The Sunday following Easter, before church, Matt Henslee went for a run. Pastor of Mayhill Baptist Church in Mayhill, N.M., Henslee pondered the fact that church attendance typically decreases significantly between Easter Sunday and the Sunday following. Nevertheless, he called to mind some sagely advice he had seen from a meme earlier that week: “Preach the Word, regardless of attendance.”

Henslee, a Master of Divinity student at Southwestern Seminary, also considered something he heard at Southwestern’s Text-Driven Preaching Conference earlier this spring. There, one of the speakers shared a story about a conversation between a young preacher and Charles Spurgeon. The former asked why so many from Spurgeon’s congregation were responding to his sermons while so few were responding to his own.

Spurgeon responded by questioning whether the young preacher actually expected anyone to respond to his sermons. The young preacher admitted, “No.”

With these two messages in mind, Henslee prayed on his run that he would simply be faithful to preach the Word, and he asked God to draw men and women to Himself to the praise of His great name. Later that morning, despite it being the Sunday after Easter, Henslee rejoiced as God answered his prayer.

When Henslee finished his run, he got dressed and drove to church. As he proceeded to go through his “normal cadence of greeting folks and making sure all our ducks were in a row,” a young mother brought to him her 9-year-old daughter, Tristyn, who had been asking questions about following Jesus. The mom requested that Henslee speak with her, so he brought them both to his office and began visiting with them.

“Instead of ‘doing the job for her,’ if you will,” Henslee says, “I used it as an opportunity to teach the mom how to share the Gospel, and that momma got to lead her precious daughter to the Lord! That’s a win-win in my book! Now there are two ladies readied and sent to share their faith in the community of Mayhill and around the world.”

Later, during the worship service, Tristyn came forward during the invitation to express her desire to be baptized as a public declaration of her faith. As icing on the cake, Henslee says, the congregation consisted of 136 people, six of whom joined the church.

“The week before,” Henslee says, “we had 154, and many of those first-time visitors—who said they had been personally invited by [our] members—had returned! Praise Jesus!”

Noting that Henslee was partly inspired that morning by Southwestern’s Preaching Conference, Matt Queen, L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism, says, “Out of the outflow of the Preaching Conference, he was spurred on to evangelize. Just another reason why I’m glad we ‘Preach the Word, Reach the World’ at Southwestern!”