Student takes 'Second Mile' effort to local church
Luke Romans, a Master of Divinity student at Southwestern, leads an accountability group through the “young marrieds” Sunday school class at Birchman Baptist Church. Realizing that evangelism was the most important area in which they needed to grow, Romans started bringing his students along with him as he participated in Southwestern’s “Going the Second Mile” initiative, the seminary’s effort to evangelize every home within a two-mile radius of the campus.
Eventually, however, the group began to feel a burden to bring this kind of evangelistic outreach to the community surrounding their church, primarily for the sake of discipling the new believers whom they ushered into the Kingdom. Fellow Sunday school member Thomas Miller specifically suggested they look into reaching the neighborhood just north of Birchman as well as open the evangelism opportunity to the entire Sunday school class.
So, beginning in April 2015, Romans’ Sunday school class has engaged in a class-wide evangelism effort to impact the community around their church. Each Tuesday night, 8-12 individuals, all young married couples, canvass the neighborhood north of Birchman. Over the last several months, the group has visited more than 130 homes, engaged in countless Gospel conversations, and seen two people give their lives to Christ.
One of these salvations took place July 7. After knocking on three doors and receiving no answers, a group of four Sunday school students had one door closed in their faces. Not allowing discouragement to halt their efforts, the group continued to a fifth house, where Richard, a man in his 20s, answered the door. Considerate of the evangelists’ labors, Richard allowed them to speak. Tim Sullivan, a member of the group, began the interaction by sharing his personal testimony and then the Romans Road.
When he completed his Gospel presentation, he asked if Richard would like to make a profession of faith. Richard said, “Yes!”
As noted by Matt Queen, L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism (“Chair of Fire”) at Southwestern, “The aim of evangelism is not complete whenever someone confesses Jesus as Lord, but rather when they are baptized into a local church and are taught obedience to the commands of Christ.” With this in mind, Sullivan has followed up with Richard regarding baptism and discipleship, and since Birchman is less than a mile from his home, the personal connection that they have established is sure to grow.
Although such professions of faith are the class’ ultimate aim, Romans says they have a three-fold goal in their efforts: share Christ, show that Birchman cares, and show others how to share. “Regardless of the external metrics we may or may not see week to week,” Romans says, “we know that we’re growing each and every week in one of those facets.”