Seminary evangelism initiative spills over into churches
Brent Tucker scanned the scrolling announcements on the projection screens as he waited for chapel to begin at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Visiting the campus for the annual expository preaching workshop, Tucker watched with interest as slides announced events and ministry opportunities for students. Then one announcement piqued his interest, an announcement for No Soul Left Behind.
During the chapel service, seminary president Paige Patterson explained No Soul Left Behind, an evangelistic follow-up effort to reach homes within a one-mile radius of the seminary with the Gospel. As Patterson talked, Tucker says the Lord burdened his heart for Mabank, the small Texas town where he serves as pastor of First Baptist Church. He felt the weight of the church’s responsibility to reach their community.
“We’re not in a huge metropolitan area,” Tucker says, “but one day, we will stand before the Lord at the judgment seat, and then those who have never responded to the Gospel will stand before the great white throne.”
The small town of Mabank sits along US Highway 175, about an hour’s drive southeast of Dallas. Tucker, who received his Master of Arts in Religious Education from Southwestern in 1989, has served as pastor of FBC Mabank for the past six years.
As Tucker prayed about how his church could reach the town, he felt the Lord say, “Brent, I placed this church and you here. Your responsibility is to get the Gospel to every house in Mabank.”
He presented the vision to reach an estimated 1,200 households in their community, and the church embraced it wholeheartedly. They organized a strategy and set dates to go out. So far, the church has visited approximately 80 percent of the homes.
“It has been a wonderful experience,” Tucker says. “One of most beautiful sights was that first Sunday night. As I looked out the car window, I saw about 100 of our folks in teams of three walking to their cars—some of them scared to death—with materials they were going to hand out.”
Upon their return to the church, members enthusiastically told one another about their evangelism encounters. Some who were initially terrified returned with stories about how they experienced the Lord’s power as they witnessed.
Tucker says this type of evangelism initiative would be unnecessary if churches were “fully mobilized and actively sharing their faith,” but he believes it served as a shot in the arm for his congregation.
“It has raised the antenna for our people to be aware of the spiritual needs of people wherever they go,” Tucker says. “Secondly, it’s given the vast majority of our people the sense that, ‘I can do this. I don’t have to be scared. I can share my faith, and I’m going to live through it.’”
In addition to follow-up and discipleship with those who have made professions of faith, Tucker plans to continue outreach in the community even after they complete this effort.
“We’re not doing anything special,” Tucker says. “We’re just doing what the Lord has called us to do.”