NEW KENT, Va. (BP)–Elizabeth Badger wondered as she readied for bed if the church people would come back for a third time. Twice before she rejected their offer of faith in Christ.
Sure enough, a knock on her front door interrupted the 65-year-old’s evening routine. Badger opened the door. A few minutes later she tearfully opened the door of her heart to Jesus Christ.
God blessed the gospel seeds that members of Corinth Baptist Church in New Kent, Va., had planted almost a year earlier. After a year of struggling with some difficult circumstances, Badger relented to the Holy Spirit’s work and expressed her faith in Jesus Christ as members of Corinth talked with her.
“I was so full of anger and bitterness that the things the first team told me just didn’t sink in,” Badger said. “Even though I was ready, if they hadn’t kept coming I probably never would have done anything.”
Badger’s faith in Christ resulted from another kind of faith: the FAITH evangelism training program at Corinth.
FAITH is a church-based, 16-week evangelistic training ministry of Southern Baptists’ LifeWay Christian Resources. FAITH trains church members how to share with others their Christian testimony and then invite them to accept the message of Jesus Christ.
“FAITH has grown the people involved in it like few other programs could,” said Wayne Hines, Corinth’s pastor. “I can see church members’ prayer lives growing. They really are developing a desire to reach others. FAITH team members often tell me how much they miss the program when we are between semesters.
“Before this semester began, FAITH teams made 243 visits and saw 24 people accept Christ,” Hines continued. “Time after time we hear people say, ‘I was praying someone would come.’ Or, ‘I prayed God would do something.'”
Corinth member Rick Burruss was the team leader on the second visit to Badger’s home. He was also the team leader the night Badger accepted Jesus as her Savior. Several times between those visits, his team had tried unsuccessfully to catch her at home.
“I just wanted her to have God in her life, and I wanted her to be part of the family,” said Burruss, explaining that he kept going back even though the gospel message had been presented to Badger twice before.
“When God uses me and someone accepts Jesus, I feel like I am advancing God’s army,” said Burruss, who believes the FAITH initiative is “making an impact” in others’ lives.
Badger said she is glad Corinth members kept coming back because, “Now, when something bothers me, I just talk to God. I know he is there for me. And not only when I have problems, but anytime.
“I don’t know how to explain how my life has changed. I just feel different,” Badger said. “Things that I used to throw a fit about, I just don’t anymore.”
Her commitment to follow Jesus is evident in her hunger for discipleship, Hines said. Soon after becoming a Christian, she joined a women’s Bible study group, began reading her Bible and started asking lots of questions.
“My apartment is a mess. I have been studying all the materials in the new member packet and [that material] is everywhere,” she said.
When asked what she thinks about FAITH, she said, “I love it. I really do. I think it is the best thing that ever happened. I am overjoyed. I love my church and I feel especially close to the FAITH folks.”
Thanks to the FAITH evangelism training program, more Corinth members are involved in visitation than ever before, Hines said. FAITH team members are intentionally sharing their faith, many for the first time in their lives. Badger is glad about that: “What if they had not come to my house?” she asked. “I would be going to hell.”
Hines is a writer with the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Virginia state convention.