Local church partnership heightens passion for evangelism
On Saturday, Sept. 9, Southwestern Seminary students partnered with Great Commission Baptist Church (GCBC) in Fort Worth, Texas, to train its members in evangelism. The training was led by Brandon Kiesling, associate professor of evangelism, and Dale Allen, minister of evangelism at GCBC and a Southwestern graduate (Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling, 2015).
After the morning training, teams dispersed throughout the surrounding neighborhoods to share the Good News with local residents. Teams visited 209 homes and engaged in 48 Gospel conversations. As a result, 11 people made the decision to follow Christ.
Allen says the training energized participants and reminded them of the call for all Christians to share the Gospel. The need for evangelism, he adds, was evident with each home they visited.
At one home, the team met a woman who regularly leases rooms to people, many of whom are new to the city, in desperate situations, or simply in need of somewhere to temporarily call home. The team gave their usual introductions, but the woman recognized one of the church members and requested that they speak with her tenants.
To their surprise, all five of the residents agreed to a conversation. After a Gospel presentation and an invitation to respond, each person prayed to receive Christ. Reflecting on this encounter, Allen says it was remarkable to be welcomed by an entire household who was not only willing to listen but who ultimately made life-changing decisions.
GCBC is the first of three local churches with whom Kiesling and Southwestern students will partner this fall for similar evangelism efforts. Kiesling says it is important to work alongside churches to further develop their existing evangelism programs.
“I have tried to develop a focus on evangelism inside the local church,” Kiesling says. “They invite their people to attend so we can go with them. We don’t want to just do the evangelism for the church, but with the church.”
Kiesling and Allen both noted that a partnership between Southwestern students and local churches not only provides participants an opportunity to learn from one another but also to encourage one another in their passion for evangelism. “We really want to infuse an energy and excitement for reaching our communities for Christ,” Kiesling says.
“We were grateful for the students to be there,” Allen adds. “It encouraged us because there are times when we do intentional evangelism that it can be discouraging. It was encouraging for our church to see that people other than us are out there with a passion for evangelism.”