Student challenged to make evangelism a family effort
Master of Divinity student John Mark Jarrett is a frequent evangelist, regularly participating in door-to-door evangelism efforts with Southwestern and his church. But during a recent partnership between Southwestern Seminary and Wedgwood Baptist Church to intentionally evangelize a local neighborhood, he brought his family with him for the first time. What resulted was not just many Gospel seeds planted, but a transformation in the life of his family.
As evangelism teams departed Wedgwood Baptist Church to share the Gospel and invite people to an upcoming church event, students and church members met many people from all walks of life, but all equally in need of Christ. Jarrett and his family began walking through the neighborhood and came upon one young man, Hugo, who was out walking his two dogs at the time.
Jarrett’s children were immediately drawn to the dogs, so they were able to start a conversation with ease. After inviting Hugo and his family to the upcoming church event, Jarrett initiated a spiritual conversation and eventually gave a full Gospel presentation.
Like many of the people with whom evangelism teams spoke that day, Hugo expressed his belief in a works-based salvation. But through their conversation, Jarrett was able to explain to Hugo that it is by faith, not good deeds, that he can be saved. “I had the chance to tell him that it is not what we can do for God that saves us; it is what He did for us through His Son,” Jarrett says.
Although their conversation was ultimately cut short, Jarrett notes that there was a change in Hugo. He was interested in this message and even requested a few Gospel tracts to go through with his wife.
At the conclusion of this evangelism experience, Oct. 14, Jarrett realized that while he learned much from this time of sharing the Gospel, he learned most from the way in which God worked in his family. After evangelizing with his wife and children for the first time, he says God gave him a new passion to continue this family effort.
“The childlike excitement that I saw in my children as they served stuck out to me,” Jarrett says. “This provided me many opportunities as a father to explain why we were doing this and what evangelism was all about.”
He explains that he and his wife plan to commit to regular evangelism efforts as a family. After seeing what God did in just one afternoon, he is eager to continue to lead his family in this way.
“If I am called to lead my wife and children as a husband and father,” Jarrett says, “should I not lead them in evangelism also? I think this is something that many families miss out on, even in our Southern Baptist culture today.”