Field School of Evangelism
Opening Hearts to the Message of the Gospel
Albuquerque, N. Mex. » Southwestern Adventist University believes that the responsibility for training ministerial students reaches beyond the academic requirements of the classroom. In fact, two settings, on-campus study and in-field experience, go hand-in-hand. Southwestern developed the Field School of Evangelism because it wants students to be “seminary ready” when they graduate, but also desires that they have the opportunity to develop a pastor’s heart through serving local churches and communities.
This past summer, a team made up of seven theology students and one professor spent six weeks in Albuquerque, New Mexico, learning the meaning of the Gospel Commission from experienced pastors in their districts. During the first four weeks of the Field School of Evangelism, the students worked as Bible workers in an evangelistic series conducted by evangelist Richard Halversen in the Albuquerque Central Seventh-day Adventist Church. Mornings were spent in the classroom learning the principles of effective evangelism, while during the afternoons and two evenings each week, the team knocked on doors inviting neighbors and former church members to the meetings. During the evangelistic meetings, students greeted those who came and made new friends. It was thrilling to see many of the individuals that had been visited make their decision to accept Jesus into their lives and be baptized into the family of God. Praise God for each new member of the body of Christ!
After the conclusion of these evangelistic meetings, the students had an opportunity to conduct their own 15-night evangelistic series in several Albuquerque-area churches under the mentorship of local pastors. Students saw first-hand that biblical evangelism is both a personal and team effort. Leaders in the local churches, along with the dedicated church pastors, worked tirelessly to provide the best avenue for the Holy Spirit to work. By the end of the evangelistic series, 24 individuals were baptized.
When Paul preached in Philippi, Acts 16:14 records that “one of those listening was a woman named Lydia,” and it is in this text we are reminded, “the Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” Praise God He still opens hearts when scripture is preached and calls for decisions are made!