Couple’s discomfort dissolves through encouragement of Everyday Evangelism initiative

Alex Sibley
| Jan 27, 2023

In his marriage proposal to Hannah* last August, John* asked if she would spend the rest of her life serving God with him. She joyfully said yes, and the two married in December, with plans to someday become missionaries overseas. Despite these aspirations, however, the two admitted feeling intimidated at sharing the Gospel with strangers. 

The two became engaged shortly after beginning their first semester in the Master of Divinity program at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in fall 2022. They were both enrolled in Contemporary Evangelism with Carl Bradford, assistant professor of evangelism. The course required them to have 12 evangelistic encounters throughout the semester in which they shared the Gospel with an unbeliever. Despite their initial fears, the couple became more courageous by the semester’s end, thanks largely to Southwestern Seminary’s Everyday Evangelism program. 

Through Everyday Evangelism, Southwestern Seminary and Texas Baptist College deploy teams of students, faculty, and staff to the greater Fort Worth area for weekly intentional evangelism. John and Hannah participated each Thursday, often working with Bradford to share the Gospel with residents just beyond the seminary campus. 

“When you’re in the Contemporary Evangelism class with Dr. Bradford, it’s just evident that the Great Commission is something that every believer is commanded to be a part of,” said Hannah, who is originally from Van Alstyne, Texas. “And he brings such enthusiasm and joy to the process that you just want to be a part of it.”

John, from McKinney, Texas, added concerning Bradford, who was recently installed as the inaugural occupant of the Malcolm R. and Melba L. McDow Chair of Evangelism, “It’s very humbling and a great experience to get to learn and to observe Dr. Bradford’s skill in evangelism, but even more so, it’s humbling to get to watch him just obey and follow the Spirit in those encounters and just see God using him in that. It’s inspiring and makes you want to do the same.”

Two experiences near the end of the fall semester were particularly encouraging for the couple. In the first, John and Hannah were paired with Dave and Mike, two individuals from a local church who participate in Everyday Evangelism simply from a desire to witness to others. The group knocked on the door of Miguel, who spoke only Spanish. Although no one on the evangelism team spoke the language, Dave had a Spanish-language version of the Romans Road saved on his phone. Dave shared this Gospel presentation with Miguel, and with the aid of Google Translate, the group was able to lead him to faith in Christ.

Hannah said, “That was a very cool experience to see: even though there was a language barrier, God still used His Word through the Romans Road to convict someone of his sin and bring him to salvation. And that really shows it was no work of our own, but only the work of God.”

The second encounter was with Marvin, another local resident. John and Hannah were on a team with Bradford, and they opened the conversation by asking how they could pray for Marvin. Though Marvin “shrugged it off,” Hannah recalled, they pressed on, identifying themselves as students of Southwestern Seminary and inquiring about his spiritual beliefs. 

Marvin shared that his family attends church, but he himself finds their beliefs restrictive. He also expressed a dislike of churches’ apparent desire for money. The group acknowledged Marvin’s concerns, but quickly turned the focus back to the Gospel. They confronted him with the reality of man’s sinfulness and need for salvation, which is accomplished through Christ’s work on the cross. They stressed that being a Christian is not about following rules, but about having a relationship with God. 

Convicted, Marvin indicated his desire to be saved. The team led him in prayer, and he placed his faith in Jesus. 

“At the beginning of the semester, both of us were not comfortable with sharing the Gospel with people we didn’t know,” said John. “And over the course of the semester, with Everyday Evangelism, we became more and more comfortable with that and just realizing how important it is to share the Word with all these people who have never heard the Gospel.”

Another end-of-semester experience especially typifies this for Hannah. She and John were at Panera Bread, studying for their New Testament course. A man was sitting near them, alone, “and something I don’t think [John] would have done before, but he actually got up and sat down and just started talking about the Gospel with this guy,” Hannah said. 

The man did not come to faith in Christ, but Hannah said the experience proved that their “uncomfortableness has kind of dissolved.” 

“That was a really big moment for me,” Hannah explained, “because I got to go see the person that I was committing to spend the rest of my life with, to put his ministry to God and His ministry to evangelism at the forefront of his mind. And I mean, he spent probably an hour and a half talking with this guy instead of studying for New Testament. But it really did show me that I could spend the rest of my life with this person, just serving God.”

Hannah said that she and John plan to continue participating in Everyday Evangelism as often as they can, even though they no longer have a course requirement. “We want to continue to fulfill our Great Commission commandment,” she said. “And we love going out with the professors, and I’m just learning so much from them and how to share the Gospel with people.”

“I can’t recommend Everyday Evangelism enough,” John said. “I think it’s something that every student at Southwestern should experience at least once. Because there’s no greater calling that a Christian receives than to share the Gospel with someone who’s never heard. And it’s something that we can’t experience in eternity; it’s a blessing that we only get to experience right now. And I think it’s a great way to get rid of the anxiety that so many people will feel when considering sharing the Gospel with a stranger, and it’s a great way to receive excellent training from the amazing faculty that we have here.”

Everyday Evangelism is open to any Southwestern Seminary and TBC student, faculty, and staff who would like to participate. More information about Everyday Evangelism meeting days, times, and locations can be found here.*

Names changed to protect future mission work.