the congregation had a teacher edition to follow along. On Wednesday nights, we are having a class using the book Fishing for Men. We sent compassion cards to nine individuals, up six from last week. The men met and discussed the work. It is exciting to see God answer our prayers. All the members are intent on saving souls.”
Carthage church of Christ, North Carolina (digital): Randy Chambers (preacher) reports, “Greetings from the Carthage church of Christ. We thank God for the two students who taught classes this past week. One class went very well. The other class requires prayer and patience as well as receptive minds. We know there is power in the Word of God! We tried to set up a study with a visitor this past Sunday, but it has not developed yet. We are encouraging our brethren to work the plan.”
Linville Forest church of Christ, Kernersville, North Carolina: Kelly Brown (preacher) reports, “We rejoice again. Zander Smith was baptized Sunday morning after studying with his dad. We also restored Henry Harper Sunday morning. God has blessed us so much. We are getting more people involved in the work and they have done a great job.”
North Meadville church of Christ, Pennsylvania: Rick Marendt (elder) reports, “We are currently sending compassion cards to five people and have five Bible studies in progress. New mover baskets continue to be delivered as are follow ups with visitors.”
York church of Christ, Pennsylvania: Mark Raschke (deacon) reports, “This past week, we finished visitation for the month, and then we had the second of our monthly visitation meetings on Sunday morning. The meeting was very well attended, and we had great discussion.
“We continue to send cards, gather new contacts, correspond with our prospects who like to respond in writing, give out visitor bags, and work on our prospects from various angles, including attending events and inviting them to services.
“I feel that we have settled into a nice rhythm, and we believe that if we continue these various efforts, then the fruit will come.”
North Bradley church of Christ, Cleveland, Tennessee: Andy Sneed (elder) reports, “We had our first friends and family day Sunday and had 22 visitors (some first-time visitors and some who have been visiting quite a bit). It was a great day. We are still plugging along and getting our ducks in a row on coordinators. We’re going to get there!
Madison County church of Christ, Jackson, Tennessee: Steven Sprouse (preacher) reports, “We have had a couple return to the church after years of being away. We had been sending them cards.
“We also had a man visit; he is a Baptist, but he wants to “join” the church because of the cards we sent. I have studied BTTB 1 with him, and in a couple of days, we are set to do BTTB 2. We are visiting our prospects and are seeing and hearing encouraging things. One couple told us that the church has been so good to them. The church is thrilled with our early results so far.”
Karns church of Christ, Knoxville, Tennessee: Terry Clark (elder) reports, “A young married couple, Adam and Lauren, have been visiting Karns for over six months. Lauren is a Christian, and Adam was raised in a denominational church. Adam has been very attentive in worship. Several of our young members developed a friendship with Adam and Lauren. Adam began to show interest in becoming a Christian and almost responded to the invitation a week ago. One of our young members, Donald, has kept in touch, which led to a discussion about baptism for repentance of sin and salvation. Tonight (Monday), Donald met Adam at Adam’s request to have a Bible study. We rejoice that Adam decided to be baptized tonight. We give thanks for our new brother in Christ.”
McKenzie church of Christ, Tennessee: Chance Steen (preacher) reports, “This Sunday kicked off our “Back to the Bible” teachers’ class. We had several of our teachers desiring to be a part of the class, so we will have an additional class on Wednesday evenings for those who teach on Sunday mornings. Our first group (Group A) will begin to mail out cards this week.”
White Oak church of Christ, Chattanooga, Tennessee: Austin Fowler (regional instructor) reports, “I finished Part 2 of the “Womea at the Well” on Sunday. It went over very well, and everyone enjoyed it. One of our members has a friend who has had some issues with his past. He reached out to one of the men to help him. They will meet for lunch tomorrow. Ron thinks this meeting could very well lead to Bible study. I look forward to hearing how lunch went and if they are close to scheduling a Bible study.”
West End church of Christ, Knoxville, Tennessee: Adam Wilson (member) reports, “Please welcome Matthew Seehusen to the brotherhood! He is a friend and former coworker of Dennis Vonderfecht (member). Dennis invited him to study the word, and Matthew obeyed the gospel last Friday.
“We are also rejoicing with Camden Neal, one of our youth, who was baptized on Sunday by his grandfather. What a legacy of faith! Then Jeremy Weekley (preacher) finished BTTB 1 with a contact named Sandy last week. We are arranging for someone to give her a ride so she can worship with us this Sunday. We appreciate all prayers for our contacts and the visitation teams.”
New Hope church of Christ, Middleton, Tennessee: Cole Wade (preacher) reports, “We continue to grow our contacts and prospects. I have a Bible study scheduled for tomorrow with a good friend of mine. We appreciate all prayers for strength and love in this time so that the truth will be received with a good heart.”
East Main church of Christ, Murfreesboro, Tennessee: Brad Rowley (elder) reports, “Last week we received three new contact cards. Our compassion card team wrote 57 cards. We had 16 folks present for Mission Day Saturday. We watched two videos and brainstormed about how to get more members involved. We had numerous follow up visits and a lot of new mover baskets to deliver. March will be our last month to have Mission Day on Saturday. In April, we will change to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday evenings because we will have more daylight in the evenings during the summer months. Our discipleship team met Sunday evening; we were thankful to have all of our new volunteers present for the meeting. It was a productive meeting; we assigned all six new volunteers to recent converts. We had three Bible studies last week. On Sunday, a young lady whom we met as a result of a new movers basket outreach attended services. She will be a great prospect, and hopefully we will have a Bible study with her soon. Our college minister Seth Ferguson continues to work with several of our college students.”
Greenfield church of Christ, Tennessee: Clint Monroe (elder) reports, “This week we are involved in a gospel meeting. It is going to be a great week! We hope to gain some new contacts from this effort. Next week we plan to visit three new movers in hopes of generating interest.”
New Union church of Christ, Manchester, Tennessee: Paul Fulks (elder) reports, “We continue to review the Bookmarks Sunday mornings. We ask members to submit contact cards for those who have had events occur in their life causing them to need compassion shown. We also include others we know (friends, families, and neighbors) in that same situation. We have congregational prayer specifically for those we are prospecting. Our members have been consistent in submitting new contact cards. This week, we had four contact cards submitted. Card Team 1 met Sunday evening and completed 52 compassion cards. Last week, four members made eight follow-up visits and contacts. We had three visitors from the community on Sunday, and we will send cards to them. We will also attempt a follow-up visit with them. Two of our elders and our preacher meet every Monday for Mission Mondays to review contact cards and visits and make plans for follow-up and visits during the week. We also reach out to specific members to include them in assigning visits and follow-up. We use a spreadsheet to keep up with all contact cards, follow-up visits, assignments, and other pertinent information.”
Covington church of Christ, Tennessee: Wayne Dalrymple (elder) reports, “We are having our gospel meeting this week with Neal Pollard speaking. We had several visitors Sunday, and several from neighboring congregations visited Sunday evening. Dustin’s mom visited again. He said his brother had to work Sunday, so he was not able to come, but he plans to visit next Sunday. Wayne and Claudia also visited for the third Sunday in a row and stayed to eat lunch with us again. We hope to continue prospecting these contacts so they will transition to Bible studies within the next few weeks. Kaitlyn, one of our teenage members, is continuing the study with her friend, Hannah. They are halfway through Book 2 of Back to the Bible. Hannah has had very little exposure to the Bible, so they are progressing slowly. God is truly blessing us with great opportunities.”
Bargerton church of Christ, Lexington, Tennessee (digital): Robert Pruett (member) reports, “We watched Lesson 3 this past Lord’s Day. We are looking forward to Lesson 4!”
Highway 95 church of Christ, Taylor, Texas: Benjamin Dossey (preacher) reports, “Yesterday was our first Sunday potluck meal. Once again, a family we contacted from the New Movers program visited for worship and then stayed for the meal. We look to continue to cultivate this relationship. Additionally, we are preparing for our VBS we will be having later this year.”
Northern Oaks church of Christ, San Antonio, Texas: Mel Hutzler (elder) reports, “We just added new members to our card writing teams. We have cards going out every week like clockwork. We also get information from every person who visits. We still have a few in ongoing Bible studies, but some of the studies have been delayed by the person with whom we are studying. The HTH publication goes out, and we are always active in the New Movers program. Our Wednesday special training class continues to go well. In the future, we have plans for Bible camp, Summer Youth Nights, door knocking, and our gospel meeting. We hope to tie all of these events to evangelism. We have the Enhanced Bible Studies coming up this Thursday. We are linking everything to reaching the lost.”
Southwest church of Christ, Austin, Texas: John Garza (preacher) reports, “Last weekend, we had our annual Arise workshop. Everything went well. The lessons were relevant and applicable. Hundreds of Christians attended, and we had great fellowship. Everyone left encouraged. During Arise, a young man had many questions about his spiritual state. He grew up in the Lord’s church, so he knew a lot about the gospel of Christ, but to be sure he had the right motive and heart, we studied Does It Matter with him. By the end of the study, he had no doubt that he needed to be baptized right away. His name is Logan Hunt. To God be the glory! Our Christian brethren were blessed by witnessing his day of salvation and experiencing great fellowship together at Arise.”
Fruitvale church of Christ, Texas: Carl McCann (elder) reports, “We are following the guidelines, and this week we will focus on the curriculum during our Transition Thursday.”
North Jefferson church of Christ, Mt. Pleasant, Texas: Kris Groda (preacher) reports, “Sometimes we do not feel like writing the cards. We are either too busy or we do not feel well. I let our teams know that I had a chance to visit with Leslie Jenkins. She is my neighbor who has been on compassion cards for a month. She is on her fourth week, which means that we are the last team to write cards to her. Recently, she had recent open-heart surgery. I visited with her last night. She was in tears, trying to convey how much those cards have meant to her.”
Schertz church of Christ, Texas: Jay Stewart (elder) reports, “This week we hosted and heard sermons from the first of our three minister candidates, Justin Guess. Afterwards, we had a wonderful meal with three visitors, and two of them were non-Christians looking for more information about the gospel and the church. We are following up with them on our contact list and hope to bring them to Bible studies. We are moving into high gear with our door-knocking campaign. Our training day is March 18, with the campaign to kick off on March 25. So far, we have a decent number signed up for the training session.”
Midtown church of Christ, Victoria, Texas: James Cammock (deacon) reports, “Our evangelism table is now set up. The table is front and center in the main entrance of the church building, and we have a tablecloth with our congregation’s graphic. The brethren are excited about the table and are taking the material. We plan to begin writing a brief summary of each tool in our weekly bulletin.”
Chesapeake church of Christ, Virginia: Ernest Benjamin (preacher) reports, “One of the young men I was studying with was baptized into Christ yesterday after morning service.”
Central church of Christ, Martinsburg, West Virginia: Robert Veil (preacher) reports, “We sent out compassion cards to four individuals last evening. We had an agreement reached to begin another new Bible study with the spouse of one of our members.”
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.