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Collegiates embrace evangelism challenge

ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) — College students across the United States were joined by believers of all ages as they participated in Engage24, a one-on-one evangelism initiative that challenged Christians to share the Gospel with at least one person in a 24-hour time period.

When the development of Engage24 began in 2011, Brian Frye, the national collegiate strategist for the North American Mission Board, and his team believed that encouraging college students to share their faith required a creative approach.

“Instead of focusing on the end result, we decided to, first, focus on the process,” Frye said of the Oct. 14 effort. “Instead of only concentrating on how many people came to Christ on one particular day, we wanted to see how many college students would share their faith on that particular day. And if we did that first, then we could ultimately accomplish the goal of seeing people come to Christ.”

One-on-one evangelism has had a personal, life-changing impact on one particular student at the University of Texas at Arlington. A Cambodian with Buddhist roots, Putti Sok came to Christ after a fellow student shared the Gospel with her. Seeing how one-on-one evangelism changed her life, she is now on staff with Baptist Campus Ministry at the university and leads their campus’s Engage24 movement.

Kevin Stacy, collegiate projects specialist for NAMB, noted it can be difficult to track the results of Engage24 and see how many college students shared the Gospel during that day.

“Hearing success stories like Putti’s is so encouraging because we get a glimpse of the impact that this movement is having on campuses across the country,” he said.

Stacy, who also serves on the Baptist College Network Committee that helps lead Engage24, said they rely heavily on Twitter to track results and read reports from students who had the opportunity to share the Gospel during the day.

Along with the University of Texas at Arlington, schools such as the University of South Florida, the University of Arkansas, the University of Georgia, Texas Christian University, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, the University of California Riverside and others partnered with their Baptist Campus Ministry groups and accepted the Engage24 challenge.

However, the movement did not stop with college campuses.

“Basically what has happened is that there’s kind of a snowball rolling down a hill. We’ve gained momentum and things are growing and expanding quickly,” Frye, NAMB’s national collegiate strategist, said.

Pastors nationwide also challenged their church members to share the Gospel for Engage24. Churches involved in college ministry in Ohio as well as Cross Church in Springdale, Ark., are two examples of churches that chose to participate in the movement.

“We are just telling people to make it what you want. This movement will look different depending on the context you’re in. It doesn’t matter if you share the Gospel on Oct. 14, or any other day. We just want every college student and every church member to share the Gospel with another person,” Frye said.

NAMB’s Stacy said the Engage24 team hopes to have more “success stories” coming in during the next several weeks. Visit www.engage24.org or find Engage24 on Twitter with twitter.com/Engage24 or #Engage24 to read different reports and stories from students who took part in this movement and shared the Gospel.

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  • Kristen Camp