Eight profess faith in Christ through evangelistic church partnership
Days before Easter, faith in the Gospel was very much alive as eight new believers made professions of faith through the witness of Inglewood Baptist Church members and Southwestern students in the church’s neighborhood in Grand Prairie. The church partnered with students from professors Matt Queen and Brandon Kiesling’s contemporary evangelism classes for two days of outreach, March 23-24.
More than 80 people participated—some going door to door to share the Gospel in the church neighborhood and inviting people to Easter services, and others praying or serving food in the church’s fellowship hall. The door-to-door teams knocked on 283 doors and made more than 127 contacts.
The church provided literature for approximately 10 teams of three people each, with at least one student and one church member on each team. “That provided the students with opportunities for discipleship and mentoring, as well,” says Inglewood Senior Pastor Shawn Paschal. “Each student had the opportunity to share the Gospel. It was pretty awesome.”
Over the course of the weekend, Master of Divinity student Larry Carpenter and his team witnessed six professions of faith. At the team’s first stop, Salvador and one of his neighbors were outside tinkering with a mop and bucket. “I walked over and asked if that apparatus was something that he invented,” says Carpenter. “He laughed, and we began a low-key, relaxed dialogue about life and faith, and about his two precious grandsons.
“Salvador shuffled his feet and concluded that his Catholic beliefs did not motivate his spiritual senses very much, and he certainly had never asked Jesus Christ to come into his heart,” Carpenter says. Carpenter told Salvador that, as the family patriarch, he could lead his grandchildren to a spiritual awakening.
Carpenter asked if he would like to accept Christ as his savior, but Salvador pointed to his grandchildren and said, “Little too busy; maybe not tonight.” They engaged in more conversation, mainly centered around the importance of his grandchildren growing up with a connection to their grandfather in a spiritual sense.
“I asked him again if he would take my hand and invite Jesus Christ into his heart,” Carpenter says. Under conviction from the Holy Spirit, Salvador responded, “Yes, I will!’”
Later that evening, the team met two women—a mother and daughter. “The daughter, Rita, was enthusiastic about sharing her belief in Jesus Christ and how she had a personal relationship with Christ,” Carpenter recalls. “She went on to say they attended the Church of Christ there in their local neighborhood.”
Carpenter asked Rita if her mother had accepted Christ as her personal savior. Rita said her mother was a devout Catholic and felt no need to acknowledge Jesus Christ as the way to salvation.
“I bowed in front of her mother on both knees and grasped her hands and asked if I could pray for her health and wellbeing,” Carpenter says. “As I prayed, grasping her soft and gently aging hands, and Rita translated, I felt the presence of Christ’s love.
“I asked Rita to please translate and ask her mother if she would accept Jesus Christ into her heart, and allow me to pray for her again this very moment. [Her mother] smiled and acknowledged ‘yes,’ and I heard Rita express a sigh of relief.”
At another home, two women were in their front yard, working on a large vehicle. The team invited this mother/daughter pair to Inglewood’s Easter service and offered to pray with them.
“The mother was a member of the Mormon church, but she did not attend regularly,” Carpenter recalls. “The daughter was not attending anywhere, and I asked her if she had ever taken the step to invite Jesus Christ into her heart.”
When she said “no,” Carpenter asked her softly if she would like to pray “and know for certain that her eternity could be secure.” Without hesitation, she said “yes.” Carpenter recalls, “All five of us were beaming!”
Paschal says evangelism has been ingrained in Inglewood Baptist Church over the years, adding that the partnership with Southwestern strengthens that outreach. “We shared with Catholics, we shared with Jehovah’s Witnesses, we shared with Buddhists, and many who were irreligious altogether,” Paschal says.
“It’s our job to be the messengers. We can open the doors, but it’s up to God to open the hearts.”