Partnership with local church results in planting of 31 Gospel seeds
From Oct. 30 – Nov. 1, Southwestern Seminary students partnered with Friendly Avenue Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C., in the launching of their “Every Home Evangelism” effort, which aims to reach every home in the half-mile radius of the church. Friendly Avenue’s associate pastor of discipleship and evangelism, Steve King, led the evangelism effort, which was modeled much like Southwestern’s “Going the Second Mile” initiative.
Southwestern students joined the church’s “trunk-or-treat” outreach event, which allowed students to evangelize visitors. In addition, three students publicly shared the Gospel through their personal testimonies. The next morning, Southwestern Chair of Evangelism (“Chair of Fire”) Matt Queen trained 46 church members in personal evangelism. This was followed by an afternoon of door-to-door evangelism, and although no professions of faith were made, 22 teams visited 221 houses and gave 31 complete Gospel presentations.
Noting the importance of Southwestern joining churches such as Friendly Avenue to evangelize their communities, Queen says, “Southwestern Seminary exists for the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention, not vice versa. When local churches of our convention contact us to assist them in evangelism, we try our best to respond with the resources God has given us, and we are most blessed to see evangelism become part of what these churches are doing.”
Reflecting on his time with Friendly Avenue, Master of Divinity student James Lair says participating in the evangelism weekend was an opportunity for him to share the Gospel with people outside of his normal environment. “As messengers of the Gospel, if we do not get out of our comfort zone often, we will often fail to take the message of the Gospel to those individuals who do not look like us, act like us, or talk like us,” Lair says.
One of Lair’s encounters was with a man who believed living a “good life” was enough to save him but was also unsure of his belief that heaven even existed. Lair was able to share the Gospel with him, after which Lair recalls seeing “a light bulb turn on in his mind.” Although he did not make a profession of faith, the man was eager to learn more and asked Lair to help him connect with Friendly Avenue.
Master of Arts student Dale Allen, who has previously participated in three evangelism trips through Southwestern, explains that it is the transformation the Gospel brought in his own life that motivates him to share with others and to work with churches to do the same. “Because of this, I am behooved to share with anyone God gives me the opportunity to,” Allen says. “Each opportunity I have had with Southwestern when we collaborate with other churches, the members have always been excited and, afterward, talk of eagerness for the next time.”
In the wake of this evangelism weekend, the members of Friendly Avenue are no exception to this expression of eagerness. Steve King says he is encouraged by the number of church members who participated in the evangelism weekend, contributing to their goal of giving people in every home of their community the chance to hear the Gospel.
“Going into the weekend, we told people their success is obedience and willingness to go. The results are in the hands of the Holy Spirit,” King says. “We, as a church, are very grateful that Dr. Queen and the students who came were willing to sacrifice their time and give leadership as well as assist us in launching the program.”