Cycle of Evangelism
SHREVEPORT, LA. – At the beginning of 2019, the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference made a few changes to the way evangelism is funded, asking churches to do pre-work and consider the following:
Depend less on mailers: Statistics show that for every 1,000 invitations mailed out, only one person attends a meeting. People are not comfortable attending a meeting when they are not familiar with the organization. Would you want to attend an event if you knew nothing about the people or the intent? Our handbills have far greater success when coupled with a personal invitation. People may be willing to attend, not so much because of what is being presented, but because of the relationship.
Invest in discipling people: The process of accepting Christ and our message takes time. We must build relationships first! One of the best ways is to know the needs of your community and meet the needs. What can you do to better the lives of those in your community? The other equally important component to the success of a discipleship program is follow-up. One of the crises that is affecting our church is the low retention rate of new members. Statistics show that within the first six months of their conversion new members make the decision to remain a member or not. Most of the time their decision is based not on the new truths they have learned but rather on friendships made in church. The more they feel a part of the family, the greater the possibility they will remain in the church. In addition, as new members integrate into the life of the church and learn how to become disciples of Christ, they grow in faith.
Establish a healthy small group ministry: A church with a vibrant small group ministry will have greater success in the growth of the church (spiritually and numerically). Three to four months prior to any evangelistic effort, the church needs a healthy small group ministry. Small groups are a non-threatening way to help nurture relationships, serve others, evangelize and grow in the knowledge of God. This is also a great way to evangelize your own members.
Mail Bible study cards: One of the most effective ways to share the message of Christ and establish an ongoing presence in your community is to mail Bible study cards. Any person who takes the time to respond to the invitation to receive Bible studies is already interested in spiritual matters. These cards put church members in direct contact with an interest.
By making these changes, the conference can contribute more money to the pre-work and follow-up. Churches can request these funds months in advance of the meeting; encourage churches to use other means of advertisement (social media, television and radio advertisement); and increase member participation through small groups.
Tangible results: Participating churches have witnessed great results. In most cases, they have 70 or more Bible study interests, several in-person Bible studies and the members are participating more. The New Orleans Spanish Seventh-day Adventist Church recently baptized 16 people as a result of their small group ministry. The Monticello Seventh-day Adventist Church, which is situated in a rural area, is experiencing a mini revival among their members. They have been using the Sermon View Interest Tracker Generator and Discovery Centers from the Voice of Prophecy while going door-to-door to hand deliver the Bible studies that have been requested in their community. Consequently, they are building relationships with these individuals while hoping some will accept in-person Bible studies and attend their meetings.
Our New Iberia Seventh-day Adventist Church is also using Sermon View Interest Tracker and Bible study interest cards. Because of the large volume of interest, the Lafayette Seventh-day Adventist Church has partnered with New Iberia church to deliver the studies. To God be the Glory!
By Jeff Villegas, Ministerial Secretary